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Members of Catholic High School's senior class shake hands with new seminarians Luke Parker, Matthew Lamb and Parker Vail (right), after their seminarian signing day at Catholic High School in Little Rock April 24. (Malea Hargett)

Three Catholic High seniors sign to discern priesthood

Trio of seniors will embark on seminary studies in Little Rock beginning this fall

Published: May 2, 2024      
Chaplain Father Patrick Friend (left) and Bishop Anthony B. Taylor applaud new seminarians Luke Parker, Matthew Lamb and Parker Vail (right), donning Diocese of Little Rock baseball caps after their seminarian signing day at Catholic High School in Little Rock April 24. (Malea Hargett)

Students at Catholic High School in Little Rock saw a tangible example of what it is like to listen to God and follow your vocation.

On April 24, three seniors signed letters of intent to become diocesan seminarians before their families and the entire student body. The annual signing days are bearing fruit. Since 2012, 13 CHS grads have been ordained diocesan priests and another five are in the seminary.

Matthew Lamb, Parker Vail and Luke Parker signed the letters with their parents standing behind them for support. When Bishop Anthony B. Taylor officially stamped all three letters, the student body jumped to its feet with cheers and applause. The senior class then lined up to personally congratulate the new seminarians.

Vocations director Father Jeff Hebert asked all students to consider what God calls them to do in their lives.

“Every single one of you has a reason and purpose for being here,” Father Hebert said. “God has given you gifts to be shared and given to the world. Oftentimes, the world tells you that the goal is to try to take, try to seek to obtain things from the world. How much money can you acquire, possession, fame, power. But Jesus said, ‘No one takes my life from me. I have the power to lay it down. I have the power to take it up again because I have received it from my Father.’ These three men have received a similar call from the Heavenly Father.”

Lamb’s mother, Jennifer, said she was happy the three students celebrated this decision with their classmates.

“It’s nice that the kids got to come and actually experience it with them,” she said. “It’s the first step in the next part of their lives. It’s a big moment for them.”

Lamb, son of David Lamb and Jennifer Lamb, is a member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock.

He is a member of the Broadcast Team and JROTC and took on several acting roles in school productions.  

Vail, son of Thomas and Melissa Vail, is a member of Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock. He is a member of Team Jesus band at Christ the King Church and served on the diocese’s Youth Advisory Council.

“It was really awesome,” he said of the event. “It only solidified my decision more and helped me know that I made the right decision.”

Vail said he began discerning the priesthood at the urging of his 10th-grade religion teacher, Quinton Thomas, who is also a seminarian.

“Even though I thought I wanted to have a family, I couldn’t get it out of my head,” he said.

Parker, son of James and Vicki Parker, also attends Immaculate Conception Church. He was given the prestigious St. Timothy Award in April during the Catholic Youth Convention. He is active in the CYM at Immaculate Conception Church and participates in a Bible study with school chaplain Father Patrick Friend.

Beginning June 1, the seniors will begin the discernment process. During their first year — called a propaedeutic year — they will live at the House of Formation in Little Rock and take classes at UA Little Rock and Newman University in Wichita, Kan.

Bishop Taylor wants you to know more about your faith and the Church: Read Arkansas Catholic's free digital edition.

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