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

Federal Way, WA

Deacon Benjamin Bray

Renton, WA

Sylvester Chanda

Lusaka, Zambia

John DePalma

Seattle, WA

Chad Hill

Puyallup, WA

Andrew Hollands

Des Moines, WA

Marc Jenkins

Sumner, WA

Deacon Tyler Johnson

Centralia, WA

Josh Nehnevaj

Vancouver, WA

Alex Nelson

Renton, WA

Matthew Newland

Sammamish, WA

Deacon Carlos Orozco

Seattle, WA

Val Park

Seattle, WA

Kyle Poje

Tacoma, WA

Kyle Rink

Puyallup, WA

Brody Stewart

Bellingham, WA

Joseph Tapia-Beeman

John Paul Tomassi

Camas, WA

Thomas Tran

Dalat, Viet Nam

Michael Barbarossa

​Mundelein seminary, Theology II

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.

Deacon Benjamin Bray

mount angel seminary, theology iV

Second oldest of five children, Benjamin (Ben) was born and raised Catholic in Renton, Washington and attended St. Anthony parish in Renton. He grew up home schooled and attended Bellevue College, pursuing a degree in elementary education before applying to seminary in 2010. After a year of further discernment at St. Benedict parish in North Seattle, he moved onto philosophical studies at Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga University in Spokane from 2012-2014. After graduating, he moved to Mt. Angel seminary in Oregon to study theology where he now resides.

He enjoys spending time with family and friends, being a WSU Cougars fan and looks forward to continuing in seminary to further discern God's call.

Sylvester Chanda

Mount angel seminary, theology i

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 I

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 Christs presence more deeply in their lives.

Chad Hill

mount angel seminary, Theology II

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.

Andrew Hollands

mount angel seminary, Theology i

With his twin sister, Andrew was born and raised into the Catholic faith in Des Moines, Washington, and attended St. Philomena Catholic Church and School, and has continued to be a loyal parishioner there. He graduated from Aviation High School in 2013, where he began his discernment of the priesthood.

After completing his Associate of Arts from Highline College in 2015, he moved into Vianney House at St. Benedict's Parish in Seattle to continue his discernment, while taking classes at Seattle University and working as a food waiter for a retirement house community. He entered Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga University the following year.

Andrew enjoys outdoor recreation, going to the movies with his friends and family, and reading on Church art/history while listening to early music, especially Gregorian Chants. He looks forward to continuing his discernment in seminary, so he, God willing, may celebrate the Holy Mass and help bring people to know, love, and serve the Lord.

Marc Jenkins

Our Lady Star of the sea, Pastoral Year

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.    

Deacon Tyler Johnson

pontifical north american college, theology iV

Tyler was born in South Korea but was soon adopted to the United States and has lived in Washington the rest of his life. He was raised Catholic and attended St. Mary's Parish in Centralia where he graduated from high school and attended the community college there. He later attended Central Washington University and received a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts. After a short career in graphic design, he went on to work in youth ministry later becoming the youth minister at his home parish. After several years of working with youth, he decided to enter seminary to pursue the priesthood.

He really enjoys sharing his faith and likes playing the guitar, especially leading praise and worship. Tyler is very excited to be in seminary and is looking forward to serving God's people as a priest.

Josh Nehnevaj

Pontifical North American College, theology I

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

Mount Angel Seminary, Theology II

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 i

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.

Deacon Carlos Orozco

mundelein seminary, theology iV

What do you get with a person with deep interests in drawing and natural sciences? A seminarian of course!

Carlos Orozco emigrated from Mexico as a child, and grew up in the Seattle area. He felt a vocation to the priesthood in his involvement at his home parish Holy Family in White Center.

His creative and explorative mind has greatly influenced his relationship with God and he looks forward to sharing those gifts in service to the community.

Val Park

St. Joseph vancouver, pastoral year

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 iI

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 i

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 has just entered seminary at Mount Angel, where he hopes to be on the soccer team, explore the Oregon Cascades, and grow closer to Christ in a new place. 

Brody Stewart

mount angel seminary, theology iI

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 iiI

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

St. Pius X, Pastoral Year

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 has been attending Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga University.

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

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 involved with Students for Life Club, Bible study group at Catholic Studies House, Knight of Columbus council 11134. Thomas also worked at the House of Charity in Spokane and volunteered at St. Joseph Care Center in Spokane.

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