Where are you from?
I am from Woodstock, Ontario, where I was born in 1994. I come from a large Catholic family – I have six younger siblings – and apart from a few years of public school, I was homeschooled for most of my life. My family was amazing, bringing me to the sacraments, Catechism classes, and retreats designed to introduce me to a relationship with Christ early on.
When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?
Since the age of seven I wanted to imitate my favourite saints, like Isaac Jogues, Francis Xavier, and Edmund Campion. They were all priests who went on epic exploits to spread the Gospel. However, this didn’t stop me from wanting to be several other things. When I was really little, I wanted to be a “Kratt Brother” from the TV show “Kratt’s Creatures,” and I was really disappointed when my parents burst that bubble. I also wanted to be an author, as I loved writing stories. In high school I even dabbled with the idea of being a lawyer after I got a taste of the “thrill” of the courtroom while cross-examining a witness in my law class’ mock trial. My team won by the way, just saying.
What was your background before you joined the Companions of the Cross?
After high school I went to a small, liberal arts university in Barry’s Bay ON, called “Our Lady Seat of Wisdom”. I attended the school for two years, and it was an awesome experience making a lot of really great Catholic friends while receiving an outstanding Catholic education.
What are your special interests?
I really like to write stories for fun – usually fantasy or historical fiction. Hand in hand with this is my love of reading, and I think my favourite book is “Father Elijah” by Michael O’Brien. I could play volleyball for hours, and recently I’ve been getting into racquetball as well. I love hanging out with friends, and an ideal night for me would be going out with a bunch of friends to swim in a lake somewhere and then have a bonfire that goes really late.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Two people come to mind. Firstly, my patron, St. Edmund Campion, who is basically the priest-version of Robin Hood. He lived during the persecution of Catholics in England under Queen Elizabeth I. After converting from Anglicanism and abandoning a life of ease and power, he was secretly ordained a priest in Ireland. He was smuggled back into England and using secrecy and various disguises, he traveled around England giving the sacraments to the persecuted Catholics. Eventually he was betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and despite being tortured and imprisoned, he continued to defeat his opponents in live apologetics debates – resulting in the remainder of his trials being conducted in private. Eventually, he was hung, drawn, and quartered for refusing to abandon the Faith. One day, I wish to emulate his same passion and boldness in my own priesthood, God-willing.
I am also inspired by the life of William Wilberforce, who after his conversion to Christ, became one of the main abolitionists of the slave trade in England. Despite repeated failures and at great personal cost, he never lost his faith and he continued to fight for the rights of the slaves until the “Slavery Abolition Act” was passed. He died three days after seeing this life-long work of his accomplished. His resolve to keep fighting for a seemingly hopeless cause in the face of huge opposition and even misunderstanding by those closest to him is truly inspiring to me.
What led you to join the Companions of the Cross? Could you briefly explain your vocations story?
My call to the priesthood started very young. I met the Companions of the Cross at the age of nine when Fr. Tim Devine ran a mission at my parish. I was so impressed by the fact that he was blind, and he was so engaging in both his preaching and leading praise and worship. After the mission, I eagerly ran up to him and introduced myself, rambling on and on about how I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. He encouraged me, and said “You will become a priest one day.” He then told me more about the Companions, and my interest in the community was kindled.
Later, at the ripe old age of ten, I decided that the Companions of the Cross was where I thought God was calling me to serve as a priest. I still have the journal entry that I penned, Oct. 22, 2004 (original spelling for your entertainment, and my humility).
“Hi God, its me again. I haven’t wrote to you in a whole year. I just decided to become a priest in the Companions of the Cross! I decided that because of 2 reasons. Number 1 My mother said that they are a realy fun order. Number 2 I met 2 preists from their order Fr. Tim Devine who was the first preist from their order I met, and Fr. Rob.”
I then proceeded to seal the deal by sending them a generous donation of $1.50 which I had earned doing chores around the house, complete with a hand-drawn picture and letter.
I maintained my love for the Companions and learned more about them as I grew older. I was drawn to their spirituality, their mission, their community life, and the approachability of all the Companion priests I met as I grew up. My call to the priesthood stayed with me at varying levels of strength throughout high school and my two years of university. I then applied and was accepted. Since then, I have realized that the Companions of the Cross spirituality and mission fits me like a glove, and I hope to one day serve God forever as a Companions of the Cross priest.