Twenty-one men are in formation for the Priesthood in the Diocese of Raleigh, enrolled at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. The group includes eight seminarians new to the program, including a former firefighter, a construction project manager, and a university swimming and diving coach.
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and Diocesan Vocations Director Father Ned Shlesinger with 21 seminarians enrolled in Diocesan Formation Program.
Meet the New Seminarians
Steven G. Cartwright
For the last six years, Steven Cartwright, 31, served as coach of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. A native of Maine, Mr. Cartwright has a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Catholic University of America (2001). At CUA, he studied with three Diocese of Raleigh Priests; Father Philip Tighe, Father Dan Oschwald, and Father Greg Lowchy. He is in 2nd year Pre-Theology.
Mr. Cartwright says his inspiration for the Priesthood comes from his parents and the many priests who give of their hearts to listen, encourage and serve as great examples of what a priest should be. To the question of what advice he would offer a person who thinks he might have a vocation, Mr. Cartwright says, “Persevere in your prayer life and stay close to the Sacraments as well as the Blessed Mother through the daily Rosary. Also, pray for courage to answer God’s call.” He adds, “We don’t have a shortage of vocations. We have a shortage of courage.”
Favorite Scripture passages: John 11:35 and John 16:33.
Favorite Saints: Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint Damien of Molokai.
Hobbies: Listening to music, watching college football, basketball and swimming.
John Kane, 21, is entering his 3rd Year College. The son of Mr. and Mrs. David Kane of Raleigh, he is one of six children. Mr. Kane attended Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte for two years, after graduating from Saint Thomas More Academy in Raleigh. He is one of three seminarians who are graduates of the independent Catholic high school, joining Jonathon Baggett and Michael Schuetz in the formation program.
Mr. Kane says in discerning his vocation, he was inspired by a college friend who encouraged him to enter the seminary.
Favorite Saints: Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Paul.
Hobbies: Golf, drawing and soccer.
Tom Duggan, 41, is in his 2nd Year Theology, transferring from the formation program in the Diocese of Cleveland. Mr. Duggan received a B.A. in English from Hillsdale College and a M.A. in English from Oakland University. Prior to entering the seminary, he worked as a technical writer.
Mr. Duggan says his inspiration for the Priesthood came from Pope John Paul II, his parents and holy priests he has met. Asked what he would tell a person interested in discerning a call to Priesthood, Mr. Duggan says he would note that “The men who make the best priests are those who would also make good husbands and fathers. Have a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. She will help keep you close to Christ because she loved Him the most.”
Favorite Scripture passage: Mathew 6:34
Favorite Saint: The Virgin Mary
Hobbies: Walking, hiking current events, good literature
Marlon Anibal Mendieta Rodas
Inspired by Father Tim Meares, Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Rocky Mount, and Father Rafael Leon-Valencia, Pastor of Saint Joseph Church in Burgaw, Marion Anibal Mendieta Rodas is entering his 1st Year College at St. Charles Borromeo. Mr. Mendieta, 18, came to know both Diocesan priests, as pastors of his home parish of Transfiguration Church in Wallace. Transfiguration is a mission church of Saint Joseph.
The oldest of three children of parents Saul Gomez and Danira Mendieta, Mr. Mendieta graduated Wallace Rose-Hill High School in June. He recommends that any person discerning a vocation should pray constantly, speak with his priest and attend the Diocesan discernment group meetings.
Favorite Scripture passage: Jeremiah 29:11
Hobbies: Soccer and soccer on Playstation
Brian K. Wright
Brian Wright, 44, enters seminary as a 3rd year College student. For the past 25 years, he has worked in the residential construction industry. A graduate of Cape Fear Community college in Wilmington, with an Associate Degree in Arts Pre-Psychology, Mr. Wright says his vocation was inspired by Father Tim Meares, whom he came to know when Father Meares was Pastor at St. Joseph Church. “Father Meares showed me how to surrender my will to the will of God and to trust in His love and mercy.” Mr. Wright adds, “I encourage any person who is searching for God’s will to spend time in adoration and to listen to what God is asking you to do.”
Favorite Scripture passage: Psalm 51
Favorite Saint: Saint Rita of Cascia
Hobbies: Snow and water skiing, camping, mountain climbing, golf and tennis.
Timothy Ahn, 23, is entering his 1st Year Theology. One of two children born to Min Song and Shin Jong Ahn, Mr. Ahn earned a B.A. degree in Biblical Studies from Biola University in California and a Master of Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School.
Mr. Ahn says his inspiration for the Priesthood took shape through the cumulative example of the many excellent priests serving in the Diocese of Raleigh, and through the personal influence of Monsignor John Williams, his pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh. “His (Monsignor Williams’) personal holiness and his love for his parishioners have served as a compelling witness for me as to the beauty of the priestly vocation,” Mr. Ahn said.
Favorite Scripture passage: John 6: 68-69
Favorite Saint: The Virgin Mary and Saint John Vianney
Hobbies: Reading, writing, being with friends and an occasional video game.
A former firefighter in Norfolk, Virginia, James Magee, 24, is entering his 1st Year Pre-Theology. Upon graduation from high school, Mr. Magee attended Elizabeth City State University, where he credits Father James Buchholz, Pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Elizabeth City, with inspiring him to enter the seminary. He also credits his parents, James and Blanche Magee and two of his aunts, Sister Margaret Magee, O.S.F. and Sister Helen Roberts, O.S.F.
Favorite Scripture passage: 1Peter 4:10
Favorite Saints: Saint Florian and Saint Joseph
Hobbies: Softball, baseball, football and visiting historic sites
A graduate of Mt. Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, Myles Casanova, 22, attended North Carolina State University. The son of the late Angel and Adele Casanova, Mr. Casanova says all of the holy men who have sacrificed their lives for Jesus and His Church through His Priesthood provided inspiration in his ongoing discernment. “During this time, I have also been influenced by Monsignor John Williams, my pastor at Saint Joseph Church, and Pope Benedict XVI.”
Favorite Scripture passage: “Matthew 16: 24-26 is important to me.”
Favorite Saints: Saint Patrick, Saint Augustine, Saint Francis among others.
Hobbies: Aikido, the trombone and reading.
The new eight seminarians join the 13 already in formation:
- Deacon Brendan Buckler – 4th Year Theology
- Don Maloney – 3rd Year Theology
- Nick Cottrill – 2nd Year Theology
- Michael Burbeck – 2nd Year Theology
- Ryan Elder – 2nd Year Theology
- Ramon Garcia – 2nd Year Pre-Theology
- Philip Johnson – 2nd Year Pre-Theology
- Phil List – 2nd Year Pre-Theology
- Rob Schmid – 2nd Year Pre-Theology
- Ian Van Heusen – 2nd Year Pre-Theology
- Jonathon Baggett – 4th Year College
- Michael Schuetz – 3rd Year College
- Edisson Urrego – 3rd Year College
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge requests the faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh to pray for our seminarians by name.
Diocesan Prayer for Vocations
Father, in your plan for our salvation
You provide shepherds for Your people.
Fill Your Church with the spirit
of courage and love.
Give the Church more Priests,
Worthy ministers for Your altars and ardent
but gentle servants of the Gospel.
Grant also to us an increase
in vocations to the Religious Life.
May more of Your people respond to Your call
in a spirit of joyful generosity.
May they serve Your people with love
by following in the footsteps of Christ Your Son
and provide by their way of life
a convincing sign of Your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.