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

Joshua Keeney

Year of Birth: 1989
Home Parish: St. Bernard, Tracy
High School: Merrill F. West High School, Tracy
University: Sacramento State (3 years)
Seminary: Mount Angel
Year in Seminary: Third Year College
Mailing Address: 1 Abbey Drive
St. Benedict, Oregon 97373
Favorite Saint: Saint Maria Goretti

Thoughts on Priesthood:

To be called to the priesthood is a unique and beautiful vocation, unmatched by any other. The power God bestows upon these men is extraordinary and beyond all comprehension. Along with this amazing gift, there is a definite humility which must be demonstrated by the recipient of this Divine invitation to the priesthood. This is due to the fact that it is the laying down of one’s life for his friends, the greatest act of love ever known to man (John 15:13). It is sacrificing one’s own will to say yes to WHATEVER God desires of him. It is not a life of glory and privilege for oneself, but a life dedicated to taking the lowest place of honor and committing to service of others (Luke 14:7-11 and Mark 10:45). It is a duty fundamental to the existence of the Church, that without, would cause it’s foundation to crumble. No priesthood, no sacraments. No sacraments, no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no life within us (John 6:53). God knows His Divine plan and wants to spread His grace through the priest to show the possibilities of mankind.

Why I Want to Be a Priest:

I see God working in my life and notice Him pulling me in that direction. I desire to serve God in all I do, and therefore must put forth the effort to please Him in this aspect. The utter happiness you can bring someone simply by administering the sacraments would be an awesome ability. Also, the responsibility of being appointed a shepherd over God’s flock to lead them to His pastures is inspiring, not to mention the opportunity to perform a miracle everyday, the Eucharist. The chance to be in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, and turn the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is breath taking. This would be the greatest of all duties.

How did your family and friends react when you made that decision? Are they supportive now?

My family was mostly supportive at the beginning, but there were some who did not want me to follow through, especially after notifying them I would be foregoing my last year in college. They thought I had wasted three years of my life at Sacramento State because I did not obtain a degree. I informed them I would be able to receive a degree at the seminary in liberal arts, and that a good chunk of my credits would be able to be transferred. This eased their grief but they still were troubled that this meant I would not be able to have children. Today they are much more accepting of it, seeing that I am happy and excited, and want what is best for me.

What is the hardest part of being in the seminary?

Although I do not have much experience of seminary life yet, I would have to say the distance from my family and missing out on their activities is the hardest. I love being around them and watching my younger brother play sports. I will miss their growth, but have faith that God’s ever guiding hand will be upon them.

What is the best part?

The best part is getting to know all of your brother seminarians, priests and faculty. It is a phenomenal atmosphere that is full of hope and fraternal love. It is a place of growth in multiple facets of life, from intellectual to spiritual. The atmosphere expects development and growth, but also gives you the instruments to achieve this success. It helps you to develop good habits and fall away from the bad ones.

Who/what influenced your decision to enter the seminary?

My decision to enter the seminary has had an enumerable amount of influences, but I’d have to say it all started with my 8th grade teacher. She mentioned to the whole class the idea of the priesthood and it definitely caught my attention. That idea has been with me ever since, though now much more ardent than years past. Also, the example of my family has been an essential part. They have given me an awesome example of love and shown me how to be a good person. They’ve allowed me to make decisions and have freedom for myself, but have corrected me when I‘ve acted improperly. As well as these influences, the greatest has been my prayer life. It has allowed me to keep an open communication with God and to understand how He is working in my life and to where He is calling me. It has proven true the words of Christ, “Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7).

Hobbies & Interests:

I love playing sports and reading the Bible. They are both passions of mine and I find immense enjoyment out of both. They allow me to relieve myself from the world and focus on more important issues such as fitness, fraternal friendship, and faith.

What advice would you give to a young man thinking about the priesthood?

God has set aside His appointed servants and calls them each by name. This tremendous position God has given you is not by chance, it has been waiting for you for all of eternity until this very moment in your life. The fact that God has even given you the desire to pursue Him through the priesthood is magnificent, whether it is His will for you to be a priest or not. Allow yourself time in front of the Blessed Sacrament to discern whether God is indeed calling you, and if you feel He is, earnestly pursue the seminary. If you are seeking out God He will be “the way, and the truth , and the life” (John 14:6) for you.


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