Dr. Knight: You are a seminarian studying to be a priest for the Diocese of San
Jose. What does that mean? What significance is the vow of obedience to you? The
promise of poverty and celibacy?
Seminarian Tony: Thank you, Dr Knight, for taking the time to interview me. What this
means is that I am preparing myself during this time of formation to conform myself to
the person of Jesus Christ so I can better serve His people in the Diocese of San Jose as a
priest in the footsteps of Jesus. With the promise of obedience, the candidate submits his will to the will of Christ and His Church represented by his local Bishop. The promise of poverty represents the desire to give up everything in order to be free to embrace Jesus and follow him without any attachment to material things that may serve as a hindrance. It is the openness and the willingness to share what you have or give it up completely for the sake of your love for Jesus and His flock. In the promise of chastity, the candidate consecrates Himself to God as his bride. These three promises represent total submission to the will of God in your ministry. The blessings in turn are enormous, though not without challenges.
Dr. Knight: How did you receive your call to be a priest? How has this call changed
over time? .
Seminarian Tony: My call did not come in any extra ordinary way, I was just an ordinary
person in my parish, serving masses every weekend at my home parish. As I continued to observe, search and ask God for my purpose in life. I began to admire the priests in my parish as they ministered to the people in the name of Christ. I continued to pray, seek spiritual direction and discern the will of God for my life, the admiration for the
priesthood increased in my heart. I then took concrete steps by making an application to
join the seminary. In the course of my journey, I have come to understand Jesus and his
Church the more.
Dr. Knight: I see you were in the Holy Land this last semester. Could you tell us
what that means?
Seminarian Tony: My experience in the Holy Land was very powerful. It was a long time
dream that was finally realized this year and I am very grateful for all those who support
us in all dimensions to make this trip a reality. It was a great privilege to walk in the
places that Jesus walked and the relive the Gospels again in the very places that it
happened thousands of years ago. My personal relationship with Jesus became more
intimate, I could see him with the eyes of faith, ministering to my heart personally, at the
various Holy Sites we visited. As someone willing to give the rest of my life in serving
Jesus, it was important for me to have this experience and draw the graces the Lord
himself dispenses at these Holy Sites in the Holy Land.
Dr. Knight: How about an easy question: what is your favorite film at this time?
Book? Have you seen “Quiet Place” or “Won’t You Be my Neighbor?”
Seminarian Tony: I’m not a movie person and haven’t seen a full movie in a long time
now. I’m presently studying the relationship between Faith and Culture.
Dr. Knight: What was it like to move from your native country to the United States.Is it what you expected?
Seminarian Tony: :My journey to the U.S could best be described as a journey of faith. I
didn’t know what to expect but thanks be to God, I came across a lot of families and
friends that considered me as part of their families too.
Dr. Knight: Do you think/feel that the use of social media in our parishes can assist young people to think about knowing/loving/serving God through their ‘cyber-neighbor’?
Seminarian Tony: Definitely. If you pay attention, a lot of the multinational companies,
Mainstream media and schools are present on social media. We too must be there in
because we must be where human beings are. We have to spread the Gospel everywhere
Dr. Knight: As a seminarian you are able to educate and spiritually form many
people in the society through your work. What issues are predominantly on your
mind and heart?
Seminarian Tony: The goal of the Church’s ministry is the formation of human beings.
This takes place in the parish, in the school, in prison or whatever ministry the a priest
finds himself in. The effects of the priests’ ministry is then felt in the larger society. It is
therefore my joy to participate in this and contribute to a better society through my
priestly ministry as pastor.
Dr. Knight: There have been very influential Bishops throughout the ages
including saints. Who influenced you the most?
Seminarian Tony: St Joseph has been an outstanding figure to me the way he took care of the family entrusted to him. He is a wonderful example for anybody who values humility, simplicity, total trust in God and a sense of responsibility.
Dr. Knight: It seems that this interview would help us understand your
leisure activities and purposeful work that would be of interest to our
readers such as the help that has been provided to immigrants.
Seminarian Tony: For my leisure activities, I play soccer, play some card games with
friends or go on a tour to a place I haven’t been before. I’m equally interested in
promoting interreligious understandings. We are first of human beings before belonging
to a religion.
Dr. Knight: What other issues do you have as a priority for our work as a society?
Seminarian Tony: Social justice issues should be taken more seriously. No matter your
political affiliation, treat others with dignity and respect. Ours is a faith that does justice.
Thank you for doing this interview to help all of us understand your work better
and to live a life in Communion with Christ.