My name is Joe Paddock and I’m in my 5th year of seminary at Mt. Angel, OR. I’m currently in my 3rd year of theology and hope to be ordained a deacon this summer, God willing. My vocational journey has been, and continues to be, an amazing transformation as I’m becoming the man that God created me to be. This process has been more beautiful than I could have ever expected, but also has involved many significant challenges. The Lord has gently guided me to develop a whole other side of myself that had not received much attention in my prior careers as a chemical engineer and finance professional. During my prior schooling (Anaconda High School, Montana State, Notre Dame) and professional life, I prided myself on being a hardworking, self-made man determined to “take care of business” and conquer the problems in front of me, regardless of the difficulty involved. But now I’m learning how to prioritize people first in all that I do and therefore trust in God to help me “take care of business.” Thus, God is showing me who I really am and I’m learning how to abandon my own misconceptions and accept this reality, slowly but surely. What a beautiful and blessed ride it has been!
Speaking of rides, we are in the midst of our pilgrimage to Philadelphia on the Totus Tuus. This pilgrimage represents a significant aspect of my vocational journey, namely walking the path of discernment with my brother seminarians. I have been exceptionally blessed with incredible brothers studying for the Diocese of Helena and this trip, on behalf of families worldwide and also to see Pope Francis, represents an outstanding opportunity for the Mt. Angel and St. John Vianney guys to spend some quality time together and grow in brotherhood. Normally we don’t get to see much of each other, given that Mt. Angel is in Oregon and St. John Vianney is in Colorado. Even during the summers back in Montana, opportunities to interact are limited, especially as a large group. Therefore, we are exceptionally blessed by the tremendous support we’ve received from people near and far. Without your prayers and financial support, this trip would simply not be possible. On behalf of the other seminarians on the trip, I thank you with all my heart for enabling us to seek further growth in holiness and brotherhood in such a unique and intimate way. We all look forward to serving you as priests in the near future.