Hello community of St. Leander!
I am your new priest, Fr. Mac, I’m so excited to be here with you and I’m so looking forward to working in the vineyard of the Lord with you all—and since it’s hard these days to meet too much face-to-face, I thought I’d send you all a letter introducing myself. I was born and raised in Berkeley. My family is not Catholic, they are not even religious in any way. Although my mother is Jewish, and this is an important part of her culture and identity, growing up I really didn’t know a single person of faith.
My conversion began after college, when after walking many years in darkness and experiencing in a profound way the hopelessness of life without God, I finally grew in self-knowledge and began to open up to the possibility of love, and immediately began to think of God. This was simply grace: I still knew no one who was a Christian, never encountered anyone who might have been a model of faith for me, but on my own—just because I had heard of God and Jesus—began to think that the meaning of life might just have to do with the Gospel. And so, I began exploring and learning, and the more I learned about Christian faith the more it made sense, and the more God called me to him.
Two years after I was baptized at the Easter vigil of 2012, I felt God calling me again, this time to priesthood. I didn’t like this idea at first, but after prayer, discernment, and a lot of thought God made it very clear to me and I went to seminary for the Diocese of Oakland. I studied for one year at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, and then Bishop Barber decided to send me to St. John’s Seminary in Boston for the remaining three years of my studies. I returned one year ago from Boston and spent last year as a deacon at St. Louis Bertrand in Oakland.
My priesthood is therefore beginning with you, at St. Leander’s in San Leandro, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. No matter the present difficulties, I’m sure we will find a way to praise God, celebrate his love, and share it with others—we just have to have faith he will show us how.