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Eight seminarians called to ordination

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has called three men to priesthood ordination and five men to diaconate ordination for the Diocese of Arlington, according to an announcement by Father J.D. Jaffe, director of the Office of Vocations.


The three men who will be ordained priests by Bishop Burbidge June 9 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington are: Deacon Michael J. Folmar, Deacon Nicholas J. Schierer and Deacon Christopher Tipton.

The five men who will be ordained deacons June 2 at the Cathedral include: Nicholas Blank, Edouard Guilloux, Sean Koehr, Will Nyce and James Waalkes.

Deacon Michael Folmar is in his fourth year of theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax and considers Holy Spirit Church in Annandale as his home parish.

Serving a summer at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean with his former spiritual director, Father Christopher J. Pollard, helped him confirm his vocation. He was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Burbidge June 10, 2017.

Deacon Nicholas Schierer is in his fourth year of theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained to the diaconate Sept. 28, 2017, by Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, N.J. His brother, Father William B. Schierer, also is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. His home parish is St. Veronica Church in Chantilly.

A graduate of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Deacon Schierer thought about becoming a priest throughout his childhood.

Studying for the priesthood in Rome has given him the grace to know “that God really has called me to serve in the Diocese of Arlington,” he said. “Distance really does make the heart grow fonder, or at least it did for me.”

Deacon Christopher Tipton is in his fourth year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.

Growing up in a military family, he moved frequently, but his family was drawn toward the one source of stability in their lives — the Catholic Church.

While attending Christendom College in Front Royal, he discerned whether he was called to the diocesan priesthood or a Benedictine monastery overseas.

He was ordained to the diaconate June 10, 2017, by Bishop Burbidge.

“It really is unbelievable the grace that God has given me through the people of Arlington, other seminarians and the liturgy,” he said.

Nicholas Blank is in his third year of theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. He’s a graduate of Christendom College in Front Royal, where he majored in philosophy, and a parishioner at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville. He has felt a call to the priesthood ever since he was a young altar server, and said, “I don’t always want to be a priest, but I feel called by God and can’t leave Him hanging…It really is awesome that God in His Providence has a plan for me that will bring me the fullness of happiness, and I would be ungenerous (and kind of stupid!) if I didn’t return to God the life He has so generously given me. That He would want me to be a priest to His people is thrilling and humbling.”

He also was influenced to enter seminary by meeting seminarians around the diocese, as well as by college friends who, he said, “gave me the courage to do God’s will.” He likes to play soccer and baseball, following the New York Mets, singing and playing guitar.

Edouard Guilloux is in his third year of theology at the North American College in Rome. Guilloux decided to apply to seminary after graduating from high school. He credits his supportive family, wonderful priests and seminarian friends with influencing his decision. Guilloux believes that God is truly calling him to be a priest. “Only in following His will can I be happy, and I have no greater desire than to do so,” he said.

Guilloux enjoys cooking and outdoor activities including cycling, camping, hiking and skiing. His advice to someone thinking about a vocation: “Don't be afraid to take the first step. What helped me a lot was the understanding that I just had to take it one step at a time, and that God would guide me along the path He has planned for me, whether or not it leads to the priesthood.”

Sean Koehr is in his third year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. His home parish is St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton.

He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend., Ind., where he was training to become a naval officer in the NROTC scholarship program. He dropped out of the NROTC program in order to attend the seminary and later be commissioned as an officer in the Chaplain Corps. He hopes to serve his four-year commitment to the military as a Navy chaplain after seminary.

His friendship with Father James Searby, Catholic chaplain at George Mason University in Fairfax, had the most influence on his decision to enter the seminary. Seeing Father Searby’s joy and generosity in living his vocation has helped Koehr get to know Christ and makes him want to give his life to God as a priest.

He wants to become a priest so he can fight for the church by bringing the truth and the sacraments to the diocese and the world.

He enjoys laughing with people, traveling, listening to music, and talking with family and friends.

His favorite quote is by St. Josemaria Escriva: "Don't let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love. With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart."

His advice to a young man thinking about the seminary is to put yourself in front of Jesus and He will do most of the work. “Know that whatever vocation you are called to, you are first called to be a saint,” he said. “Strive to be a saint first, and whatever particular vocation you have will not only be clear, but you will also want it more than anything else.”

Will Nyce is in his third year of theology at the North American College in Rome. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia. After college, Nyce had the opportunity to teach English at a seminary in Bethlehem for a year, which led to a short period of discernment with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He likes hiking and a good pick-up soccer game when he gets the chance.

His advice to someone who might be feeling a call to the priesthood? “I would relay the same advice that the church gives to all of us who are seeking fuller lives in Christ: read scripture, stay close to the sacraments, pray constantly, and do not be afraid. ‘We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him,’ St. Paul writes (Rom 8:28).”

His home parish is St. Veronica Church in Chantilly.

James Waalkes is in his third year of theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary. His home parish is St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield.

Before entering the seminary he taught fifth grade at Angelus Academy in Springfield for two years, and prior to that he was a camp counselor.

He was influenced to apply for seminary by the many devout and Christ-like priests who helped him find his own desires. He wants to be a priest so he can bring people to God.

His favorite pastimes are music and playing the guitar.

His advice to a young man thinking about the seminary is “to pray to Him, seek Him, and trust that He will bring you to your place.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018