Ten new seminarians accepted for the Diocese of Little Rock
Published: September 10, 2011
By Malea Hargett Editor
Ten seminarians have been accepted by the Diocese of Little Rock to begin studying for the priesthood.
The diocese will have 34 seminarians, an increase of three from last fall. In 2012, four -- and possibly five -- men will be ordained priests.
In addition to the United States, the men come from seven countries: Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Haiti, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Five of the men would be considered nontraditional students, having previous careers and even families before discerning a call to the priesthood. This fall Charles "Rick" Hobbs III, 48, a former diocesan seminarian, and Norman McFall, 54, a former Freewill Baptist pastor who converted to Catholicism and was studying to become a deacon, were accepted as seminarians.
Hobbs, son of Charles and Frances Hobbs and a member of St. Boniface Church in Fort Smith, is attending Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wis. McFall, husband of Laura McFall and member of St. Joseph Church in Pine Bluff, attends St. Meinrad Seminary. Other non-traditional seminarians include George Sanders, 55; Dr. Joseph Chan, 46; and Jack Sidler Sr., 67.
Msgr. Scott Friend, vocations director, said he would not consider it a trend in the Diocese of Little Rock to be accepting older seminarians. But nationally the average age of newly ordained priests is increasing. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, the average age of a new priest in the U.S. in 2010 was 37, but 11 of them were 65 years older or older.
"I really look at each person," he said. "Each one of them is very unique. It's all part of the discernment process."
The other new seminarians are:
William Burmester, 23, son of Richard and Theresa Burmester and a member of St. Joseph Church in Conway. He will attend St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.
Stephen Hart, 23, son of Robert and Evelyn Hart and member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock. He will attend St. Meinrad Seminary.
Robert Smith, 22, son of Robert and Christina Smith and a member of St. Joseph Church in Fayetteville. He will attend St. Meinrad Seminary.
Mario Jacobi, 33, son of Maria Urtes and originally from Calhoun, Ga. He will attend St. Meinrad Seminary.
Thomas Johnson, 18, son of Cynthia Marzette and member of St. Joseph Church in Fayetteville. He will attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Ehldane Labitad, 23, son of Danilo and Elista Labitad and member of St. Raphael Church in Springdale. He will attend UALR.
Jon Miskin, 18, son of Michael and Anne Miskin and member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock. He will attend Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas.
Karldy Isidor, 28, son of Bethner Isidor and Immaculat Altenor. A native of Haiti, he will attend UALR.
The seminarians who will be ordained in 2012 are:
Deacon Juan Manjarrez, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith.
Deacon Alejandro Puello, a member of St. Mary Church in Paragould.
Deacon Mauricio Carrasco, a member of St. Raphael Church in Springdale.
Manjarrez, Puello and Carrasco, who attend St. Meinrad Seminary, will be ordained priests May 26 at Christ the King Church in Little Rock.
Andrew Hart, a member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock. He is attending the North American College in Rome. He will be ordained a priest July 21 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock.
George Sanders, a member of St. John Church in Hot Springs. He attends St. Meinrad Seminary and is scheduled to be ordained a priest next year.
Other returning seminarians and their seminaries are:
Seminario Hispano in Mexico: Brayan Rodriguez, a native of Colombia
Sacred Heart School of Theology: Luis Miguel Pacheco, a native of Mexico; and Jack Sidler Sr., Barling
St. Meinrad Seminary: Robert Cigainero, Texarkana; Juan Guido, Little Rock; Martin Siebold, North Little Rock (Marche); Jose Guillermo Caballero, a native of Colombia; Dr. Joseph Chan, Van Buren; and Paul Goergen, Blytheville
Seminario de Monterrey in Mexico: Raul Garduno and Martin Amaro, Little Rock
Holy Trinity Seminary: Michael L. Johns, Jonesboro; Brad Charbonneau, Jacksonville; and Keith Higgingbotham, North Little Rock
St. Joseph Seminary, St. Benedict, La: Stephen J. Gadberry, Wynne.
Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.: Joseph De Orbegozo and Stephen Elser, Little Rock.
Two men are "discerners" and will live at the Formation House at St. John Center in Little Rock this year. They are:
Jose Luis Quijada, 33, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith.
Emmanuel Torres, 24, a member of St. Edward Church in Little Rock.