The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Vocations 2022: In service to others

The Diocese of Little Rock will ordain Jaime Nieto and Daniel Wendel to the priesthood at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 28 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock. Bishop Anthony B. Taylor has invited all the faithful to attend the ordination, a triumphant moment in the Catholic Church in Arkansas.

Nieto, who grew up in St. Raphael Parish in Springdale, and Wendel, who grew up at Christ the King Church in Little Rock, both began attending Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 2018. 

This special annual section contains articles about both of our soon-to-be priests; a report on the world premiere of “The Making of a Catholic Priest,” a documentary on Arkansas' own Father Stephen Gadberry; and how priests - including married priests - in the Diocese of Little Rock face celibacy and chastity.


Religious have ‘total dedication’ to a life of celibacy

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: June 2, 2022   

At first, Quinton Thomas was not worried about the promise of celibacy when he entered seminary.  After about a year into his priestly studies, the “honeymoon” phase gave way to some fears, doubts and grief about the loss of the life he was possibly giving up. But today, he’s embraced the call to celibacy as it’s meant to be — a gift.  “I’ve discovered now it’s one of the things I'm most excited about being a priest,” More... 

Nieto ready to lead flock at St. Theresa in Little Rock

By Chris Price, Published: May 25, 2022   

Growing up, Jaime Nieto thought he would end up in a career in medicine, but as he drew nearer to the Church he realized he wasn’t called to save lives but to save souls. Soon, he was dreaming of becoming a priest. “I thought I would be a doctor or something in the medical field for my career. I’ve always had an urge to help people,” he said. “I wanted to offer my services for free More... 

Pandemic didn’t stop diaconate preparations for 46 men

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: May 25, 2022   

In 2016, 130 men in the Diocese of Little Rock began a year of discernment, to reflect on if God was calling them to serve his Church as a deacon.  During two ordination Masses in June — one June 11 at Christ the King Church in Little Rock and another June 25 at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers — 46 candidates will be ordained, after discerning, taking classes, completing homework assignments and meeting each More... 

Documentary about Father Gadberry to premiere May 24

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: May 23, 2022      

In the trailer for the documentary, “The Making of a Catholic Priest,” Father Stephen Gadberry lays out what he’s all about: Farm boy from the Arkansas Delta; an Iraq war vet who loves fitness; he has two fun dogs; a “shepherd of souls” who loves his flock, pastoring two parishes.  But above all, the Diocese of Little Rock priest made it clear he’s an evangelist: “I’m insanely in love with our Lord Jesus Christ; I want More... 

Wendel seeks to model priesthood on humility, mercy & love

By Malea Hargett, Published: May 23, 2022   

Over the past eight years, Deacon Daniel Wendel’s view on discernment and the priesthood has changed. “It is sort of strange,” he said. “Over the time you enter the seminary, you think the Lord is focused on what you have to offer. The good qualities, the gifts he has given you. But he isn’t only calling you in the gifts he has given you. Are you weak enough to be a priest? Are you broken enough More... 

Seminarians heard voice of God and are following him

By Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, Published: May 18, 2022   

When I was little, there were many children living near our house, and we spent lots of time playing together outside. When it was time to eat, my dad would whistle for us to come home. My friends’ parents called their names, but my Dad whistled for us, which I liked a lot. It was a very distinctive whistle, and we knew right away who was calling and what he wanted. Of course, the other More... 

How does celibacy apply to married Catholic priests?

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: May 18, 2022   

Celibacy is not a “divine law” in the Church and priests who are married do not have a “second-class priesthood,” Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a canon lawyer, explained during a Vatican conference on the priesthood Feb. 19, according to Catholic News Service.  Marriage is allowed for priests, not bishops, in the Eastern Church. In the Latin Rite, through a special provision, married men who have served as ordained pastors in other Christian denominations and convert, can More...