Announcing 2017 Novitiate Class

June 7, 2017

In July 2017, the following men will begin formation with the Province of St. Joseph:


Andrew StolaAndrew from Huntington Mills, PA – studied at New York University (clerical brother candidate)

Age: 21

inspirational saints: St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bl. Margaret of Castello, Bl. John Henry Newman

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania as the youngest of three children in a loving Catholic home. My faith was a present but minor influence in my life until I came to New York University and was exposed anew to the riches of the Catholic faith by the preaching of our Dominican chaplains and the example of fellow students and FOCUS missionaries. I was struck by how little I knew about the intellectual heritage of the Church and how wise the teachings of the Church are.

I became involved in the chaplaincy, attending Bible studies, lectures, and joining the Newman Club. Through all of this, I grew in love of God and gained a zeal for truth. I started attending Mass as often as possible and began reading everything I could about the sacred. I befriended many Dominican priests and student brothers and was inspired by their joy and way of life. I became compelled to devote my life completely to Jesus Christ and through His grace He brought me to apply to the Dominican Order. Please pray for me and for my classmates as we enter the novitiate.


Thomas DayThomas from Indianapolis, IN – studied at Saint Joseph’s College (clerical brother candidate)

age: 21

inspirational saints: St. Joseph, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Louis de Montfort

Jesus has brought me to this point, a vocation to the Dominican Order, by the brothers and sisters He put into my life; in my family, and in the Church. I was born and raised a Catholic in the Hoosier state, and, as I grew up, Jesus gradually put into my heart a desire that only He could satisfy; a desire to know and love a truth that could fill up the whole world, and, which is larger, a human heart. This started off as an intellectual endeavor: reading apologetics and classics of the faith, discussing Scripture with protestants, etc. It didn’t make a bad hobby, but I knew at some point that I had to go deeper, and, as I was entering my third year of high school, God gave me just the means to do that.

What had started off as a group of friends hanging out together had spontaneously turned into a men’s prayer group at my parish. This brotherhood invited me to join, and as we challenged, prayed for, and supported each other, we all grew deeper in a love for Christ and His Church. At this point, the thought of a vocation to the priesthood entered my heart, and I met with the vocations director for my diocese, who advised me to grow in faith before thinking about anything like seminary. Around this time, I consecrated myself to Mary with the formula of St. Louis de Montfort, and I began to realize, as Chesterton said, that faith is less of a theory, and more of a love affair. The only response I wanted to give to God’s total and individual love for me was love in turn, and this prompted me to consider a religious vocation.

Graduating high school, I went to St. Joseph’s College in Indiana, pursuing and obtaining a degree in History. During this time, I began to make visits with different orders, most especially the Dominican Province of Saint Joseph. The life I saw lived appealed to me; the brotherhood and the apostolate most especially. God began to put the fragments of my discernment, like so many puzzle pieces, together, and I knew that entering novitiate was the next right step. With the help of the Laboure Society, and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (who I volunteered with in the South Bronx for the better part of the last year), I have been growing and preparing to enter the Dominicans in this 100 year anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Fatima.


Blake TamezBlake from San Antonio, TX – studied at Vanderbilt University (clerical brother candidate)

age: 22

inspirational saints: St. Faustina Kowalska, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Dominic de Guzman, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Ven. Fulton J. Sheen

I was born in San Antonio, TX as the first child of my loving parents and baptized into Christ a few months later by Monsignor Kevin Ryan, my first pastor and spiritual father.  My home parish was St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, and I attended Concordia Lutheran School from pre-K through 8th grade. These two schools of faith provided me with the foundations of my relationship with Jesus Christ and a simple trust in His love for me. As I grew older, I began to see points of tension between what I experienced at my parish on Sundays and what was taught at my Lutheran school.

God, in His Providence, used these seeds of childhood faith and growing awareness of the unique beauty and truth found in the Catholic Church to prepare me for a rediscovery of Christ and His Church during high school. At Antonian College Prep., a parochial school of the archdiocese, I encountered an environment of prayer that taught me the possibility of living in the presence of Christ at all times, whether I was at Holy Mass, in class, or rehearsing for band. There I also encountered the beauty of a priestly vocation through the witness of our chaplain, Father John Castro, O.M.I, who made it possible for students to benefit from frequent confession and to receive Our Eucharistic Lord at daily Masses. Father John’s example and an awakening to Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament prepared my heart for the reception of our Lord’s call to follow Him more closely.

After graduation, I decided to attend Vanderbilt University where I was immediately welcomed into University Catholic, the campus’s Catholic community. Father John Sims Baker and Father Michael Fye, our community’s pastors, served as further examples of virtuous and joyful spiritual fathers, and their direction was indispensable in fostering my desire to follow Christ and serve His Church as a priest. A summer as a Totus Tuus missionary catechist and my involvement in Awakening retreats, the Knights of Columbus, and FOCUS taught me the joys of living a missionary faith and preaching the Gospel through a life of prayer, study, and service. Throughout my college years, I encountered many religious communities for the first time.  I soon found myself at a “Come and See” weekend with the friars at the House of Studies in D.C. The way of life that I encountered at the priory inspired me to consider a religious vocation more seriously, and I continued to be immersed in the charism of the Order through reading the works of Dominican authors, learning about the lives of Dominican saints, and altar serving at the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. The manner in which the friars joyfully model their lives after the apostles and Christ Himself as preachers of the Father’s great love was an inspiring example that I sought to imitate by God’s grace.

After visiting several of the Province’s houses, meeting many of the friars, and having the opportunity to experience World Youth Day in Poland with a chaplaincy of Dominican priests, I saw more clearly how God was inviting me to take the next step of applying to the Province’s novitiate. My deepest thanks go to my family, friends, professors, and pastors who have challenged, inspired, and taught me in countless ways. Please pray for me and my brothers as we seek a deeper communion with Our Lord that will enable us to live in Him as “champions of the Faith and true lights of the world”. All for the greater glory of the Triune God and the salvation of souls. Our Lady, Queen of Preachers, pray for us!


Wil BernhardWil from Greenville, SC – studied at Aquinas College, Nashville (clerical brother candidate)

age: 22

inspirational saints: St. Thomas Aquinas, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Aloysius Gonzaga

The faith was always a central part of my life and that of my family. I grew up with four siblings, and we were all encouraged to engage in the life of the Church through the liturgy, family prayers, and the reading of the saints and Scriptures. This instilled a great love for the faith in my family, which influenced me deeply. Early on in my life, I had the desire to serve the Lord in the priesthood, and as time went on, I began to understand the sacrificial nature of the Christian life and the need to give of oneself in order to find fulfillment. This encouraged me even more to pursue the call to the priesthood.

Though I was planning to study for my diocese after high school, I first attended Aquinas College in Nashville, TN, a school owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, where I studied philosophy and theology. The sisters’ example of the Christian life and the joyful witness to the life as a Dominican inspired me from the day I arrived. Over time, I was immersed in the Dominican traditions within the life of the school and learned about the history and charism of the Order. Unbeknownst to me, this was the beginning of the draw to the Dominicans.  As a college, we would visit the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. during our trips to the March for Life, and in this way they introduced me to the Dominican friars. My sophomore year, I made the trip back to D.C. for a “Come & See” weekend, and began speaking with a student brother who was from my parish in Greenville; occasionally, other friars would travel through Nashville, and I would be able to ask them questions and hear their stories.

A few of the sisters who I knew well were also great influences in my being drawn to the order, and were great sources of advice and wisdom in my discernment. Surrounded by Dominicans and taking the time to both grow closer to the Lord and pray for wisdom in my own life, I found joy and peace in the decision to apply for the novitiate. Please pray for me and my classmates as we enter the novitiate, for the wisdom and strength of the Lord, that we may desire his will to be done in our lives.


Wills RooneyWills from Darien, CT – studied at Duke University and Maynooth University, Ireland (clerical brother candidate)

age: 22

inspirational saints: St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More, St. Edith Stein/Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Pope St. John Paul II

I was raised with my two brothers in Darien, CT, where we grew up in a loving and faithful Catholic home.  Mass on Sundays and Holy Days was always obligatory, and the three of us were formed through our parish’s CCD program, which my father taught from my 5th grade class through my 9th grade confirmation class.  However, throughout my teenage years, I chose to remain highly skeptical of the Church and her teachings, Christ’s divinity, and God’s existence, even taking my confirmation name for St. Thomas the Apostle, who is nicknamed “Doubting Thomas” because of his initial skepticism of Christ’s resurrection.  (Unbeknownst to me at the time, my parents had also associated St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More with my confirmation, who would be of significance later.)

When I arrived at Duke for my freshman year in August 2012, I was pretty confident that I did not want to be a practicing Catholic, preferring instead a secular life.  Yet, about halfway through that academic year, prompted by a freshman seminar on the philosophy of friendship, I for the first time began to take seriously the ultimate questions of meaning and purpose in life—questions about the existence of morality, truth, and God.  I was particularly enamored by the insights of Plato and Aristotle and, later, St. Thomas Aquinas, finding them not only profound but also, more importantly, true.  My thirst for the truth increased, and I continued to seek answers through my studies and conversations with friends and mentors.

At the beginning of my junior year, after much wrestling, I by the grace of God arrived with certainty at the conclusion that the faith of the Catholic Church is true.  Over the course of the next year or so, I came to learn what living as a practicing Catholic means, and I gradually grew in deeper love of Christ, most especially through contemplative prayer and the Mass and, above all, the Eucharist.  I also began to get more involved in our campus chaplaincy by directing the lecture series, which hosted talks on matters of faith, reason, and culture.  My junior spring, at the suggestion of a professor who is a lay Dominican, I attended a Thomistic Institute conference at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, which was my first exposure to the Dominican Friars.  At the conclusion of the day’s lectures, I attended vespers.  Prior to that evening, I had no idea what the Liturgy of the Hours was, let alone what 80+ friars chanting the psalms back and forth across the chapel sounded like. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, this epic. I feel like I’m in the Middle Ages right now.”

At the time I had thought very little about the priesthood and the Dominicans, but I left that conference moved in ways that I could not then fully appreciate.  The summer before my final year of college, I attended a seminar in Krakow on Catholic Social Teaching and the thought of Pope St. John Paul II.  During those three weeks, I encountered Jesus intimately in the Eucharist and found myself profoundly affected by St. John Paul’s bold words, “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ.”  I emerged from that seminar, as well as another seminar on the life and thought of St. Thomas More, with an increased zeal for the truth and for sharing it with others.  And as I approached my final year of college, I began to wonder what Christ desired for me, knowing that opening wide the doors of my life to His will would be the only way to true happiness.

Sure enough, that fall, while considering my aspirations for after college, I really began to sense the stirrings of an invitation to the priesthood.  At first they were subtle, and then they came in all sorts of conspicuous ways—ways that I ultimately could not ignore, no matter how much I might have liked, especially since I was then in a great dating relationship.  In time, though, I realized that I needed to address those stirrings so that I could move forward in life with confidence about my vocation, whatever it might be.  And once I genuinely opened my heart to the possibility of religious life and the priesthood, I found that those desires only grew and crystallized—greatly aided by the witness of the Sisters of Life, whose contagious joy and holiness demonstrated the beauty of a life perfectly consecrated to Christ.  As I contemplated a priestly vocation to my diocese and various religious orders, the Dominicans clearly stood out: their motto of “Truth,” their charism of study and apostolic preaching, their strong tradition of sacred liturgy, their deep devotion to Our Lady, and the vows of consecration all aligned with what Christ had placed on my heart since before I was conceived.  The next step became obvious: it was time to apply for the Dominican novitiate.

Last fall, after graduating from Duke and being the fortunate recipient of a George J. Mitchell Scholarship, I began a one-year M.A. program in philosophy at Maynooth University, Ireland, where I have mostly studied the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Edith Stein/Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  This past year in the Emerald Isle has been a tremendous blessing, filled with much personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth and plentiful opportunities for pilgrimage.  I have also come to know well the diocesan seminarians of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and the Dominican Friars of the Irish Province, which has only increased my sense of joyful anticipation as I look forward to entering the novitiate of the Province of St. Joseph this summer.

In closing, I must express my heartfelt gratitude to my family, who have warmly supported me in coming to this decision; to several priests and mentors, especially including a Jesuit spiritual director and two brilliant professors at Duke, all of whom have helped me to grow in love of Christ and discover that this is the next step to which God is inviting me; and to several close friends who have walked with me along this beautiful journey of maturation in the Christian life.  Of course, the grandest offering of thanksgiving is due to God, for, at bottom, a vocation to religious life and the priesthood is from God alone and for God alone.  Truly, He brought me to the profound faith of St. Thomas the Apostle through the writings of my auxiliary confirmation patrons, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More.  I humbly ask you for your prayers for my fellow novices and me, as we will greatly need and benefit from them over the coming months and years!


Oliver AvarittOliver from Loganville, GA – studied at McDaniel College in Maryland (clerical brother candidate)

age: 25

inspirational saints: St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena, St. John Bosco

I was born and raised in Loganville, GA. I have one younger sister. Growing up my parents took my sister and I to Sunday Mass and we participated in religious education classes. As a youth, I was an altar server and lector and my first inclinations about the priesthood occurred during these years, but my faith was not an integral part of my life.  In high school I had a lot of unanswered questions about my faith and I  began to fall away from the Church. I attended McDaniel College, where I studied neuroscience. It was during my college years that I began to really understand what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. It was also during my sophomore and junior years that I began discerning more seriously a call to religious life. Attending a FOCUS national conference during my junior year, was a turning point for me in discerning where God might be leading me. Growing up, I imagined that I might pursue a medical or research career with the desire to serve and help others. However, as I continued in my studies at McDaniel, God revealed to me different gifts that helped me see how I could best serve Him and His Church.

After graduating from McDaniel, I spent a year discerning with a community of lay brothers in New York City. I was able to work in their high school, student teaching and assisting in the campus ministry program. I enjoyed living in community and the immersion into religious life, but I also saw the sacramental poverty people experience when they have no priest available. With the Lord gently and patiently nudging me, I began to be more open to the call to the priesthood. I began discerning with the Dominicans while in New York and after making some initial visits to the priories and communities within the province, I felt a great peace when among the friars and knew that I needed to take some more time to discern with them before applying.

I moved to Baltimore, MD after leaving NY and began working in biomedical research. I also began attending the Dominican parish SS. Philip and James at Johns Hopkins University and became involved with the Baltimore Frassati young adult fellowship. Seeing the friars in action at SS. Philip and James and the great community of parishioners helped affirm the desire that God might be leading me to be a Dominican friar and preacher.  Our world is in desperate need of hearing the truth of the Gospel message today! After hearing the Dominicans share this message with great courage and charity, I believe, the only thing I can do to continue discerning God’s call to be His priest is to enter formation with the Order.  Thanks to the help of the Laboure Society and many faithful men and women who helped me resolve the financial obstacle to entering, I am excited to begin living the life of a Dominican! Please pray for me and my fellow novice brothers as we enter formation that if we are called, God will continue to lead us closer to Him and His heart!


Mark DanielMark from Houston, TX – studied at Franciscan University of Steubenville and at Boston College (clerical brother candidate)

age: 26

inspirational saints: St. Paul, St. Athanasius, St. Dominic de Guzman, St. Thomas Aquinas

I was born and raised in Seabrook, TX where my spiritual development began with my parents emphasizing prayer at home and sending me to a local Christian school. As I grew older I began to appreciate the Mass and the Sacraments, and Eucharistic Adoration, especially through my involvement as an altar server. My family was also involved with a family Bible Study for about 6 years; a blessing which allowed me to be fed on the teachings of the Church while my protestant school was making me more and more familiar with Sacred Scripture.

In high school I began serving at my parish as a lector, which further developed in me a love for the Sacred Scriptures and for proclaiming them in a meaningful way. During this time I also began to feel a desire for more frequent prayer. I was going to daily Mass at my Catholic high school every morning before classes, but I knew that I needed to pray more and to find ways to listen to God as well. In my Church History course, I heard about the Liturgy of the Hours. This seemed to be exactly what I was looking for since it provided structure and also gave me scriptural texts where I could begin to listen to God’s Word speaking to me. While I often missed one or more prayers daily, the fact that I began in high school helped to provide an anchor and structure in my prayer life beyond what it had been.

During my four years at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, my faith was further deepened by the spiritual brotherhood and support that I experienced in Conquer Through Love household. During this time I received incredible love and support from the other young men as well as guidance and occasional correction. This helped to reinforce my desire for life in a Christian community.

I also had an opportunity during college to teach the “Journey through Scripture” Bible Study from Scott Hahn’s St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. The joy that this experience brought me, the almost irresistible enthusiasm that I had for helping other people to know what God has done for all of us, and the success which my efforts met, helped to confirm in me my desire to pursue a vocation which would allow me to actively spread the Gospel every day.

It was only a few years later that I went on my first vocations weekend at the Dominican House of Studies in DC. Throughout that weekend I was surprised by how attractive I found Dominican life which was presented to me. For the next few years every time I dragged my feet God sent a surprising Dominican connection into my day.

During my time studying for my Master’s of Theological Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, another community in which I was blessed to learn and grow, I was able to visit the friars at Providence College several times a semester and receive spiritual direction there as well. During one of these weekends I shared with my director that while I felt called to apply to the Dominicans, I also thought I needed to do something different for a year after the stresses of graduate school. Through the providence of God and the help of the Dominicans, “something different” turned out to be spending 10 months teaching Theology and English at Holy Name of Mary Seminary in the Solomon Islands under the sponsorship of Archbishop Christopher Cardone, OP, a friar of the Province of St. Joseph.

My passion for communicating Christ to others has been incredibly important to my time in the Solomon Islands, though I have learned as much as I have taught. Also in a context where language barriers can present a very real difficulty, I have learned by experience that it isn’t all about what we say. I have been surprised that people have told me multiple times that even in situations which were new and uncomfortable, my joy and willingness to enter in has been evident to those around me and has been a kind of witness to the joy of the Gospel.  Thank you to all those in heaven and on earth who have helped me reach this point in my life. Please pray for me and all of my new brothers in the year ahead.


Luke NeitzkeLuke from Bay City, MI – studied at the United States Naval Academy and Franciscan University of Steubenville (clerical brother candidate)

age: 26

inspirational saints: St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel

My father is in the Navy so I grew up moving all over the country.  I was born in California, and have lived in Maryland, Illinois, Italy, and Florida.  I call Michigan my home because that is where all my family is from.  I grew up in a Catholic family with both my parents living out their faith and passing it along to me, as well as my younger brother and sister.  From my youth I felt that I had a calling to the priesthood but I did not desire it and ran from the calling for many years.  I graduated high school in 2009 and went to the Naval Academy with the intention of becoming a pilot for the Navy.  It was at the Naval Academy that I started to take my faith more seriously and made it my own, rather than it just being something that was passed to me.  I came to a further understanding of my call to the priesthood in my senior year, but I had already signed my contract with the Navy.  

I graduated and the Navy sent me to Florida where I began my training as a pilot.  One year into flight school I knew that I could no longer run from my call to the priesthood and I would not be at peace until I had said yes to God and given Him what he was asking of me.  I requested to drop out of flight training and separation from the Navy despite my contract, and because of budget cuts, my request was granted.  However, I belonged to the Archdiocese of the Military Service and I did not have a seminary to go to.

Fortunately a friend of mine told me about Franciscan University and their Priestly Discernment Program.  While I was at Franciscan I told God that I would do whatever He asked of me, so long as He made it clear.  During my first semester at Franciscan both my spiritual director and my formation director told me that they believed I had a calling to the Dominicans.  After this, I went on a “come-and-see” at the Dominican House of Studies and I knew it was where I was called.  I was told about how St. Dominic met an Albigensian inn keeper and stayed up all night sharing the truth of the Gospel with him.  My immediate reaction was “this is what I want to do, this is what God is calling me to.” My desire to become a Dominican only increased after becoming better acquainted with Dominican friars, their way of life, and the four pillars of the Dominican life.  With thanksgiving to God, I have been accepted by the Dominicans to join the 2017 novitiate class.  The journey up to this point has been so grace-filled: praised be the Lord who gives far more than we could ever ask or imagine!  Asking Our Lady’s intercession, please pray for me and for all these men I hope to have as brothers in novitiate!


Mark DonohueMark from Stevensville, MD – studied at the University of Maryland (clerical brother candidate)

age: 27

inspirational saints: St. Peter, St. Martin De Porres, St. Thomas Aquinas

I was born in Annapolis and raised on the Eastern Shore of MD.  I attended St Mary’s Catholic School in Annapolis from K-12.  Many of the seeds of my faith were planted in my family environment and the joyful environment in St. Mary’s. In my childhood my family attended Mass each Sunday and would occasionally be involved in various ministries (ex: Mother sang in choir). At family gatherings my paternal grandfather, who had 11 children, would always communicate how blessed his life has been from dedicating his life to Jesus Christ and the Blessed Mother.  As I matured into adulthood, I really was amazed at how blessed he was and how the strength of his faith was a solid bedrock in the rapid pace of our modern world. As a child and young adult I have always enjoyed outdoor activities ranging from surfing to obstacle course races, and these activities lift my thoughts in thanksgiving to God for creating such an adventurous life that only gets better when shared with others.

An inspirational saint for me would be St. Peter because of his deep desire for closeness to Christ while also exhibiting his flawed human nature at times. I first daydreamed of being a priest my freshman year of college and the desire matured throughout my college years. I graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Supply Chain Management from the business school. I now work as a representative for a family farm that grows carrots and a wide variety of organic vegetables.  Throughout my 20’s I have sought a deep understanding of my Catholic faith and was amazed with the grace that came as I more seriously practiced the teachings of Christ.  I’ve especially been amazed at the peace and joy I’ve received from frequenting the Eucharist.

I first met the Dominicans through Fr Athanasius Murphy at the UMD Catholic Student Center whose knowledge, kindness, and sense of humor represented an example someone of humbly authentic that was striving for holiness. I then visited the Dominican House of Studies for a vocations weekend after graduating. Seeing the friars’ joy, reverence, and desire to live the virtuous life attracted me to apply to the Order of Preachers. I graciously request any prayers offered for my vocation, my brothers, and all those seeking to do the will of God.


Paul MarichPaul from Youngstown, OH – studied at Franciscan University of Steubenville (clerical brother candidate)

age: 31

inspirational saints: St. Paul, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Paul II

I was born in the industrial city of Youngstown, Ohio, the younger of two children of loving parents who instilled in me the importance of education, hard work, and a moral compass.  Though my childhood was rather normal, religion was a topic of contention, as my father left the Catholic Church for an Evangelical Protestant community a year before my birth, while my mother remained in the Church.  I was baptized in the Church as an infant and attended Catholic grade school, though during childhood and early adolescence, I attended my father’s church for a number of years.  During my freshman year of high school, I came to embrace my Catholic faith and to see the beauty and richness of its teachings.  I was confirmed and received my first holy communion at that time, and soon after, started to explore the possibility of a priestly vocation.  For much of high school and the beginning of college, I thought that such a vocation would be as as diocesan priest, however, during my senior year of high school, I came to know the Dominican Friars at St. Dominic Parish in Youngstown.  I did not grow up at the parish, but would attend daily Mass there frequently, and the Dominican community welcomed me and showed their support for my priestly vocation.  A genuine friendship was being formed with the Order.  

Throughout my time at Franciscan University, I discerned that I did not have a diocesan vocation, and began to explore the possibility of a vocation with the Dominican Order.  I graduated with a degree in philosophy and political science in 2008, and that summer, entered the novitiate for the Province of St. Joseph.  My years with the Dominicans confirmed my love for the Order, but a few years into formation, I began to experience a number of serious doubts regarding a priestly and religious vocation.  It was the most difficult decision of my life, but at the end of 2011, I decided not to pursue solemn vows, and left the Order.  At the time, I did not see myself ever returning to religious life or priestly formation, and decided to pursue a teaching career.

Little did I know that God would use this to bring me back to the Dominicans!  I completed a master’s in theology from the Dominican House of Studies in 2012, and taught religion for one year in South Texas, before moving back to the Washington metropolitan area, where I have been for the last four years, teaching religion and social studies at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, Virginia.  At this school, I have had the privilege of working with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, who administer and teach at the school.  Working at a Dominican school, as well as rekindling some connections with the friars in Washington, allowed me to reconsider and respond to a Dominican vocation.  The process of coming back has been a time of tremendous grace and an experience of the mercy of God, and I am excited to soon be back among the brethren of St. Dominic.  Teaching high school for the last five years has given me an experience that I will truly treasure, and hope to continue in future ministerial assignments.  I would also be interested in campus ministry, or serving in a parish, as it was at a Dominican parish that I first encountered the Order.

2017 Novitiate Class


+all of our other friars in formation can be seen HERE  (make a donation to help us form these men HERE)
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