Alex Solsma

Theology II
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
The University of Iowa 
The Basilica of Saint Mary

What did you do prior to entering seminary? 

I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2011 with Bachelors' Degrees in Political Science, Journalism and Mass Communications. For six years, I was a news and sports broadcaster at some radio stations in Iowa and Wisconsin. I did reporting, anchored news and sports shows, provided play-by-play for high school and small college games, and covered the Green Bay Packers. From 2018-2021, I served as the Director of Communications and Evangelization at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Alexandria, Virginia. 

What influenced your decision to apply for seminary entrance? 

There has been an interior draw to the priesthood that has steadily risen in intensity when I have frequented the Sacraments, spent time with our Lord in silence and worked for the Church. When I have been attentive and receptive to God's subtle promptings, they seem to keep pointing in this direction.

I spent three semesters in seminary for a different diocese, but chose to withdraw from formation. The years away from formation have given me a lot of clarity, confidence, and peace about moving forward again with formation. 

It has been a tremendous blessing to live and work in the Diocese of Arlington. I am glad God brought me here and, God willing, I look forward to serving as a priest here someday.

Why do you want to be a priest? 

There are many reasons, but I think the biggest reason is to be able to offer the Sacraments. 

What are your favorite pastimes? 

Spending time with family and friends, reading, running, cycling, going to sporting events (college football and basketball are my favorite), traveling, visiting churches and historic sites, and watching classic movies.

What is your favorite quote? 

“There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears. Although you have never seen him, you love him, and without seeing you now believe in him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith's goal, your salvation.” - 1 Peter 1:6-9

Who is your favorite Saint and why? 

It is too difficult to pick just one Saint. I have a special interest in the twentieth century Saints because they seem so accessible and we are not far removed from them; we can watch video of them, listen to audio of their voices, etc. Of those, I am particularly drawn to Venerable Fulton Sheen, Saint John Paul II, Blessed Stanley Rother, Venerable Pius XII, and Servant of God Emil Kapaun.

Other favorites from earlier eras include Saint Peter, Saint Junipero Serra, Saint Paul Miki, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, and Blessed Michael McGivney.  I also have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Sorrows.  

What advice would you give to a young man thinking about the seminary? 

Pope Francis gave some solid advice during his weekly general audience on March 26, 2014: “The Lord calls each one who wants to become a priest. This is an initiative which the Lord takes. The Lord calls. He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests. Perhaps there are some young men present here who have heard this call in their hearts, the aspiration to become a priest, the desire to serve others in the things of God, the desire to spend one's entire life in service in order to catechize, baptize, forgive, celebrate the Eucharist, heal the sick... the whole of one's life in this way. If some of you have heard this call in your heart, it is Jesus who has placed it there. Pay attention to this invitation and pray that it might grow and bear fruit for the whole Church.”

Any other facts about yourself that people might find interesting?

I am a huge college football fan and love to travel to games, particularly involving the Iowa Hawkeyes. Nothing beats a gameday environment on a college campus - the traditions, the rivalries, the passion, the pageantry, the bands, and of course the game itself. I have been to 45 different NCAA Division I stadiums and add more new stadiums each fall.