Three men from three ethnic backgrounds will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Denver this week. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM. Cap., will lay hands upon Deacons Kevin Augustyn, José Sáenz, and Joseph Tran May 22.
The mass will begin at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver. Auxiliary Bishop José Gomez, archdiocesan priests, deacons, religious men and women, brother seminarians, friends, family, and lay faithful will join the three candidates in prayer and celebration.
With diverse backgrounds and distinct stories of vocation to the priesthood, the three candidates together embody the universal nature of the Catholic Church.
Deacon Kevin Augustyn, 27, grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After graduating from Fort Wayne's Bishop Dwenger High School, he studied theology and philosophy at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He recalls first seriously discerning a religious vocation during his sophomore year in college, which led him to Denver in 1999 to study for the priesthood.
Deacon José Sáenz, 42, spent the early part of his life in El Paso, Texas, where he was raised by his parents, Mexican immigrants. He attended college in Santa Fe, where he graduated with a pastoral studies degree in 1998. Deacon Sáenz remembers detecting a vocation to the priesthood first during his senior year of high school. However, he admits putting off the calling until World Youth Day 1993, when he "finally got the courage to answer God's call."
Deacon Joseph Tran, 34, is a native of Vietnam, where he lived for 16 years before his family emigrated in 1985. Deacon Tran says he discovered his vocation at age 10. As a boy, he memorized the mass and would “celebrate” it, using bath towels for vestments and enlisting his sister, nieces, and nephews for altar servers, lectors, a choir, and the congregation. He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the Dominican order before taking four years off to further discern his vocation. He determined the priesthood was his true calling and began studying anew for the Archdiocese of Denver.
The three ordinands are alumni of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.