Ryan Farrell

Mount St. Mary's Seminary
Pre-Theology I
James Madison University
St. Louis Parish

What did you do prior to entering seminary? 

I served as the Director of Youth Formation for a year at St. Louis Parish in Alexandria. Before that I was the Assistant Director of Religious Education at the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria. Prior to that I completed a two-year MA in Theology with a focus on the New Evangelization at the Augustine Institute in Denver. Before that I worked as a mobile app tester at Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna for over two years, and for a few years before that worked in the IT contracting industry around town. 

What influenced your decision to apply for seminary entrance?

The witness, counsel, and friendship of many priests, religious, and seminarians. And the continuing call to follow Christ that has radiated from my prayer. 

Why do you want to be a priest?

I want to share the love of Christ and His Church with the world. I want to be a beacon of light and hope to those in need of the saving message of the Gospel, and a witness to the beauty, truth, and goodness of life in a culture that so often sees people as objects and truth as relative. 

What are your favorite pastimes?

Playing or watching tennis with my dad, going for a run or bike ride, camping, hiking, traveling, reading, listening to or playing music/guitar, and anything involving a frisbee.

What is your favorite quote?

“In His will is our peace.” -- Dante Alighieri

Who is your favorite Saint and why?

St. Augustine, because he pursued truth (or, more accurately, was open to the Truth) and explained what previous philosophers got close to figuring out - that we are most happy (have lasting joy) when we come to know, love, and serve God. His writings burn with love for Christ, and this love inspires me to ever more intensely unite myself to our Lord in His passion, death, and resurrection. 

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

Don't be afraid to tell others, but only those in whom you trust. Some people are quick to critique and slow to encourage. Find a good spiritual director and start being practical/intentional about how to grow in faith, virtue, and prayer. Entrust your vocation to Christ, the Blessed Mother, and/or a patron saint. God is in control and so long as you work on growing in holiness, He will lead you where He wants you. Pray, hope, and don't overthink it. Seminary is just another step in the process of discerning the priesthood. If He has placed it on your heart, wrestle with it in prayer and if given peace thinking about life as a seminarian, embrace it - talk to Fr. Isenberg or sign up for a seminary visit. Or talk to one of us - we're here for you!