Joseph Connor

Theology III
Mount St. Mary's Seminary
Virginia Tech
St. Rita Parish

What did you do prior to entering seminary?

I am returning to seminary after leaving for a few years. I entered seminary the first time directly after graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After leaving seminary and before re-entering, I worked construction as a roofer and later as a home remodeler renovating kitchens and bathrooms.

What influenced your decision to apply for seminary entrance?

I learned how to pray in a consistent manner in college. Through daily prayer, I learned how to hear the voice of God within me and slowly realized that I have a deep desire to be a priest. With the help of spiritual directors, I was able to discern that this desire is likely the foundation of a call to the priesthood. Also, my friends and family expressed that they have seen in my service to others a possible calling to the priesthood.

Why do you want to be a priest?

I want to serve the people of God so that they may receive the Sacraments, learn to pray, and fall in love with God. Ultimately, I want them to be joyful in this life and happy in heaven for eternity. Priests have such a privilege in directing people to God and to heaven; I cannot imagine not wanting to become a priest. 

What are your favorite pastimes?

I enjoy hiking, swimming, playing tennis, and camping. Mostly, I just enjoy spending time with my friends. I also enjoy reading books on philosophy and theology along with classic works of literature.

What is your favorite quote?

“I feel that even if I had on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Savior. I know how He loves the Prodigal Son. I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalene, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love.” - St. Therese of Lisieux

Who is your favorite Saint and why?

St. Therese, who I quoted above, is my favorite saint because she has helped me to develop a deep sense of the goodness of God. Through her writings on the mercy and love of God, I have grown in confidence and love of God and discovered that the Christian life can be lived in joy.

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

Take action. Discernment is a process made from experiences, not from imaginings. If you want to discover what God has in store for your life, you have to be willing to pursue your desires and take risks. Seminary is a place where the men who enter are still discerning; thus, they can leave after entering. Whether men leave or stay in seminary, they are taking risks and taking actions that allow them to discover their vocation. If you feel a desire to become a priest, seminary is a place where you can receive the experience that allows you to discern.