The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, California
Office of Vocations - 2110 Broadway - Sacramento, CA 95818 -

Category: Uncategorized

Warren Smith and Fr. Chase invite you to the Collar Cup!

On July 1st at Papa Murphy Park in Sacramento, our priests and seminarians will meet each other on the soccer field in the first ever Collar Cup! While this author may have some bias (go sems!), the afternoon promises to be fun, faith-filled, and and exciting. Join special guest Fr. Chase Hilgenbrinck for Mass with a blessing of athletes. The priests vs. sems soccer match will follow. Stay after the Collar Cup match for a professional game featuring the Sacramento Republic and the San Antonio FC.

Check out the following videos from Sacramento Republic owner Warren Smith and Fr. Chase himself!

For tickets and more information, visit the Collar Cup website or call the Office of Vocations at 916-733-0258.

Introduction from Warren Smith:

Invitation from Fr. Chase Hilgenbrinck:



Evacuation, Restoration, and the Holy Spirit: An Extraordinary Pastoral Internship Year

St. Joseph Parish, Marysville (Photo Credit:

Somewhere behind the clouds on the morning of February 12, the sun rose to open the Lord’s Day in Yuba City.  As we neared the midpoint of the shortest month, my pastoral internship year at St. Isidore the Farmer Parish was looking like it would finish out as a normal year of gaining experience in a Catholic parish.  Then, while I was serving as an acolyte at the Sunday evening Mass, the parish received word that the Oroville Dam was expecting an imminent collapse, and that an evacuation had been ordered in neighboring Marysville (home to the Diocese’ first cathedral).

We interrupted the homily to inform parishioners, and within the hour my indefatigable Nissan Sentra had joined the stream of Yuba City evacuees in bumper-to-bumper traffic that clogged Highway 99.  The parish had been safely closed down, and so had the possibility of a ‘normal’ pastoral year experience.


We are all grateful that God has so far protected the areas downstream of Lake Oroville.  And I am personally grateful for the opportunity to serve in a parish facing an unexpected emergency—not every seminarian has a local emergency as part of his formation!  Sharing with the parish of St. Isidore in their (or rather, our) anxieties and uncertainties during the week that followed the evacuation order was a genuine gift, and increased my solidarity with Christians who persevere in the Faith amid uncertainties and persecutions around the world.


And now, with life restored to ‘normalcy,’ it was a special joy to serve Bishop Soto in the parish’s Confirmation Mass.  Having survived the storm, a host of 170 young people were sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit on a sunny St. Patrick’s Day.  God has not abandoned His parishes in California, and I doubt not that He will continue to bless our young confirmandes with the graces needed to survive both the difficulties of this present world and the dangers of the sins that could keep them from Heaven.  May His peace be with us, and may our thanks be to God!

Oroville Dam on February 11, 2017 (Photo credit William Croyle, California Department of Water Resources –


Reflection on a Seminarian’s Visit to the Frozen North

The following is revised from an article published in the Sacred Heart-St. Joseph Parish Newsletter:

Even though our Diocese of Sacramento is the largest by area in California, it isn’t often that I’ve had the chance to visit the vast swaths of territory in the north of the state. The formation of a seminarian for the priesthood includes a lot, but adventuresome treks through the mountains (or for that matter, the cities) are not mandatory. Boredom is permissible, if not altogether appealing. And so Father Ronald Torres’ invitation to hospitality and a guided tour of his mountainous, river-pierced, and tree-nestled Parish of Sacred Heart (Fort Jones) and Saint Joseph (Yreka) for the weekend of January 7-8 was an offer I couldn’t refuse.


St. Josephs Church, Yreka

Photo Credit:

The visit could not have occurred on a more exciting weekend, meteorologically speaking; a huge winter storm was in its final hours as I nosed my borrowed Subaru into the rectory driveway late Friday night. The next morning Father and I awoke to the beauty of four inches of fresh snow—God’s answer to many Californians’ earnest prayers. Although the snow made it impossible to visit the church communities of Etna and Happy Valley, I got a taste of what life is like in the higher elevations. Father and I patiently waited for the evening Mass in St. Joseph’s, visiting the parish hall to see the volunteers and visitors to the Saturday lunch effort. I was impressed at the dedication of parishioners who braved the snow to feed those who depended on the parish for a hot meal.

Seminarians often have the privilege of altar serving in many churches, and it was with gusto that I donned my cassock and surplice (the black and white altar server attire) to help with the weekend Masses. Father gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to the parish, and it was a joy to thank so many faithful Catholics for their prayers and sacrifices that support priestly and religious vocations. We seminarians depend on your prayers and courageous support—including the willingness to invite others to consider whether Jesus is calling him/her to follow Him in the priesthood or a religious vocation.

It was with some chagrin that I said goodbye to Father Ronald—and to the intrepid Deacon Chuck and Dortje Werner—after Sunday brunch. The parishes of the north are blessed with a beauty and community that I refuse to envy (that’s a sin!), but fully intend to visit again. May God richly bless the parish and families of Sacred Heart-St. Joseph’s. Amen.


Highlights From the Hill

After a long and busy summer seminary is now in full swing for both our Mt Angel and St. Patrick’s men. We are pleased to have a number of new seminarians for studying for the diocese and will soon have their profile up on Consider Priesthood so you can get to know them!

Monday started with the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by the Most Rev. Liam Carey, Bishop of the Diocese of Baker. Following that was the inaugural address given by Abbot Peter Eberle, Vice Rector of the Theologate. He looked at the fictional stories of three priests and compared them to the model priest proposed by Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical on the formation of priests “Pastores dabo vobis” to highlight the importance of formation both in the seminary and after.

In the afternoon we had a BBQ hosted by the monks of Mt Angel which was preceded by Vespers. This years menu had a Hawaiian theme. There are 47 new seminarians at Mt Angel this year which brings enrollment to about 150. It’s an impressive sound both in the chapel and the dining room!  The evening was very pleasant as we enjoyed the warm and sunny Oregon weather and each others company. It was also a rare free Monday evening. Every Monday is typically dedicated to a conference  related to one of the four areas of formation in the seminary.

Tuesday was the start of classes, which for us deacons was a challenging one whole class! Returning for this last year is definitely an interesting experience. There is the excitement of being ordained and the joys of ordained ministry but there is a sense that this is the dusk of a beautiful stage of life. We all look forward to the priesthood eagerly but like all transitions leaving the old, familiar behind has a twinge of sadness. While most of our fellow seminarians are busy studying philosophy and theology those of us in the fourth year of theology focus on more practical things in pastoral ministry. Next semester we will start learning how to celebrate the Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Do keep us in your prayers!

Turning our attention back to the Diocese there was a change in the diocese of Sacramento. Fr Francisco Hernandez Gomez who served as our vocations director was asked to resume parish ministry by the Bishop. Fr Jovito Rata took the helm of the Vocations Office in his place.  God bless them both in their service!

I hope to post pictures of the opening events, the summer and our new men very soon. Thank you for your readership. God Bless!


Highlights from the Hill

So its been a really long time, I mean a really long time since we’ve posted. And well that’s terrible on our part, especially my part. A lot has happened here at Mt Angel so I hope to share some of the highlights for you. While I’ve tried to collect photos for posting it doesn’t always seem to work. So please bear with this text heavy post. In case I hadn’t mentioned it before, we have two new seminarians at Mt Angel Seminary. David Panduro who is in College II and Ivan Mora who is in pre-theology. Pretty soon I will have their bios up. We are glad to have them with us.

Steven Wood, who is in first theology received the ministry of Lector from Bishop Armando Ochoa this semester.  As an instituted lector he is commissioned to proclaim the readings in liturgy and also to help teach the faith. While this is not a step to the priesthood in the strict sense it is a milestone. In a sense it marks our entry liturgical ministry as the Church entrusts us with that service. The lector is also expected to study and pray with the Scriptures deeply and regularly.

I am pleased to announce that I was recommended to transitional diaconate by Mt Angel Seminary at the end of my annual evaluation as was Rev. Mr. Jose Victor Gutierrez. He along with Rev Mr. Michael Ritter will be ordained to the priesthood on June 6. On that same day, indeed in the same liturgy, my classmate Mr Raj Derivera and I will be ordained, God willing, to the transitional diaconate. So, please, keep us and all those who will be ordained to either order this summer in your prayers.  It is an exciting time!

One class we have is called Advanced Preaching/Presiding I. In this class we learn how to celebrate Matrimony and Baptism and Funerals. We also learn how to give Benediction and serve as the deacon in Mass. I have to confess in the Mass practice I was slightly off in my words. Another part of preparation for ordination is a five day retreat.  This is to prepare us for the spiritual reality of ordination.

On a less cheery note I should mention the passing of an important monk of Mt Angel Abbey who worked in the seminary, Fr Paschal Cheline. He was dear to countless people and this was testified to by the large crowd present for his funeral.  A number of alumni came and observed “even after death he’s still building community”. He had a plan for life: Jesus Christ, the Church, Liturgy, and novels. While it is impossible to take the totality of his influence, this article is a good summation. Pray for his happy repose.

Just recently Francis Cardinal George was called home to the Lord as well. He is remembered by many for a host of things. I personally will always remember this famous quote, “I will die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die as a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.” I think it indicates not the bleak reality we face but, rather, the depth and intensity of Christian hope and Charity. Do pray for his happy repose as well.

This semester is in its final weeks and soon we will be on Summer break which always holds the promise of a summer apostolate.  Stay tuned for more details!

This link will take you to a good blogpost with a fantastic video about seminary life.  Consider it! Consider Priesthood!


Watch Inspiring Video

Archbishop Dolan ordains 5 priests to the Archdiocese of New York   Why Not?   God in the Streets of New York City   Deacon Mike reflects upon his vocation to the priesthood.