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Catholic High School senior going from stage to altar

Matthew Lamb first heard calling to priesthood during sophomore year

Published: May 23, 2024   
Catholic High senior Matthew Lamb, seen here May 1, has found a home on the stage performing in plays and musicals since the third grade. (Malea Hargett)

Even before Matthew Lamb begins his first day of seminary, he knows he has mastered one important priestly skill: delivering a monologue in front of a crowd.

The Catholic High School senior has been nurturing his Catholic faith, especially since his sophomore year, but before that, he was honing his acting skills. 

His mother, Jennifer, encouraged him to try acting when he was young to combat his shyness.

“I thought the costumes were fun and getting to know the fellow actors, sitting around the green room,” he said. “We also had school plays at Anthony (School, his elementary and middle high school). (During) the summers, I was involved in theater camps. The school plays in middle school were musicals. I got really burned out with musicals. It just wasn’t my thing.”

"It’s like God tags you, and you can run away as much as you want to, but you still got tagged and you know you won’t be truly happy unless you become a priest.”

At CHS, he was happy to join the cast of its productions for the past three years.

“My sophomore year was our first play after the pandemic,” he said. “It was ‘See How They Run’ — it was a British comedy, a farce. … I was the Rev. Lionel Toop, an Anglican minister. I have a rather good RP (Received Pronunciation) accent. If I hear accents a lot, I can do them.”

The highlight of his high school theater experience was taking on the lead role in “Mister Roberts” in April. 

“I loved it,” he said. “He was a patriotic American during the Second World War … He’s a very good cargo officer.”

Fred Baker, director of college counseling, said Lamb’s performances have stood out.

“Mr. Lamb has been an absolute dynamo in our drama program,” he said. 

Lamb, 17, also stayed active in school by joining the Theology Club, JROTC, the Schola and the Broadcast Team and lectoring at daily Mass before school. At his parish, Christ the King Church in Little Rock, he is active in the CYM and a lector during the monthly youth Mass. On the diocesan level, he was a team member helping organize Search retreats.

Another highlight in Lamb’s high school career happened in April, when he signed his letter of intent to become a diocesan seminarian. He, along with two other CHS seniors, will study at the House of Formation in Little Rock and take classes at UA Little Rock and Newman University in Wichita, Kan. 

He first heard his calling his sophomore year when a seminarian, Quinton Thomas, was his theology teacher.

“After morning Mass, Mr. Thomas walks up to me and says, ‘Hey Lamb, I really enjoyed you in class. Have you ever considered being a priest? You would be a good one.’ I had never really considered it before. … At that moment, I was, what Father Jeff Hebert (vocations director) calls, ‘tagged.’ It was the first time the thought came into my mind. It’s like God tags you, and you can run away as much as you want to, but you still got tagged and you know you won’t be truly happy unless you become a priest.”

Prayer has been the center of his daily life to ask God for guidance.

“Every lunch period since freshman year, I’ve gone into the chapel to pray for a bit. … ‘Lord, what do you want from me?’ I asked Brother Richard Sanker, he said to say, ‘Lord, I’m here. What do you want?’ I talked to Father Hebert, and he said to also think about what you truly want. I contemplated those things and asked God, and the desire (to be a priest) grew.”

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