Meet our Seminarians

Seminarians in the Archdiocese of Seattle have begun their journey toward the priesthood. Meet some of our current seminarians and learn more about seminary life.

Michael Barbarossa

St. Vincent de Paul, Federal Way

Sylvester Chanda

St. Benedict, Seattle

John DePalma

Blessed Sacrament, Seattle

Chad Hill

All Saints, Puyallup

Marc Jenkins

St. Andrew, Sumner

Jeffery "JJ" Kalsbeek

St. Peter, Deming

Patrick Gitau Mbuiyu

Holy Spirit, Kent

Josh Nehnevaj

Our Lady of Lourdes, Vancouver

Alex Nelson

St. Stephen the Martyr, Renton

Matthew Newland

Mary Queen of Peace, Sammamish

Val Park

St. Andrew Kim, Seattle

Kyle Poje

Our Lady Queen of Heaven, Tacoma

Kyle Rink

All Saints, Puyallup

Simon Stehr

St. Joseph, Chehalis

Brody Stewart

Sacred Heart, Bellingham

Joseph Tapia-Beeman

St. Stephen the Martyr, Renton

John Paul Tomassi

Holy Redeemer, Vancouver

Deacon Thomas Tran

St. Benedict, Seattle

Michael Barbarossa

​Mundelein seminary, Theology III

The younger of two boys, Michael was born and raised in Federal Way. He is a lifelong member of St. Vincent de Paul parish and a recent graduate of Kennedy Catholic High School. As an organist and pianist, he has served in music ministry both at his home parish and at Sts. Peter and Paul in Tacoma.

Michael enjoys bicycling and hiking with his family, loves board games, and is an avid reader of classic mystery novels. He is so grateful for the support of his family and looks forward to priestly service, especially through the Eucharist.

Sylvester Chanda

Mount angel seminary, theology iI

Sylvester was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia. Upon completion of high school, he joined the religious congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). After obtaining a Bachelor of Philosophy and a year of Theology, Sylvester left religious life to discern a diocesan vocation. In 2015 he connected with the Archdiocese of Seattle through a Zambian priest serving here and a year later was accepted into the archdiocese’s seminarian program. Living at Vianney House at St. Benedict Parish, Sylvester completed some graduate work at Seattle University while participating in different liturgical celebrations at a number of parishes throughout the archdiocese. This gave him an opportunity to learn more about the Church in the Pacific Northwest.

He will continue his Theology studies at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon and looks forward to this next step in his priestly formation. God willing as a priest, Sylvester looks forward to serving the people of the archdiocese through Word and Sacrament. He is grateful to the priests and the people of God for their continued prayers and support.

John DePalma

Mundelein Seminary, Theology II

John’s earliest memories were formed in Malawi, Africa, where his parents served as medical missionaries.  His family then moved to North Seattle, where he attended St Mark Parish & Grade School as a child and graduated from Shorecrest High School.

John studied Human Biology at Eastern Washington University and Physical Therapy at the University of Washington prior to embarking in a career as a Physical Therapist.  He also spent over a decade competing in and coaching flatwater kayaking racing, which he enjoys to this day.

John entered Mundelein Seminary in the summer of 2018 and is excited about helping others discern how to enjoy Christ's presence more deeply in their lives.

Chad Hill

sT. CHARLES BORROMEO, PASTORAL YEAR

The middle of three boys, Chad grew up in Puyallup Washington and attended All Saints parish.

Chad was the youth minister of Our Lady Queen of Heaven parish for 6 and a half years before he entered seminary. Currently he studies at Mount Angel seminary.

Marc Jenkins

MOUNT ANGEL SEMINARY, THEOLOGY I

Marc Jenkins was born into a Catholic and military family, he is the fourth of six children. His family moved to Washington once his father retired from the Marine Corps in 2004. Participating in the Running Start program, Marc graduated from high school with both his High School Diploma and an Associate's Degree in 2015.

He enjoys spending time with family & friends, reading, sports, and helping others. He looks forward to serving Our Lord and others in whatever capacity God has planned for him.    

Jeffery "JJ" Kalsbeek

bishop white seminary, college i

Jeffery was born in Bellingham in 2001 to his loving parents. He grew up in Whatcom County with his three younger siblings and very large extended family. He attended Saint Peter’s Deming with his family where he was involved in the choir, religious education, and youth group.

After Graduating from Mount Baker High School he opened himself up to God's call and took his first big step in his formation journey by attending Bishop White Seminary in the Fall of 2019.

Jeffery loves to play soccer, go on hikes, and play music. In his free time he tries to better his musical ability by practicing his six instruments and by teaching himself to play new ones. Jeffery is looking forward to being a servant to God and his people.

Patrick Gitau Mbuiyu

mount angel seminary, College ii

The first of two children in his family, Patrick was born and raised in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. 

He was initiated into the Catholic faith at a young age and went on to lovingly serve the youth of his parish and the Pontifical Missionary Children of the Archdiocese of Nairobi as their chairperson and advocate respectively. Due to his interest in music, he also served in music ministry and was later appointed to represent the youth in the church council.

In his free time, if he is not singing he is playing soccer.

Josh Nehnevaj

Pontifical North American College, theology II

The oldest of 5, Josh was born and raised in Vancouver, WA at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He went to school there as well through 8th grade, went to Columbia River High School and did two years at Clark College before transferring to Northern Illinois University to finish a degree in Math with two minors in Computer Science and Spanish.

He swam through high school and then coached a swim team for a few years. During college he was active in campus ministry and played a little bit of water polo. Now he enjoys swimming, reading, and running.

He is enjoying the fraternity of seminary life and is looking forward to sharing the sacraments with people as a priest.

Alex Nelson

ST. LUKE SHORELINE, PASTORAL YEAR

The oldest of three boys, Alex grew up in Renton, Washington. Alex and his family converted to Catholicism when he was 17-years old and attended St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church. He graduated from Lindbergh High School and then attended Saint Martin's University where he studied Religious Studies/Philosophy, ran cross-country and track, and was active in campus ministry.

After graduating from Saint Martin's he spent a year working as a youth ministry intern at his home parish St. Stephen the Martyr. He entered seminary in 2016.

In his free time Alex enjoys running, playing soccer, as well as watching and cheering on the Sounders and Seahawks.

Matthew Newland

Mundelein seminary, theology iI

Born in Bozeman, Montana, Matthew has lived around the Eastside for most of his life, with his family currently residing in Redmond. He is the oldest of six children. A cradle Catholic, he attended Mary, Queen of Peace parish in Sammamish from the time he was ten years old, and it is the parish he calls home.

He was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school; for the last two years of his high school career, he attended Bellevue College through Running Start and graduated high school with an associate's degree.

He took twelve years of piano lessons growing up and continues to enjoy classical music; he also enjoys reading just about anything. Matthew looks forward to being able as a priest, and by God's grace, to help bring people closer to Jesus, especially through the Eucharist and the other sacraments.

Val Park

MOUNT ANGEL SEMINARY, THEOLOGY III

Born in Incheon, Korea as the oldest of two boys, Val has also lived in Vietnam, moved briefly back to Korea before finally moving to Seattle in 2003.

He attended King's High School then studied History at Western Washington University. 

His favorite hobbies include playing basketball, watching basketball and thinking of basketball. Val is looking forward to be sent to wherever it is that God wants him to be.

Kyle Poje

pontifical north american college, theology iII

Born and raised in a loving Catholic family, Kyle grew up as the oldest boy of seven siblings.

As the final destination of his father’s military career, Kyle landed in Spanaway, Washington where he graduated from Bethel High School and attends Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish when he is home from Seminary.

He enjoys snowboarding, playing soccer, and canoeing every chance he gets. As he continues to discern his vocation to the priesthood, Kyle is greatly looking forward to preaching and administering the sacraments for the people of God.

Kyle Rink

Mount angel seminary, pre-theology iI

Kyle was born in 1994 in Boston into a family of musicians and teachers. After moving back to Western Washington at age 1, he spent the remainder of his childhood in Puyallup where he grew up with two younger siblings and a large extended family. He attended All Saints Parish with his family, and was active in religious education and youth group.

After graduating from Emerald Ridge High School in 2013, he went to Boise State University to study Civil Engineering and play trumpet in the marching band. There, he got involved at St. Paul's Catholic Student Center, and eventually became a Student Leader. It was there that he first discerned the call to priesthood, and after graduating in 2017 with a BS in Civil Engineering, continued discernment in  Vianney House while working as an engineer. 

He attends Mount Angel Seminary, where he enjoys soccer, exploring the Oregon Cascades, and growing closer to Christ. 

Simon Stehr

BISHOP WHITE SEMINARY, COLLEGE III

Simon was born and raised in Washington as a parishioner of St. Joseph in Chehalis. The second among five siblings, he was homeschooled before attending Centralia College as a running start student, where he graduated with an Associate in Arts in 2019. Growing up, Simon was active in his parish as an altar boy and a youth group participant. He later became the pianist/organist for both St. Mary, Centralia and St. Joseph, Chehalis.  

Some of his favorite activities include speech and debate, playing sports, such as soccer and frisbee, and playing piano. He is also very passionate about the pro-life movement and was president of the Students for Life Club at Centralia College for two years.

Simon began to sense a steady call to the priesthood in his early teenage years, and is grateful for the opportunity to discern God’s will in seminary.

Brody Stewart

ST. LOUISE BELLEVUE, PASTORAL YEAR

Brody was born and raised in Marysville, WA. The oldest of three children in a non-Catholic household, he did not discover the Faith until he went to Western Washington University for college. Upon graduating with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, he was also baptized, confirmed, and received his first communion at Sacred Heart parish in Bellingham.

After working in Marketing for three years at Verbum (the Catholic branch of Faithlife / Logos Bible Software), he began priestly formation at Mount Angel Seminary in the Fall of 2016.

Brody enjoys playing soccer, reading theology, and roasting coffee, and he looks forward to pouring himself out in service of Christ's body when he is (please, God!) ordained to the priesthood.

Joseph Tapia-Beeman

​bishop white seminary, college iv

A member of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Renton, Joseph was raised as an only child, attended St. Anthony School in Renton, and high school at Kennedy Catholic in Burien.  He began his journey as a seminarian right after high school, and is currently studying at Gonzaga University.

An avid musician, Joseph plays the piano and is now learning how to play the organ. He also enjoys making his own versions of music pieces in his free time, although unfortunately they are not for sale.  

Joseph’s love for the priesthood largely came through his time as an altar server, which he began in 2007 and eagerly continues to this day.

John Paul Tomassi

MOUNT ANGEL SEMINARY, THEOLOGY II

John Paul Tomassi was born fourth out of five children in 1995.

He grew up in Camas, attending Holy Redeemer Parish in Vancouver. He attended Camas High School and Seton Catholic High School, graduating from Seton in 2013; after which he attended Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga University.

Currently, he loves music, especially singing, coffee, the occasional swim, and spending time with the seminary community.

Deacon Thomas Tran

Mount Angel seminary, theology IV

The oldest of five children, was born and raised Catholic in Dalat, Viet Nam.

Thomas attended St. Mary primary school and Dong Da public High School. Thomas graduated in Viet Nam and later graduated from Gonzaga University in May, 2015. During his years at GU, Thomas was involved with Students for Life Club, Bible study group at Catholic Studies House, and Knights of Columbus council 11134. Thomas also worked at the House of Charityand volunteered at St. Joseph Care Center in Spokane.

He enjoys cycling, soccer, bowling, swimming, and going to the movies. Thomas looks forward to preaching and teaching as a priest.