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:
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."
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!"
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."
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."
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."
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."
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)."
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."