Saint Joseph College Seminary

Saint Joseph College Seminary Blog

For news, current events, reflections, and activities, the Saint Joseph College Seminary blog will provide a fun and behind the scenes look at what college seminary is like.

Back-To-School Orientation Week: Fresh Faces

This year, we are humbled to welcome nine new seminarians to the St. Joseph College Seminary community at Loyola University Chicago. Each of them have unique stories to tell about themselves and their journeys that led them to pursue their vocational calling here at St. Joseph. Both fresh and familiar faces have arrived after a summer full of activities including mission trips and spending quality time in their individual parishes.

But as we begin the next school year, let's get to know our new seminarians! We asked them a few questions including where they're from, a psalm that has meaning to them, interesting facts about them and their favorite foods and bands -- here were the responses:


  Psalm 119: 9-10,  "How can the young keep his way without fault? Only by observing your words. With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments."

Psalm 119: 9-10, "How can the young keep his way without fault? Only by observing your words. With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments."

Brady Gagne

Where he's from: "I'm from the Milwaukee archdiocese and my parish is St. Peter’s in Slinger, WI."

Why he came to Joseph: "I'm really looking forward to community building and the fraternity of studying alongside my brother seminarians here at St. Joseph."

Favorite music: "While I couldn’t ever choose a favorite band, my favorite album would have to be Imagine Dragons’ first album, Night Visions."

Favorite food: "Either pizza or marinated grilled salmon."

Interesting fact: "I started playing hockey when I was very young and continued all the way through high school."


  Psalm 147:3  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”    "This is my favorite verse because it really speaks to the healing nature of our Lord."

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

"This is my favorite verse because it really speaks to the healing nature of our Lord."

Aby Abraham

Where he's from: San Francisco

Why he came to Joseph: "I came to St. Joseph because I’m studying for the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago. They send all their college seminarians here because of the great program and administrators. I’m really looking forward to growing as a young man and developing a solid relationship with Christ as I also learn more academically."

Favorite music: "No specific band, but indie music and R&B are my favorite genres."

Favorite food: "Probably Chik-fil-A."

Interesting fact: "I’ve been a part time barber for 3 years!"


  Psalms 23:1,  "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."     I just love the image of the Lord guiding me and leading me like a shepherd. It really comforts me, especially when I am lost or confused.

Psalms 23:1, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

I just love the image of the Lord guiding me and leading me like a shepherd. It really comforts me, especially when I am lost or confused.

Goodwin Francis

Where he's from: Skokie, IL

Why he came to Joseph: "I'm also studying for the Syro Malabar Diocese of Chicago. I’m looking forward to being a part of the seminary community. I realize I am with amazing people that will help me grow in Christ."

Favorite music: "I don’t really have a favorite because I enjoy a variety of genres."

Favorite food: "My favorite food is rice with fish, meat, and vegetables. This is the staple in South India."

Interesting fact: "I love to sing."


   Psalm 42    This is my favorite Psalm because it's the first prayer in the Traditional Latin Mass.

Psalm 42

This is my favorite Psalm because it's the first prayer in the Traditional Latin Mass.

Christopher Jackowiak

Where he's from: "I'm from the parish of St. Damian's in Oak Forest, Illinois a southern suburb of Chicago."

Why he came to Joseph: "St. Joseph allows seminarians to experience college life while discerning their vocation, allowing them to see the world outside seminary walls, whereas other more traditional seminaries don't have such advantages."

What are you most excited for this year?: "Figuring out what God is calling me to do with my life."

Favorite band: Black Sabbath

Favorite food: Italian Beef Sandwich

Interesting fact: "I'm afraid of dogs."


   Psalm 23     It is my favorite because it reminds me that I am sheep of the Lord, and that without Him I am nothing.

Psalm 23

It is my favorite because it reminds me that I am sheep of the Lord, and that without Him I am nothing.

Brandon L. Beltran

Where he's from: "I am from Riverside, IL and I belong to St. Mary Riverside."

Why he came to Joseph: "I was drawn to St. Joseph because I feel the call to be a diocesan Priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago."

What are you most looking forward to this school year?: "I am looking forward to growing close to Christ with the help of my fellow brother seminarians, as well as the many service projects we will be part of."

Favorite music: Alternative

Favorite food: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Interesting fact: "I am really good with computers and I love to fix iPhones."


   Psalm 27   is my favorite psalm because it gives good insight on the fact we are not alone.

Psalm 27 is my favorite psalm because it gives good insight on the fact we are not alone.

Anthony Davies

Where he's from: Park Ridge, IL

What are you most looking forward to this school year?: "I am looking forward to meeting good people, including my brother seminarians, and being enrolled in engaging and interesting classes."

Favorite band: Coldplay

Favorite food(s): Pizza and pasta

Interesting fact: "I'm a big movie buff, so I'm always watching movies."


  Psalms 144: 2   “He is my love, my fortress, he is my stronghold, my savior, my shield, my place of refuge.”    Among a few other psalms that I frequent during prayer, this psalm reflects my inmost feeling toward God. Since my childhood, I have always called Him 'my love.' When I first read this psalm it struck me because I could not have found better words to express my love to Him.

Psalms 144: 2 “He is my love, my fortress, he is my stronghold, my savior, my shield, my place of refuge.”

Among a few other psalms that I frequent during prayer, this psalm reflects my inmost feeling toward God. Since my childhood, I have always called Him 'my love.' When I first read this psalm it struck me because I could not have found better words to express my love to Him.

Ángel Hilario Álvarez

Where he's from: Chicago, IL and his home parish is St. Gall Catholic Church.

Why he came to Joseph: "I chose to attend St. Joseph College Seminary because it's the best place to discern the diocesan priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago."

What are you looking forward to this year?: "I am most looking forward to studying side-by-side other seminarians. We are all in the same boat here. The spiritual brotherhood that is implemented here is such a beautiful experience, and I feel privileged to be able to partake in that."

Favorite music: "My favorite genre is Latin music."

Favorite food: Fajitas

Interesting fact: "I am multilingual (English, Spanish, quite a bit of Italian, some Latin, learning Catalàn)."


   Psalm 121  The Guardian of Israel.   It is my favorite Psalm because as a young boy and throughout my whole life my mom and I have prayed that prayer every night. I still say to this day while in the seminary and probably will continue for the rest of my life.

Psalm 121 The Guardian of Israel.

It is my favorite Psalm because as a young boy and throughout my whole life my mom and I have prayed that prayer every night. I still say to this day while in the seminary and probably will continue for the rest of my life.

Victor Martinez

Where he's from: St. Barnabas parish on the South side of Chicago.

Why he came to Joseph: "I came here because during high school I was here through the Quigley Scholar program. I loved the environment and brotherhood that I experienced at my time during Quigley Scholars and wanted to continue it now."

What are you most excited for this year?: "I am looking forward to growing this year not only in my faith but how I grow independently. For the first time I am living without my mom, and while I will miss her I will always live by her lesson to grow in my own way and live a healthy lifestyle."

Favorite music: "I listen to a lot of different genres of music. I listen to rap, 70's-80's music, and indie."

Favorite food: "Definitely homemade mac and cheese."