MEET THE MEN

MEET THE MEN OF THE DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH

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Father Michael Ackerman

 Vocations Director

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Father Brian Welding, J.C.D., S.T.L.

Rector – St. Paul Seminary

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Father Brian Noel, S.T.L.

Spiritual Director – St. Paul Seminary

SEMINARIANS

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Deacon Benjamin Barr

Theological College
Washington, DC
IV Theology
Home Parish: Saint Monica Parish

About Deacon Ben:

On June 25, 2016, I was ordained to the diaconate at St. Paul Cathedral. I am an avid hiker and enjoy spending time outdoors. I am also an amateur astronomer and an amateur bonsai enthusiast. I am fluent in German and visited Cologne, Germany for World Youth Day in 2005. I have a bachelor of philosophy degree from the Catholic University of America. I am currently in my fourth year of theological studies at Theological College and The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

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Jeffrey Craig

Warrendale, PA
Pontifical North American College, Vatican City State
II Theology
Home Parish: Saint Alphonsus Parish

About Jeff:

I have completed mission work in Guatemala and have traveled to Morocco. I played soccer and baseball in high school and can speak Italian. I enjoy reading the works of Thomas Merton. I have three older siblings. During the Fall 2011 semester, I studied psychology at Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida. In Fall 2012, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I am currently in my second year of theological studies at the Pontifical North American College, Rome.

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Brendan Dawson

Cheswick, PA
Pastoral Formation Year
Saint Anne Parish, Castle Shannon
Home Parish: Saint Victor Parish

About Brendan:

I am a huge fan of the 20th Century Catholic author Flannery O’Connor and have read her two novels and all of her short stories multiple times. I also enjoy old movies; my favorites include Gone With the Wind, Going My Way and The Quiet Man. My two favorite saints are Saint Philomena and Saint Gemma Galgani. I have three younger sisters: Bridgette, Julia, and Catherine. In 2011, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I am currently in my Pastoral Formation Year at Saint Anne Parish, Castle Shannon.

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Timothy Deely

Pittsburgh, PA
Theological College, Washington, DC
IV Theology
Home Parish: Saint Monica Parish

About Tim:

I attended Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where I studied Philosophy and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2004. I taught theology and Church History at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island for nine years. My most prized possessions are my library of books, my set of golf clubs, an old set of bagpipes, and a Martin guitar. I read either The Silmarillion or The Lord of the Rings almost every year. I have three younger sisters. I am currently assigned to Saint Sebastian Parish, Ross Township for my Pastoral Formation Year.

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David J. Egan

Gibsonia, PA
Pastoral Formation Year
Good Samaritan Parish, Ambridge
Home Parish: Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish

About DJ:

I enjoy playing sports, especially soccer, basketball, and cycling. My favorite books are Lord of the Flies, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Catcher in the Rye.  I have traveled around different parts of Canada and Europe, including Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Italy, Slovakia, and Hungary. I have two older sisters, Marney and Kathryn, and one younger brother, Tim. I majored in Religious Studies at Allegheny College in Meadville where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2011. I am currently assigned to Good Samaritan Parish, Ambridge for my Pastoral Formation Year.

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Michael Faix

White Oak, PA
Saint Vincent Seminary
II Theology
Home Parish: Corpus Christi Parish

About Mike:

I graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in May of 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with a Minor in Music Performance (Trumpet). At Allegheny, I ran Division III Cross Country and Track. I served with N.E.T. Ministries, Inc. for three years after college, and worked as a Team Supervisor in West Saint Paul, Minnesota. I have one older brother. I love The Lord of the Rings, hoodies, and peanut butter. I am currently in my second year of theological studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.

Joseph Farren

Oakdale, PA
Pastoral Formation Year
St. Alexis Parish, Wexford
Home Parish: Holy Trinity Parish

About Joe:

I am one of seven children and I have been in seminary for 7 years now. In Fall 2010, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in May 2014.  I am currently assigned to Saint Alexis Parish, Wexford for my Pastoral Formation Year.

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John Ferguson

Butler, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
II College
Home Parish: Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen Parish

About John:

I graduated from Saint Joseph High School in Natrona Heights in 2015, and studied psychology at Butler County Community College from 2015 to 2016. I have three siblings. I enjoy travel, and flew to Nigeria with my dad to help my parish build a church there. I also played college basketball at Butler Community College. I am currently in my second year of college at Duquesne University and my first year of formation at Saint Paul Seminary.

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John Flynn

Valencia, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
IV College
Home Parish: Saint Richard Parish

About John:

I love spending time with my parents and my seven siblings. I also enjoy climbing trees and making plastic model airplanes. I studied International Business at Saint Vincent College in 2013 and Community College of Allegheny County, North Campus, in 2014. In Fall 2015, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I am currently my fourth year of college at Duquesne University and my second year of formation at Saint Paul Seminary.

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Deacon Thomas Gramc

Cranberry Township, PA
Pontifical North American College, Vatican City State
IV Theology
Home Parish: Saint Ferdinand Parish

About Deacon Tom:

On September 29, 2016, I was ordained at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. I like traveling and spending time outdoors. I worked for two years as an internal auditor in a corporate bank and ran the Boston Marathon in 2013, the year of the bombing. I have two sisters, Kristina and Stephanie. In 2011, I graduated from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, with a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in finance. In January 2012, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin pre-theology studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I completed those studies in May 2013. I was accepted to begin theological studies at the Pontifical North American College, Rome, in August 2013 and am currently in my fourth year.

Deacon David Green

Pittsburgh, PA
Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary, Weston, MA
IV Theology
Home Parish: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Parish

About Deacon David:

On June 25, 2016, I was ordained to the diaconate at St. Paul Cathedral. I enjoy cooking, baking, and reading historical books and novels. I was a teacher and a chaperone leader for the People to People Student Ambassador Program started by President Eisenhower, and led students on trips to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Western Canada.  I enjoy visiting different historical places and learning about the United States’ History. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales College in June 1985. In May 1995, I earned a Master of Science in Education degree from California University of Pennsylvania. I am currently in my fourth year of theological studies at Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts.

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Jacob Gruber

Pittsburgh, PA 15227
Saint Paul Seminary
IV College
Home Parish: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Parish

About Jake:

I enjoy playing tennis and reading the works of Leo Tolstoy. I have 13 siblings. My favorite saints include St. Anselm, St. Boethius, and St. Benedict. I am proficient in Spanish and French, and am learning American Sign Language, Latin, and Greek. I studied Business Administration at Robert Morris University, Moon Township from 2013 to 2014. In Fall 2014, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I am currently in my fourth year of college at Duquesne University and my third year of formation at Saint Paul Seminary.

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C. Matthew Hawkins

Saint Mary’s Seminary and University
Baltimore, MD
II Theology
Home Parish: St. Paul Cathedral

About Matt:

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 and received a Masters in Applied History from Carnegie Mellon in 1994. Most recently, I worked as Director of the Literacy Center and teacher at Imani Christian Academy, Pittsburgh. In Fall 2014, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin pre-theology studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. In May 2015, I finished my first year. I was accepted to begin theological studies at Saint Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, in August 2015 and am in my second year.

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Thomas Kadlick

Gibsonia, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
IV College
Home Parish: Saint Victor

About Tom:

I have two sisters, Krystin and Grace, and four brothers, Patrick, Matthew, Colin and Daniel. I attended Curtisville Primary School in Tarentum and East Union Intermediate School in Russellton before graduating from Deer Lakes High School in 2013. From 2013 to 2016, I studied Secondary Education English/Special Education at Point Park University. Before entering Seminary, I worked as a Butcher Assistant for Mish Farms Meat Market in Gibsonia. I began studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University in January 2017 and am currently in my fourth year of college at Duquesne University.

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Merv Knieriem

Tarrs, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
I College
Home Parish: Madonna del Castello Parish

About Merv:

I studied Criminal Justice and Criminology at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania from 2000 to 2002 and at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2003. I once aspired to work for the FBI. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, and I am passionate about studying music. I have one older sister. In Fall 2016, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I am currently in my first year of college at Duquesne University and my first year of formation at Saint Paul Seminary.

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Gregg Kotchey

Pittsburgh, PA
Theological College, Washington DC
I Theology
Home Parish: Saint Teresa of Avila Parish

About Gregg:

I obtained a B.Sci. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry/Nanoscience from the University of Pittsburgh. I am a published author in the scientific community and enjoy international travel. The most exotic places that I have traveled to are Australia and the Galápagos Islands. I am currently in my first year of theological studies at Theological College and The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

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Aaron Ledgerwood

Aliquippa, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
II Pre-Theology
Home Parish: Saint Regis Parish

About Aaron:

In 2012, I graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and a Minor in Mechanical Engineering. I played the trumpet in the band at Pitt for four years. I can juggle and I want to learn to ride the unicycle. I enjoy playing a rousing game of ultimate Frisbee. I have three sisters and nine nieces and nephews. I am currently in my second year of formation at Saint Paul Seminary.

Mingwei Li

South Park, PA
Pastoral Formation Year
Saint Richard Parish
Home Parish: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Parish

About Mingwei:

I moved from China to the United States with my family nearly 18 years ago. In 2011, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. I enjoy origami, computer games, geography and history. In Fall 2012, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin pre-theology studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I completed my philosophy studies in May 2014 and was then accepted for theological studies at Theological College and The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in August 2014.  In Summer 2016, following my second year of theological studies, I began my Pastoral Formation Year.  I am currently assigned at Saint Richard Parish, Richland Township.

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Kevin O’Connor

Gibsonia, PA
Saint Mary’s Seminary and University
II Theology
Home Parish: Saint Richard Parish

About Kevin:

I graduated in 1999 from Hampton High School in Allison Park. I attended Duquesne University from 1999 to 2003, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History. In high school and college, I worked as a volunteer firefighter.  I continued my education at Duquesne and I earned a paralegal certificate in 2005. I worked as a paralegal for nine years.  I traveled to Rome and Medjugorje for a pilgrimage and served on a mission trip to Jamaica. I am currently in my second year of theological studies at Saint Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore.

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Gabriel Salibi

Wexford, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
I Pre-Theology
Home Parish: Saint Richard Parish

About Gabriel:

I am passionate about adventure and the thrill that is life. I love Mama Mary and her Son Jesus and want nothing more than for people to come to know and love them. I has seven siblings. I graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Philosophy. I am currently in my first year of pre-theology studies at Saint Paul Seminary.

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David Schmidt

Butler, PA
Saint Paul Seminary
II Pre-Theology
Home Parish: Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen Parish

About David:

I have four siblings, and enjoy playing Fantasy Football and Fantasy Baseball. When I was younger, my dream job was to be the general manager of a Major League Baseball team. In 2012, I graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management. I red-shirted for baseball during my freshman year at CALU. In 2014, I received a Masters degree in Sports Management from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. I am currently in my second year of pre-theology studies at Saint Paul Seminary.

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Deacon Alexander Schrenk

Pittsburgh, PA
Pontifical North American College
IV Theology
Home Parish: Assumption Parish

About Deacon Alek:

On September 29, 2016, I was ordained a deacon at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. I enjoy photography, hiking, and spending time outdoors. I have played the Great Highland Bagpipes since I was 12 years old. I speak Italian, can compose in written Ancient Greek and Latin, and am learning Latin as a spoken language. I have two brothers: Maxwell and Ian. I attended Duquesne University and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor of arts in philosophy and classical languages. I am currently in my fourth year of theological studies at the Pontifical North American College, Rome.

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Kristian Sherman

Butler, PA
Saint Vincent Seminary
I Theology
Home Parish: Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen Parish

About Kristian:

I graduated from Duquesne University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In my free time, I like to read biographies of former presidents, ride my bike, golf, and fish. I enjoy cooking for other people and always appreciate a good coffee. I love spending time adoring the Blessed Sacrament. I am currently in my first year theological studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.

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Jordan Sonnett

Beaver Falls, PA
Saint Vincent Seminary
II Theology
Home Parish: Saint Monica Parish

About Jordan:

In 2013, I graduated from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. I played basketball in high school and Ultimate Frisbee in college. I once spent my summer with a missionary group walking across New England. I am currently reading through the Summa Theologica. I have three older siblings. I am currently in my second year of theological studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.

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Joseph Uzar

Carnegie, PA
Saint Vincent Seminary
I Theology
Home Parish: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

About Joe:

I am the first person in my family to pursue a religious vocation. I have two younger siblings. I enjoy spending time relaxing with my family and friends, and talking about what is new in their lives. I love trying unique restaurants and sampling different kinds of food. In Fall 2012, I was accepted into the priestly formation program to begin studies at Saint Paul Seminary and Duquesne University. I am currently in my first year theological studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.

Deacon Daniel Waruszewski

Pittsburgh, PA
Theological College, Washington, DC
IV Theology
Home Parish: Saint Teresa of Avila Parish

About Deacon Dan:

On June 25, 2016, I was ordained to the diaconate at St. Paul Cathedral. I have traveled to Patzun, Guatemala for ten mission trips. There, I helped Franciscan sisters with their school and orphanage; worked with the indigenous population; and learned Spanish in order to communicate.  I am an avid cyclist and have biked twice from Pittsburgh to DC.  I have two brothers: Robert and Thomas. I graduated from St. Vincent College, Latrobe, in 2009 with a bachelor of science in computing and informational systems. I am currently in my fourth year of theological studies at Theological College and The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

FR. JOE FREEDY'S VOCATION STORY

Click play to watch Fr. Joe Freedy tell his vocation story.

BISHOP ZUBIK'S VOCATION STORY

Click play to watch Bishop Zubik tell his vocation story.

FR. JAY DONAHUE'S VOCATION STORY

Click play to watch Fr. Jay Donahue tell his vocation story.

FR. TOM KUNZ'S VOCATION STORY

Click play to watch Fr. Tom Kunz tell his vocation story.

2016 ORDINATION VIDEO

Click play to watch the 2016 Ordination video.