Jonathan Arriola

2022 - 23 College Senior
St. John Vianney College Seminary, St. Paul,  MN 

At first, the only reason I wanted to go to seminary was to merely discern my vocation. The seminary is indeed the place to do that, but after talking to Bishop Pates and other brother seminarians I have come to realize that the seminary has a larger purpose. To help one become a better man and priest for Christ and his people, a better man and perhaps a good dad, or a better man and a better server of the Church.

 I felt a pull in my heart attracting me to the priesthood after my family and I moved to Des Moines in 2016. Yet, it was probably in me since a long time ago. Back in California, where my family and I come from, I served as an altar server at my parish, St. Mary of the Nativity. We used to do a youth Mass on Saturdays which provided the opportunity to serve on the altar. Actually my brother got me into serving, he had to persuade me much. To be honest, I did not take altar serving seriously, but I still enjoyed it. On one occasion after Mass a very tall, young priest asked me, "Have you ever thought of becoming a priest one day?" Sort of uncomfortable at his question I said "nahh" and dismissed the idea. But I think his question moved something in me even if slightly.

That is one of the earliest times I came across the question, "Is Jonathan called to be a priest one day?"

In my sophomore year of high school, I began to pray and read about the saints. These practices nurtured my spiritual growth. When I prayed in my room, I would imagine myself placing my hands on people's heads in prayer like I had seen priests do before. I was becoming aware of the inspiration/desire in me to become a priest one day. I guess it was a call. This call lived in me throughout my time high school, but my disposition to it wasn't always the same. I disliked when people asked me, "You're going to be a priest, right?" Or when they would pick on me because they knew I was planning on pursuing this path one day. This made me sort of indifferent to my vocation. And to top it off my prayer life wasn't too good.

I feel satisfied and eager with the fact that I am entering the seminary, I look forward to becoming a better version of myself as " all man, and all priest." or as whatever I'm called to do in my life. Please pray for us. Your prayers are important. God bless you.