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Editor’s note: Ordination 2023 will be Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains

Patrick Blenman

Coming from a family of six, I grew up in Sidney, OH, and attended Holy Angels Church. My parents were attentive to bringing us up in the Catholic faith; I was homeschooled until I transferred to Lehman Catholic High School. There, I was involved in choir, band and other student organizations while also an active altar server at Holy Angels.

I distinctly remember my first thoughts about priesthood. I was 12 and at the Youth and Family Encounter Conference in Atlanta, run by the Legionaries of Christ. Watching the priests process out of the closing Mass, I thought “It might be cool to be a priest,” and from that moment, this thought and the Lord’s movement in my life kept coming back, no matter how hard I tried to suppress it.

A few months later, I opened up about this desire to Father Matthew Van Smoorenburg, LC, on my first Legionaries’ retreat. I learned to lay this desire before Our Lord in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, to strive for virtue, and to nurture this call. I began to live my life for Jesus Christ.

I have been blessed by many mentors, parents, family, and many of my parish’s priests, especially: Father Patrick McMullen, Father Matthew Van Smoorenburg, LC, Father Daniel Schmitmeyer, Father Jason Bedel, Father Daniel Hess, and Father Shawn Landenwitch.

I most look forward to being an instrument of God’s grace and mission to the world’s people in celebrating the Sacraments. Favorite devotions that help guide and strengthen me include the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Divine Mercy with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Rosary and Lectio Divina.

I enjoy camping, hiking, watching movies, smoking my pipe and hanging out with friends.

Amid our world’s great turmoil, it is more important than ever to spread Jesus Christ’s message and strive for holiness. Many struggles and questions in our lives and world are only overcome and answered through Jesus Christ. My work as a priest is to serve this Church instituted by Christ, which includes helping you, the people of God, to grow in holiness and relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us pray for one another as we share this hopeful Gospel message to our families, friends, and communities.

Patrick Blenman

Isaiah Callan

I am originally from Vermont. My parents are still there with those of my 11 siblings who are not scattered across the U.S. The first inkling of my vocation to the priesthood came during middle school, was clarified in high school, but was unactionable until after college; then, I applied to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and found peace.

My godfather and Father McQuillen mentored me at different stages in my life: my godfather through high school and Father McQuillen through the first few years of seminary.

I look forward to celebrating the sacraments and walking with God’s people toward Christ. What more could one want than to see how God works miracles on a daily basis in people’s souls?

I enjoy reading and getting outside on a sunny day, and I have a particular love of St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. John Bosco, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Lourdes.

Isaiah Callan

Alex Dugas

I am from St. Peter Church in Huber Heights and proud to be from Dayton. Around age eight, I was interested in the priest at Mass and excited about all things Catholic. As I grew, however, I thought it might be a childish dream, akin to wanting to be an astronaut. Only later, in college, did I feel the Lord really placed a desire for this call in my heart. I still remember the day I heard the Vocations Prayer at Mass and thought, “Am I one of those men the Lord is calling?”

Two priests stand out as mentors. Father Frank Amberger was an example early in my studies. His approach to the priesthood, ministry and prayer and the witness of his life inspired me. His love for the Lord encouraged my desire to love the Lord better. I regard my internship pastor, Father Sean Wilson as a real brother. His example, leadership, and friendship had a profound impact.

I am excited to say Mass and minister the sacraments, and I really look forward to confidently saying, “Yes, these are the people the Lord sent me to serve, and I have a duty to be their priest.” I also look forward to working with the many wonderful priests I’ve met and my ordained friends from seminary.

I have a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; it seems the Lord wants the furnace of charity that is His heart to be central in my life and priesthood. My favorite daily prayer is my Rosary, and St. Francis de Sales has been a saintly companion in my life.

A fan of history my whole life, I also enjoy reading novels, weight-lifting, drawing, oil painting, and time with friends.

I want to grow my love of the Lord throughout my life, and I pray I can help many love Him more. Please pray for vocations!

Alex Dugas

Stephen Hughes

I grew up with four brothers and two sisters in Trenton, OH, where we attended Holy Name Parish until we moved to Champaign County. There, we attended Sacred Heart Parish in New Carlisle. Homeschooled until eighth grade, I went to Graham High School, Bowling Green State University, then the Air Force for three years before entering seminary.

I had to think about where I was heading in life after graduation, which is when I seriously began to consider the priesthood. Through formation, my spiritual director, Father Sunberg, has been a mentor for me. Now, I look forward to celebrating the Mass and to bringing the Sacraments to the faithful.

I enjoy praying the Rosary, and in my spare time, I like to read, play board games and video games, and watch sci- fi and fantasy films.

Thank you for all your prayers, for both myself and all seminarians discerning priesthood.

Stephen Hughes

Jonathan Jergens

The oldest of five, I am originally from Miamisburg, and my home parish is Our Lady of Good Hope Church. Joining the U.S. Army in 2003, I deployed six times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and was fortunate to have fun experiences, including as a paratrooper and Jumpmaster; which means I got to jump, and kick a few out, from perfectly good airplanes!

I first heard the call to priesthood as an altar server, but I was in high school when 9/11 occurred and felt a strong call to serve my country. Still, God kept calling me, until I decided to discern whether this was a true call—and that led me to the seminary.

Several priests inspired and helped me, including Father Tom Nevells and Father Jim Romanello. Father Ben Bruening’s example of priestly service made a strong impact and Father Mark Watkins from St. Lawrence provided a home for two summers during seminary. Lastly, Father Andrew Reckers was an incredible mentor during my internship year.

I look forward to being part of a parish and helping the faithful grow in holiness. The Rosary is important to me—having our Blessed Mother’s ear is probably the reason I’m here today.

I love to travel to new places and experience different cultures.

Jonathan Jergens

Jeff Stephens

Attending St. Susanna In Mason, I grew up on a golf course because my dad is a club pro golfer. My vocational dream was a large Catholic family, so, after graduating from the University of Cincinnati, I became a FOCUS missionary. I began to daily attend Mass, pray a Rosary and make a Holy Hour, and God opened my heart to the priesthood. It still took several years— two years as a missionary and time as a Dominican novice—all to discern my vocation. Eventually, God’s call became clear and I entered seminary.

My dad taught me faith. He had a reversion when I was young. My mother taught me what it means to love. When I was very sick as an infant, she offered me in prayer. I believe God received her offering and placed the call of the priesthood on my life.

I look forward to being with the people. What a gift priests are given to share so many peoples’ adventure! I have special devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Rita and St. Padre Pio.

My several hobbies are: playing guitar, watching movies, going to concerts, hanging with friends and rapping—even rapping can be done for the Lord!

Jeffrey Stephens

David Duy Tran

The oldest of five boys, I am from St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township. My parents are first-generation immigrants from Vietnam.

I began discerning the priesthood around age eight. We attended Mass weekly during grade school at St. Dominic School in Delhi, and priests frequently visited classrooms and helped me realize how I could serve the Lord through the Church.

Several priests had a great impact on me, and my parents and grandparents were instrumental in my discernment, cultivating a life of prayer in the home. My grandmother taught me the Rosary and recited prayers in Vietnamese. We attended Mass every Sunday and often during the week.

I look forward to offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, administering the sacraments, bringing Christ to others, and preaching and teaching the faithful.

My favorite prayers are the Rosary, Litany of St. Joseph and the Chaplet of St. Michael, and my favorite devotions are Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

I enjoy reading, cooking, walking, hiking and watching movies.

In Vietnamese families, it is an honor and blessing to have a son become a Catholic priest. It is more admirable than becoming a doctor, pharmacist or engineer!

David Duy Tran


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