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Men to be ordained find freedom, grace in answering God’s call

During a 10 a.m. Mass May 17 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver, Archbishop Samuel Aquila will ordain four men to the priesthood. Short bios of the men, who have served as deacons since March 2013 in their final year of priesthood formation, follow.

Deacon Warli de Araujo Castro
Deacon Warli de Araujo Castro, 33, has a missioner’s heart.

He said he entered the seminary to give his life entirely to God “and especially (to answer) the missionary call to go anywhere in the world bringing the good news of Christ.”

Born in Campina Grande in northeast Brazil and reared in Brasilia, the capital, Deacon Castro has been in formation at the international Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary, located at the St. John Paul II Center. While the men at Redemptoris Mater are in formation to serve the Denver Archdiocese, they also receive missionary training and are willing to be sent anywhere in the world at the archbishop’s discretion.

“I want to serve the people and look for the lost sheep,” Deacon Castro said. “As Pope Francis said, we have to go out and look for the lost ones and announce the love of God.”

Before entering the seminary, Deacon Castro earned a degree in electronics in Brasilia in 2003 and worked in telecommunications. He likes to read, play the guitar and listen to Gregorian chant, classical and Brazilian music.

A member of the Neocatechumenal Way, a parish-based catechumenate that aims to bring people to mature Christian faith, he found support for his call to the priesthood from his parents and his Way community.

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He said he felt a call to the priesthood as a child.

“Since a young age, I saw how priests give their entire lives to the service of the Lord, and I was very much attracted to that,” he said. “I feel a great sense of gratefulness toward the Lord and to his Church for this great gift.”

Deacon Joseph Daniel Doman
Deacon Joseph “Joe” Doman, 29, found freedom in giving his life to Christ.

“There is a tremendous freedom and joy that comes from giving your life away irrevocably, from not having any more options,” he said. “Giving your life away irrevocably seems to be the opposite of freedom: being chained to one something until death. But the reality is that this gift of self is the fulfillment of freedom. I’ve never felt more free in my life.”

Born in Collegeville, Pa., Deacon Doman grew up in Collegeville and New Jersey. In 2007 he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. His first job brought him to Denver to serve as director of student activities at Bishop Machebeuf High School. He has been in formation at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary at the St. John Paul II Center since 2008.

He enjoys playing sports, especially basketball, and playing the guitar and piano.

Deacon Doman said he’s thrilled to finally be approaching his priesthood ordination.

“I have been in seminary for six years, which is longer than I have been anywhere since I was in high school. But God didn’t call me to be a seminarian. He called me to be a priest. So I am excited to be finally entering into that vocation and to serve the people of God in that way.”

Deacon Nathan Andrew Goebel
What Deacon Nathan Goebel, 31, is most looking forward to about the priesthood is … being a priest.

“Not just doing priestly things but being a priest,” he said. “I’m sure that many people would echo that in married life … there is a lot that they are looking forward to but I think the best part would be just being with someone. Being with Christ, being Christ in the priesthood … yeah, probably that.”

Born in Mount Zion, Ill., Deacon Goebel earned a degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2005. He then served as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) campus missionary two years before entering the Denver Archdiocese’s St. John Vianney Theological Seminary.

He likes “chewing the fat” with friends and fly-fishing. He’s also been a popular podcaster with Denver priest Father John Nepil for “Catholic Stuff You Should Know,” which they’ve also presented for Theology on Tap lectures.

What kept him close to God growing up, was being an altar server at Mass.

“Having closeness to the Mass has kept me close to the Lord’s heart in good times and in bad,” he asserted.

So how does he feel now that he’ll soon be celebrating the Mass as a priest?

“In short, pretty nervous,” he said. “I guess that is the way I always feel before going on a roller coaster. There is the long line, the anticipation, you see other people before you in line go first; you have an idea of what its going to be like. Then suddenly I’m next in line and I’m a little tense. This moment in time, the ordination, is the beginning of a new kind of ministry; yet, the adventure of following Christ began at baptism. This is just another twist and turn in the wonder that is the will of God.”

Deacon Jason Frederick Wunsch
Convert to Catholicism Deacon Jason Frederick Wunsch, 36, sees his upcoming priesthood ordination as the fulfillment of God’s vision for him conceived when he was but a thought in the Almighty’s mind.

“I believe that God has, in a certain sense, called me to be a priest from before I was born,” he said. “So, to only definitively discern that call at age 28 and then to have to wait over seven years (in seminary formation) to seal that calling, makes me deeply content and amazed that an end and a beginning are actually here.”

Born and reared in Boulder, Deacon Wunsch earned two bachelor’s degrees—in Spanish and history—from his hometown’s University of Colorado. He entered the Catholic Church at age 20.

A spiritual director had told him that if he was radically open to whatever God would call him to and were living a life of prayer, God could speak a definitive word and change his life. During Lent 2006 he felt God might be calling him to the priesthood, so he asked God for confirmation and got it the next day both in prayer and at Mass.

“It certainly does not take God long to act when he wants to!” Deacon Wunsch said.

A runner, he speaks Spanish and loves Latino culture.

Although he was somewhat fearful prior to his ordination to the diaconate to make a lifelong commitment of prayer, obedience, simplicity and celibacy, his diaconal experience the last year has him confident and eager for his upcoming priestly ministry.

“I am more excited to have the ability to minister in a new way through hearing confessions and celebrating Mass,” Deacon Wunsch said. “I know this is an incredible responsibility, but having also experienced the providence of God through ministering as a deacon when I have trusted him, I fully believe that he who has called me, will provide everything I need to respond to his calling by his grace.”

Roxanne King
Roxanne King
Roxanne King is the former editor of the Denver Catholic Register and a freelance writer in the Denver area.

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