“The priesthood kept calling me. I knew it was my first love.”

Meet Sebastian Aristizabal

While a calling to the priesthood is unique for each person, the outcome is the same for all – a life of service to Christ through a vocation to the priesthood. These men come from all different backgrounds, walks of life, upbringings and places round the world. St. Mary’s, in Baltimore, Maryland, has become the home to our seminarians from the Diocese of Buffalo discerning a calling to the priesthood. This seminary, the oldest in the United States, educates and forms these men helping them on their journey to discern if the priesthood is what Christ is truly calling them to.

Sebastian grew up in Columbia in what he considered a typical family. His calling came very early as a young child and began with his family life. His grandmother, in particular, would take him to Mass, attend Church services with him and they would pray the rosary together! When anyone would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would always respond with great enthusiasm, ”I’m going to be a priest!”

Coming from a small rural town in Columbia, Sebastian was raised in a loving home. His mother was a lawyer and his father a farmer. “I love everything about my hometown! The farmers, the cows, the countryside and the coffee, of course!” Sebastain came from what he considered an normal Catholic family attending a Catholic elementary school as well as a Catholic high school. Right after high school he entered the highest form of seminary in Columbia but, after a few years, decided to step aside to attend the University of Columbia earning masters degree in addiction. For several years he worked in this field counseling young people between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. Though he loved this ministry, the priesthood was quietly calling and waiting for him to return. As he emphatically stated, “It was my first love!”

Sebastian decided to take a sabbatical to reflect more on where his life journey would take him and visited his brother in Buffalo, New York. While spending time in Buffalo, the gentle calling continued and he decided to apply to the Diocese of Buffalo. He was accepted and his formation began soon after at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York. He attended this seminary for several years however, when it closed, he continued his formation and discernment at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sebastian loved the time he spent at Christ the King Seminary but feels that St. Mary’s Seminary, attracting seminarians from round the world, has been a rich experience. “At St. Mary’s, I have had the privilege of experiencing so many men with entirely different backgrounds and points of view. You really get a more global perspective.”

When asked about the challenges in seminary, Sebastian said, like everyone there have been a few. Some spiritual and some due to the era in which we are living. However, he stated that the kindness and support he received at St. Mary’s was wonderful. When asked about taking the next step this June and becoming an ordained priest, Sebastian said with all the enthusiasm in the world, “I am so excited about taking the next step! I am ready to be a priest!”

Thank you for supporting our beautiful seminarians. Your generous gift helps men like Sebastian and so many others called to the priesthood. Please remember all our seminarians, past, present and future, with your prayers as well. They are ever so grateful to you for all you do. Please know that your generous donation which will assist in supporting our seminarians that are studying and discerning at St. Mary’s Seminary.

Prayer for Vocations

Almighty Father, You have created for us some definite purpose. Grant us the grace to know the path You have planned for us in this life and to respond with a generous “Yes.” Make our diocese, parishes, homes and hearts fruitful ground for Your gift of vocations – Amen.