From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Spokane seminarians number 18 for 2002-2003

the Inland Register

(From the Oct. 3, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

The Diocese of Spokane currently has 18 men studying for the priesthood in five different seminaries in the United States, Europe and Mexico.

Eleven men are enrolled in the formation program at Bishop White Seminary. One seminarian is studying at The American College in Louvain, Belgium, one at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, two are enrolled in the formation program at the Theological College in Washington, D.C. and one is studying at the Seminario Hispano in Mexico City.

The seminarians vary in age, culture, and background. In many ways, they reflect the diversity which is present in the Catholic population throughout Eastern Washington.

Father Darrin Connall, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Spokane, has set a goal of 20 seminarians for the diocese. “With 20 seminarians, we might expect to ordain an average of two priests per year,” he said. “If we had two new priests every year, we would actually begin to get ahead.”

Father Connall believes that this goal is quite attainable and that God continues to call young men to the priesthood in adequate numbers. “It looks as if we are on course to reach our goal of 20 seminarians by January 2003,” he said.

Father Connall also said that it can be problematic to simply focus on numbers: “It is better to have quality than quantity.”

The following is a listing of each of the seminarians currently studying for the Spokane Diocese:

Matthew Nicks is 20 years old and a senior at Bishop White Seminary and Gonzaga University. Matt is a philosophy major. He and his family are members of St. Peter Parish where he attended All Saints School. Matt spent this past summer completing an intensive course in Latin offered through Gonzaga University.
Alejandro Zepeda is 29 years old and a senior at Bishop White Seminary and Gonzaga University. Alejandro is a religious studies major at Gonzaga. A native of San Mateo, Mexico, Alejandro recently completed the English as a Second Language Program at Gonzaga University. He is scheduled to graduate in December and go on to study theology at the American College in Louvain, Belgium.
Kevin Oiland was born and raised in Spokane and is a graduate of North Central High School. Kevin is a member of Mary Queen of Heaven Parish. At 21 years old, Kevin is a junior at Bishop White Seminary and Gonzaga University, where he is majoring in philosophy. Kevin also spent this past summer successfully completing an intensive course in Latin through Gonzaga University.
Michael Ishida is 36 years old and comes to the Diocese of Spokane from Seattle. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is currently enrolled as a first year theology student at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Before coming to the seminary, Mike earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with a speciality in cardiology.
Carlos Muñoz-Rodriguez is 20 years old and a freshman at Bishop White Seminary. Carlos successfully completed the English as a Second Language Program through Gonzaga University and he is a 2002 graduate from Gonzaga Preparatory School. He is a native of Riconada, Mexico and is an avid soccer fan and player.
Deacon Joseph Sullivan is a 51-year-old native of Atlanta, Ga. He is currently in his fourth year of theology studies at Mt. Angel Seminary at St. Benedict, Ore. Before entering the seminary, Deacon Sullivan worked as a geologist. This past summer he was assigned to pastoral work at St. Charles Parish in Spokane while living at the Bishop White Seminary. He is scheduled to be ordained a priest on May 30, 2003.
Pedro Bautista-Peraza is currently in his third year of theology studies at The American College in Leuven, Belgium. At 29 years old, Pedro is a native of Vera Cruz, Mexico. Before going to theology, he successfully completed the English as a Second Language Program through Gonzaga University. He spent this past summer engaging in pastoral ministry at St. Mary Parish in the Spokane Valley. Pedro is a skilled photographer who has taken several pictures that have been used in promotional materials for Bishop White Seminary and the Vocation Office.
David Kuttner is a native of Spokane and a member of St. Thomas More Parish. David is 33 years old and holds an undergraduate degree in education. Dave is enrolled as a first theology student at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Last year he successfully completed the pre-theology program at Bishop White Seminary and Gonzaga University. Before coming to the seminary, Dave coached baseball and taught special education students. He also spent a year at St. John University studying theology.
Rafael Rodriquez Herrera is in the midst of a pastoral internship with Father Jim Kuhns at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Spokane. Last year Rafael studied English as a Second Language through Gonzaga University. Thirty-seven-year-old Rafael has completed theology studies in his native Mexico and has been assisting in several parishes during breaks in his studies. He is scheduled to be ordained a priest on May 30, 2003.
Kenny St. Hilaire is a 22-year-old pre-theology student at Bishop White Seminary and Gonzaga University. Kenny was born and raised in Pasco, Wash., where he and his family are parishioners at St. Patrick Parish. Kenny has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Central Washington University. He is an accomplished musician who regularly plays the piano for seminary liturgies.
Miguel Angel Gustavo Ruiz is a second year theology student at the Seminario Hispano de Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City. At 23 years old, “Gustavo” has already completed his philosophy studies and one year of theology. The Seminario Hispano is a seminary sponsored by the Archdiocese of Mexico City for the sole purpose of training seminarians to serve in the United States.
Peter Amah is a 28-year-old seminarian from Abia State in Nigeria. He attended Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary in Imo State, Nigeria where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy. He has spent the last several months studying theology at Fordham University in New York. Currently he is completing a pastoral internship at St. Patrick Parish in Spokane. In January, he is scheduled to resume his theological studies as a third year seminarian at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Luke Tomson is a 20-year-old seminarian and a senior at Bishop White Seminary. He is a member of Mary Queen of Heaven Parish in Spokane where he assists with Sunday liturgies. Luke is a philosophy major who is scheduled to complete his degree in December of 2002. Following graduation, Luke will be assigned to a parish for a semester of pastoral work before going on to study theology.
Kris Leistritz was born and raised in Richland, Wash., and is a 2002 graduate of Tri-Cities Prep in Pasco. Kris is an 18 year-old freshman at Bishop White Seminary and Gonzaga University. Kris has been quite involved in various ministries at St. Patrick Parish in Pasco, where he and his family are members.
Lisandro Pena is 29 years old and was born and raised in Cuenca, Ecuador. Lisandro is fluent in three languages, including English, Spanish and Italian. He has already completed two years of theology at the Angelicum University in Rome. While in Rome he became friends with Spokane seminarians studying at the North American College. He is currently on a one-year leave of absence from the Diocese of Spokane while he fulfills some requirements regarding his immigration status. While on leave, he will be teaching Special Education at a school in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Luis Alfonso Rivera is a 24-year-old seminarian at Bishop White Seminary who is beginning studies in the English as a Second Language Program at Gonzaga University. Luis has already completed two years of theology at St. Rafael the Archangel Seminary in Oaxaca, Mexico. He is scheduled to complete the E.S.L. program this year and move on to complete his theological studies next fall.
Jeremy Burris is a 23-year-old seminarian and a freshman at Bishop White Seminary. Jeremy was born and raised in the Tri-Cities area, where he graduated from high school and attended junior college. Jeremy is a member of St. Aloysius Parish, where he assists with the music program on Sundays as a choir member and bass guitar player.
Johnathan Sweitzer was born and raised in Spokane. He is a graduate of Cataldo School, Gonzaga Prep and Washington State University. Johnathan also holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Gonzaga University. At 31 years old, Johnathan is enrolled in the pre-theology program at Bishop White Seminary. He and his family are parishioners at St. Augustine Parish.

(For more information on our seminarians, or if you are contemplating a vocation to priesthood or Religious life, please contact Father Darrin Connall or by phone: (509) 326-3761.)


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