The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Vocations 2021

The Diocese of Little Rock will ordain five men to the priesthood on May 29 at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock: Alex Smith, Ben Riley, Brian Cundall, Emmanuel Torres and Omar Galván. After more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor has invited all the faithful to attend the ordination, a triumphant moment in the Catholic Church in Arkansas. This section contains information about the ordination, first Masses for the newly ordained and the stories of each of the men taking the next steps in their vocation. 


Smith hopes to model shepherds with conviction for Lord

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: May 19, 2021   

Deacon Alex Smith is feeling a mix of emotions ahead of his priestly ordination: excited, joyful, but also reflective, with a thoughtful awareness of what’s to come.  “Knowing where I’m going to be assigned and praying for those people in that area,” Smith said. “... There’s a lot of work to be done. I’m willing, and I’m excited to get started.”  Smith will be ordained May 29, the culmination of a lifetime of saying “yes” to God.  He More... 

Immigrant experience shapes ministry for Torres

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: May 18, 2021   

For Deacon Emmanuel Torres, his ordination has been a long time coming; 11 years, to be exact.  But God had a plan, from helping him work through the challenging social aspects of being a priest to recognizing that the deep emotions he feels for others is a gift.  “Trust in yourself. That is the biggest lesson,” said Torres, who will be ordained a priest May 29. “Trust that I can do it and not only through my More... 

Omar Galván wants to embrace meaning of ‘Father’

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: May 17, 2021   

While praying the nightly family rosary, his mother leading the devotion, a 5-year-old Omar Galván wasn’t exactly an example of piety.  “I’d sit next to my sister or brother and poke them at the side,” Galván laughed. “I’d stop the rosary and tattle-tale” that his sister was asleep, though his mother never minded if the children fell asleep. He’d pelt his siblings with beans from across the room. “I was forcing my siblings to suffer with More... 

Cundall’s goal: Be the Swiss Army knife of priests

By Malea Hargett, Published: May 15, 2021   

When Deacon Brian Cundall was growing up in Little Rock, Barton Coliseum was associated with the State Fair, not with becoming a priest. “I went to Barton Coliseum for the rodeo and gun and knife shows,” he recalled. But on May 29 he will stand in the arena with four other men and commit his life to the Church as a priest. Cundall has thought a lot about how he wants to live his priesthood and about beginning More... 

Riley sees priesthood as his next epic adventure

By Malea Hargett, Published: May 14, 2021   

Deacon Ben Riley had big plans after graduating from Catholic High in 2012. He was going to study outdoor recreation at Western Colorado University and work as an outdoor guide. Before he moved, he earned a wilderness EMT license to use in his career working in nature. While he was in Colorado, he realized his calling to become a priest couldn’t be ignored any longer. “I was discerning going into the priesthood in my junior and senior More... 

Arena will accommodate thousands for ordination

Published: May 12, 2021   

The Diocese of Little Rock will host the ordination of five new priests at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock to allow for more family members and parishioners to attend while offering spacing between family groups. It is the first time the diocese will hold ordinations in the arena. The Eucharistic Congress Mass was held there in 2005 for 5,000 people, and 2,000 people attended the Diocesan Encuentro Mass there in 2017. The ordination Mass will begin at More...