These men are currently in formation with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in the United States. Scroll down for more information on each seminarian.
Br. Rafael Solorio, OMV
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. 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 will profess perpetual vows as an Oblate on February 1, 2019, and be ordained a deacon on February 2, 2019 at St. Clement Shrine in Boston. Br. Rafael is currently assigned to our Oblate community at Holy Ghost Church and the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Denver, CO.
“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.”
Br. Paul Kallal, OMV
Coming to us from Jerseyville, IL (near St. Louis), Br. Paul earned 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. Br. 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 in his third year of theology studies, and will profess perpetual vows as an Oblate on February 1, 2019.
“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
Br. Nathan Marzonie, OMV
Br. Nathan comes to us from Flushing, MI. The fifth of six children, Br. Nathan is fluent in both Armenian and Turkish as well as English. He graduated from the University of Michigan 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 is in his third year of theology studies, and pursuing a Master’s degree in bibilical studies.
“The world offers you comfort; you were not made for comfort, but for greatness.” Pope Benedict XVI
Br. Brenden Bell, OMV
Br. Brenden hails from Hemet, CA, and has one older brother. He went to Saint Mary’s College of California where he earned his B.A. double major in Theology and Philosophy. Later, Br. Brenden worked as a Writing Center tutor at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Feeling called to the religious life, Br. Brenden was introduced to the Oblates through St. Clement Shrine in Boston and this website (omvusa.org). He entered in September of 2015 and professed his first vows on August 5, 2017.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton
Br. Leland Thorpe, OMV
Br. 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. Br. Leland professed his first vows on August 5, 2017, and is in his second year of theology studies.
“Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ.” St. John Paul II
Br. Jonas Verdeflor, OMV
Br. 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. Br. Jonas began his first year of postulancy at Our Lady of Grace Seminary in September 2014 and professed his first vows on August 5, 2017. Br. Jonas is in his second year of theology studies.
“In this world there is tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have conquered the world” John 16:34b
Daniel hails from Naples, FL, the youngest of two boys. He graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in History and Classics (2014) and an MA in History (2015). He worked at that university as a liturgy assistant and campus ministry assistant. He heard of the Oblates through Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV who was giving a seminar on the Discernment of Spirits. Daniel entered the Oblates in September of 2016, and entered the novitiate in August, 2018.
“You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” St. Augustine, “Confessions”
Jonathon comes to us from Corcoran, MN, a small suburb of Minneapolis. The first of three children, Jonathon earned his B.S. in Physics and Mathematics in 2015 from the University of Minnesota, where he was active in Saint Paul’s Outreach. He first heard of the Oblates when reading Fr. Tim Gallagher’s “Discernment of Spirits,” and was recommended to them by the campus minister at his university. Jonathon began his first year of postulancy in September of 2016. He enjoys camping, hiking, board games, and the occasional math problem. Jonathon , and entered the novitiate in August, 2018.
“In all that you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Christ Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
The second of three children, Jorge was born in Fullerton,CA but most recently lived in Long Beach. He earned his AA degree in Film from Cerritos College and worked as an assistant on some film shoots. He first heard of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary through his godparents, who were married at the OMV parish of St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, CA. A man who enjoys editing and writing scripts for films, Jorge counts Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, and Christopher Nolan among his favorite directors. He entered the Oblates in September of 2016, and entered the novitiate in August, 2018.
“Pray the Rosary frequently. It costs so little, and it’s worth so much.” St. Padre Pio
Jay-Ar San Juan
Jay-Ar was born and raised in the city of Bandar Seri Begawan in the sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. His family are members of Couples for Christ, an international Catholic lay ecclesial movement originating from the Philippines, and he was a member of their Kids for Christ and Youth for Christ ministries. In 2008, his family migrated to Vancouver, Canada, where he earned an AA from Corpus Christi College and a BA from Christ the King Seminary. He first learned about the Oblates through the VISION Vocations Network, and was attracted to their spirituality and community life. Jay-Ar entered the Oblates in September of 2017, and began his novitiate year in August, 2018.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”St. Augustine of Hippo
Please pray for all our seminarians!