Thomas O’Donnell

What were you doing before you entered seminary?

After growing up in Catonsville with my family and attending Mount St. Joseph High School, I went to college at Loyola University Maryland, where I studied English and Theology under some great professors. Inspired by the mission work and spirituality of the great Jesuits, I pursued a vocation to the Society of Jesus for a time. For nearly two years, I worked as a layman for the Pro-Life office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

What is one thing that attracts you to the priesthood?

In his preaching and ultimately in his death and resurrection, Jesus revealed what it fully and truly means to be human. A priest has the privilege of continuing to announce that reality, not just in homilies but also through a counter-cultural life of celibacy and simplicity. Then, not only does the priest help share this reality, he brings the means of living it out in this life: the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

Who is your favorite saint?

In high school, my afternoons were often spent rehearsing for an upcoming play or musical, and on weekends I was often hiking or camping. St. John Paul II shared a great love of theater, poetry, and the outdoors. But he was also a serious philosopher and a compassionate pastor, especially to young people and families, understanding that modern people deeply long for the correct understanding of truth, justice, and freedom which can only be found in Jesus Christ. I am also grateful for his encouragement of devotion to Mary. Most importantly, I credit his intercession in helping me to understand and joyfully accept a call to the priesthood. If you love nature or art, or if you are discerning marriage or priesthood, ask him for prayers!