These men are among those currently in formation with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in the United States.  Scroll down for more information on each seminarian.

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Br. Paul Nguyen, OMV

Br Paul Nguyen web

Br. Paul hails from Long Beach, CA and is the oldest of four children.  He earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Cal State Long Beach and worked in web design and development before joining the Oblates in September 2010.  He also plays the violin, providing music for various church liturgies and has performed with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra.  He took first vows as an Oblate on August 5, 2014.

“This is a house of Mary.  For me, it all started with Mary.  It is all too fitting that I am here with her.”


Br. Rafael Solorio, OMV

Br Rafael Solorio web

Br. Rafael, the eighth of ten children, was born and raised in a small town in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.  He came to the United States when he was eighteen years old and worked for eleven years as a psychiatric technician in a developmental center helping the developmentally disabled.  A resident of L.A., Br. Rafael met the Oblates at our parish in Hawaiian Gardens.  He entered Our Lady of Grace Seminary in the Fall of 2011 and took first vows as an Oblate on August 5, 2014.

“The Oblates at St. Peter Chanel with their powerful witness and our Blessed Mother Mary have led me to discern my vocation to the religious life and priesthood.”


Nathan Marzonie

Nathan Marzonie web

Nathan comes to us from Flushing, MI.  An Armenian, Nathan is fluent in both Armenian and Turkish as well as English. He is the fifth of six children and was homeschooled before entering the University of Michigan.  He graduated in 2011 with a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a B.S. in Laboratory Science.  He applied to medical school but felt a call to enter the seminary.  He joined the Oblates in September 2012 and entered novitiate in August of 2014.

His favorite quote:

“The world offers you comfort; you were not made for comfort, but for greatness.” — Pope Benedict XVI


Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw web

Chris is from Rosamond, CA and is the youngest of twelve children. An Eagle Scout, Chris was homeschooled and eventually earned his associates degree in Administration of Justice from Antelope Valley College.  His six years of service in the Army National Guard saw him living in such diverse places as Germany, Kosovo, and several locations throughout the United States.  He worked for the next three years as he discerned a call to the priesthood and religious life.  He entered the novitiate year in August of 2014.

His favorite quote:

“Love alone suffices.” — St. Therese of Lisieux


Paul Kallal

Paul Kallal web

Coming to us from Jerseyville, IL (near St. Louis) and one of three children, Paul attended a Catholic grade school and public high school before earning his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing in St. Louis.  He worked for several years as a nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.  Paul first met the Oblates at our OMV parish of St. Mary’s in Alton, Illinois and entered Our Lady of Grace Seminary in September 2013.  He is now in his novitiate year.

His favorite quote:

“We are called by the voice of God, by the voice of that ultimate being, to pierce through the irrelevance of our life…”                       — Thomas Merton


Joel Ament

Joel Ament web

Joel is from Corona in Southern California and has one older brother.  He earned his Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Orange Coast College.  In addition to his work as a waiter, Joel has an interest in photography and has worked with his father (who is a professional photographer) on a number of projects.  About twelve years ago, a friend of his mother’s told her about the OMV parish of St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, CA.  The Ament family has been going to the parish ever since.  Joel entered Our Lady of Grace Seminary in September 2014 and is now in his first year of postulancy.

His favorite quote:

“Give until it hurts.”                       — Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


Colin Powell

Colin Powell web

Colin comes to Boston from nearby Amesbury, MA and is the youngest of four children.  He received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts — Lowell.  He worked at a local library and as a barista in a local bakery before connecting with the Oblates on Facebook.  Colin began his first year at Our Lady of Grace Seminary in September 2014.

His favorite quote:

“I am the resurrection and the life…”                       — John 11:25


Leland Thorpe

Leland Thorpe web

Leland hails from Pittsburgh and has one younger sister.  He studied at Carnegie Mellon University where he received his B.S. in Computer Science and his M.S. in Robotics.  Working as a software engineer in Pittsburgh, he first heard of the Oblates from reading the books of Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV.  Leland began his first year of postulancy with us in September of 2014.

His favorite quote:

“Do not be afraid.  Open wide the doors for Christ.”                       — St. John Paul II


Jonas Verdeflor

Jonas Verdeflor web

Jonas is the youngest of three children and comes to us from Queens in New York City.  He earned his B.S. in Journalism and Technical Writing from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and worked for twelve years as a copy editor and page designer at various newspapers across the country.  He first learned about the Oblates from watching the appearances of Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV on TV and was recommended to the Oblates by his spiritual director.  Jonas began his first year of postulancy at Our Lady of Grace Seminary in September 2014.

His favorite quote:

“In this world there is tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have conquered the world”                                                                                                                                  — John 16:34b



Please pray for all our seminarians!