Daniel Mendonsa

 First year applicant

Become a Priest

Where are you from?

I was born the youngest of 3 kids and raised in Mississauga. When I was in high school, I moved with my family to Waterloo where my parents still reside.
I was raised in the Catholic faith by my parents, and my grandparents whom always emphasized to us the necessity of prayer, going to Sunday mass, and the rosary.

When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

When I was a child I always dreamt of becoming a firefighter and would often ask my parents to drive by the fire station to see the flashing lights of the trucks, and even had my birthday party there when I was young.

What was your background before you joined the Companions of the Cross?

During high school I was in the Army cadet program. When I graduated from high school, I decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces as a Combat Engineering Officer in 2014.

I began my military career at the Collège Militare Royal de Saint-Jean in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (CMRSJ) and graduated in may 2015, and completed my basic training in august 2015. I was then sent to the Royal Military College Of Canada (RMC) in Kingston and completed my degree in general science in May of 2020. During university, I often ventured to the Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University and eventually came together with other catholics at RMC to start our own catholic group on campus.

I transferred from the Army to the Air force, in 2020, to become an aerospace telecommunications and information system technician and was promoted to the rank of Corporal. I completed my trade training at the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston. I was posted to Canadian Forces Station Leitrim in 2022, where I worked as a member in the service desk shop until my departure from the military in June of 2023.

What are your special interests?

I love playing sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer and racquet sports. I especially enjoyed spending time outdoors and going camping. My desire grew more in high school as I got the opportunity to do more outback camping, portaging, trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing and dog sledding trips in Algonquin and Banff National park.

Who, or what, inspires you?

After graduating from university, I moved into a Catholic men’s house where our patron was Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He has been a great inspiration to me, especially at very crucial moments in my discernment.

I would model my life after Pier Giorgio, being a young man himself, I was immediately drawn to him as a model of authentic Catholic masculinity and learned from him how to serve the Lord in my state in life. I learned how to be a witness to the faith, in all aspects of my life from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed.

I wanted to model my spiritual life after him, starting with a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He would then go out and share it, through forming catechism groups with his friends. He also lived out his faith by performing the corporal works of mercy, namely serving the poor, whom he would frequently aid during his life by giving up his money and the clothes off of his back.
Blessed Pier Giorgio is known for his motto ‘Verso l’alto’ which means To The Heights. This quote is attributed to his climbing adventures that he would take in the Alps after receiving the Eucharist, but is also interpreted as our constant desire to strive for holiness in life. He is known as the man of beatitudes as he gives us an example of how to climb the mountain of the Lord and to serve him by living out the beatitudes.

What led you to join the Companions of the Cross? Could you briefly explain your vocations story?

Growing up I was always told that they saw the role of the priesthood in me, as I had 2 uncles that were priests in my family. I would often enjoy spending time with them during my vacation at their parishes. As I began high school, I never practiced my faith more than just going to Sunday mass and only praying when I needed something.
There was always a desire for a community in my life and in working together as a team to accomplish a common goal. That is how I gravitated towards the military. I saw that even in tough situations where you would fail on your own, you were able to overcome them because you worked as a team.

But I could see there was still something missing, I continued to live out my Catholic faith and drew into it more as a motivation to get through the rigorous military training. But, it always took a backseat when it came to how I practiced it and lived it out.

That’s when I met members of the Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy from Queen’s University at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston after mass one Sunday.

I had found what I had been looking for all this time! Young people that practiced the faith and had a true desire to love the Lord.

I was looking for a community like this my entire life, but never knew where I could find it. I didn’t realize that such a group existed and thought that young people that fervently practiced the faith were just a dream.

I journeyed with these new found Catholic friends of mine to go Duc in Altum (into the deep) in discovering the faith. I decided to move into a Catholic men’s house called Frassati house, which was my seminary before the seminary. I started to learn how to live a life in community with my catholic brothers and how the word of God can flow out through us into the world if we make a strong foundation in building up in relationship with my fellow brothers.

As my service to the military came to its final years, I finally Gave God Permission in my call, and I rediscovered the call of the priesthood, the very same one that I did as a child.

It was God’s grace that I found the Companions of the Cross. I decided to join once I finished my military service, and I would journey side-by-side to discern the call to the priesthood with my fellow brother seminarians and learn more about the vocation of the priesthood with my brother priests by living out community, joy and faith in the diocesan life.

Verso l’alto

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