Why young US-based Pinoys joined seminary

by Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Apr 04 2015 03:32 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2015 11:32 PM

MENLO PARK, California -- Victor Trinidad was born and raised in San Jose, California, while Francis Kalaw just recently moved to the Bay Area from the Philippines two years ago.

These 27-year olds are not like any other young Pinoys.

They have decided to take one step closer to priesthood by attending attending St. Patrick's Seminary and University in Menlo Park.

While they share a common ambition, these friends come from different backgrounds.

Kalaw grew up in the Philippines and knew since high school that he was going to join the seminary.

"Of course, I did not force myself into it but I think I’ve seen that quality in me through my prayers, my discernment that priesthood is something I could really pursue," he said.

Trinidad says that while he considered priesthood at an early age, he initially wanted to do other things.

"At that time I was graduating with a degree in computer science. I had a girlfriend so I was dating. And I had this whole plan set out. And to have this sudden change of course was difficult... I felt that deeper calling to help people personally, to reach out to people spiritually and connect with people through the church. And so that was something I had to explore," Trinidad said.

Kalaw agrees that a life of celibacy requires sacrifices but he feels it's all worth it in the end.

"I may not have children but I will have spiritual children and to belong to a bigger, spiritual family is very satisfying and something beautiful," he said.

Kalaw and Trinidad say Pope Francis has become an inspiration to them and have re-enforced their decision to become priests.

"God bless Pope Francis. He’s doing a great job. He’s setting the example for all of us, not just priests and seminarians but for all of us to reach out and love the poor with the message of the gospel and bring it to them," Trinidad said.

"I think the Pope has a way of telling people he wants to encounter them and we are becoming a church that encounters these people and really living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Kalaw added.

These seminarians understand that the life of a priest or nun may not be for every young person but they could inspire others to go above and beyond in practicing their faith.

"The most important thing is for us not to be afraid. If we are not afraid, we could surpass all the hesitations or doubts about ourselves and by taking a kind of leap of faith is something really valuable and relevant in today’s time," Kalaw said.

"This message of success in your head about making money or that idea that’s put in us – dig deeper and find that inner calling of God telling you where you can best use your gifts for the service of others," Trinidad said.

Read more on Balitang America.