Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Three will engage in seminary formation this September

the Inland Register

(From the July 16, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

For three men studying for the Diocese of Spokane, the excitement of a new school year already beckons. The three are taking important steps forward in what they are discerning to be God’s call to priestly service.

Peter Fazzari (left), age 21, graduated just last month from Gonzaga University with a BA in philosophy and a minor in music. Fazzari is slated to begin four years of priestly formation this September at Theological College at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

In 2013, Fazzari was accepted into the seminary formation program at Bishop White Seminary, on the campus of Gonzaga University. He hails from Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Walla Walla, the product of home schooling and the Running Start early college credit program. His first year of college was spent at Eastern Washington State University, where he began his academic career with studies in music education.

Joining Fazzari at Theological College for the next academic year will be Raymond Kalema (right), 28, who continues his path toward the priesthood as he enters the second year of theology formation.

Kalema is a transfer seminarian from the Archdiocese of Kampala in the central African nation of Uganda. He was born in Entebbe. After completing his primary education at St. Matthias Mulumba School, Kalema entered seminary formation in high school at Kisubi Minor Seminary, and has continued along the path of priestly formation ever since.

The year 2007 found him at Uganda Martyr’s National Major Seminary, from which he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. After completing what he refers to as a “spiritual year,” Kalema entered St. Mary National Seminary, from whence he applied in 2013 to come to the Diocese of Spokane.

Kalema has said that the path has not been without its challenges and dangers. He has told of attending seminary classes under the guard of soldiers who protected the seminarians from neighboring rebel groups.

Through contacts and conversations between diocesan officials from the Diocese of Spokane and the Archdiocese of Kampala, Kalema found his way to the United States. Fluent in English and his native tongue, Luganda, he has spent the last year in residence at Bishop White Seminary, where he has engaged in its formation program while working at Spokane’s House of Charity.

A third young man, Chase Willcuts (left), age 26, is originally from Newberg, Ore. He has been accepted into a “pre-theology” seminary formation program at Bishop White Seminary for the coming academic year.

He will continue working at a local mortuary while he receives formation and classes in preparation for entrance into the last four years of seminary studies the following year.

Willcuts attended public schools as a child before continuing his studies at Newberg High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from George Fox University College in Newberg and presently is completing his master’s in philosophy at Gonzaga University. He is a convert to Catholicism by way of the Quaker and Anglican traditions.

Father Robert McNeese, who recently retired as rector of Bishop White Seminary and diocesan Director of Seminarians, describes the three seminarians in generous terms.

“These three young men are eager to serve God’s people and are fine examples of those qualities in future priests which Pope Francis bids us nurture in our youth,” he said. “They literally are worlds apart in terms of their personal backgrounds,” he said, “but they share a common excitement for priestly service.

“The diocese is blessed to have these three men step forward with such eagerness and anticipation,” said Father McNeese.

Two men ordained as priests on June 19 – Deacons David Kruse and Kyle Ratuiste – both received their final four years of formation at Theological College, where Fazzari and Kalema will study this September.

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