Meet Our Seminarians

Donald Amodeo

Zachary Brasseur

Roberto Cartaya

Isaac Cruz

Robert Gale

Christian Galvan

Tyler Gates

Spencer Grant

Nicholas Gunn

Jorel de Guzman

Benjamin Harris

Caleb Malec

Austin Smith

Vincent Washburn

Shawn Young

Andrew Zsebedics

Donald Amodeo

As a newly ordained deacon, I’ve found much to be thankful for in the experience of serving God’s people through preaching and administering the sacraments. Now entering my final year of seminary formation, priesthood feels like it is right around the corner and
I’m more excited than ever to discover what the Lord has in store!

While I’ve lived most of my life in Florida, I was born in frosty Buffalo, NY to parents who knew and lived the Faith. I would later head back up north to the Franciscan University of Steubenville to discern the priesthood. I took some wonderful theology courses, yet ended up with a marketing degree, eventually channeling my creative energy into a successful startup business and authoring the afterlife adventure “Dead &
Godless.”

But the Lord wasn’t done with me yet! That old calling came back, and this time I said yes. As I begin my seventh year as a seminarian, I’m constantly met with new reasons to be grateful. It’s an eventful time to be a Catholic, and I look forward to continuing the adventure with my fellow seminarians this year!

Seminary:St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Studies:Theology IV

Home Parish:St. Mary, Tampa

Zachary Brasseur

Dcn. Zach Brasseur was born and raised in St. Petersburg with his three sisters by his parents, Brad and Kathy. After graduating from St. Pete High, he attended Saint Leo University where he studied history and theology. After four years of college, he entered the seminary for the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

The seeds of a priestly vocation were planted at a young age when Zach was blessed to be acquainted with so many happy and joyful priests who simply loved being priests. Through involvement in Life Teen and campus ministry in college, as well as a deepening prayer life, the Lord invited him to consider more seriously what was already moving in his heart. So, in the fall of 2015 he gave his first “yes” to the Lord and began seminary formation. In April 2021, he was ordained a transitional deacon and anticipates priestly ordination in May 2022. Dcn. Zach is an avid Tampa Bay sports fan with a particular affinity for the Rays.

He also has a burgeoning interest in soccer. In his spare time, Dcn. Zach enjoys golf, listening to punk and blue grass music, and putting pineapple on pizza.

Seminary:St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Studies:4th Theology

Home Parish:St. Paul, St. Petersburg

Roberto Cartaya

My name is Roberto Cartaya and I am 19 years old. I was born in Miami, but moved to Tampa when I was a baby. I graduated from Tampa Catholic in 2021. My father is a pediatric hospitalist at St.Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa and my mother is a homemaker.

I am the second of six siblings. My home parish is St.Lawrence in Tampa. I enjoy the outdoors, playing drums, and reading anything from nonfiction adventure books to biographies of famous people. I love playing and watching baseball and am a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. I am looking forward to growing in faith with other men discerning priesthood.

The thing that attracted me to priesthood personally was being in communion with the people in all aspects of their lives.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Freshman Year

Home Parish:St. Lawrence, Tampa

Isaac Cruz

Isaac Cruz was born in Deland, Florida in 1991. When he was 10, he relocated to New Jersey with his mom, dad and sister. He grew up in the Assemblies of God church, a Pentecostal denomination, for most of his middle school and high school years.

In 2010, He relocated again with his family, this time to Clearwater, Florida. He felt a call to enter the Catholic Church in 2011 but dismissed the idea out of hand. After struggling with his faith for 5 years and going through person struggles for 2 of those years, Isaac felt a call again to enter the Catholic Church and began to discern and research the faith and his misconceptions of the faith in 2015.

In the summer of 2017, He attended Mass at St. Michael the Archangel, in Clearwater, and soon after enrolled in the parishes RCIA program that fall. He soon began to discern a call to the priesthood shortly after that.

He enjoys hanging out with his niece, watching Red Sox games, reading history books and cooking.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Sophomore Year

Home Parish:St. Michael the Archangel, Clearwater

Robert Gale

My name is Robert “Rob” and I am starting seminary as a junior at St. Joseph College Seminary in Covington, Louisiana. I was born in Dunedin and raised in the Clearwater area. My home parish is St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Clearwater.

I am the only child of William “Bill” and Diane Gale. I graduated from Countryside High School in 2010, the International Academy of Design and Technology in 2012, and St. Petersburg College in 2018. My main professional was professional photography in the fields of weddings, events, sports, portraits, and especially photo booth rentals; my personal favorite.

My hobbies vary but what I enjoy doing is playing my musical instruments the Euphonium and Trombone, taking photographs, and hanging around with friends. I have been discerning priesthood for many years. Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old I would read Bible stories, watch kids versions of the Bible, and even played priest in the Mass.

I felt more of a calling when I received my first communion in Israel (Holy Land) in the chapel near the Cenacle of the Upper Room, where the institution of the Eucharist happened. It wasn’t until 2020, I was asked to photograph Fr. Penn’s first Mass.

After Mass, I looked at my camera, looked at Fr. Penn, and said to myself, “I enjoy photography; however, I would feel happier and at peace serving the people of God as a priest”. From that moment I decided to seriously pursue discerning priesthood.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Sophomore Year

Home Parish: St. Michael the Archangel, Clearwater

Christian Galvan

I’ve been a member of St. Stephen Parish in Riverview since 1990 and I am entering Third Theology at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach.

I attended H.B. Plant High School in Tampa from 2001-2005 and the University of Notre Dame from 2005-2009, graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. I am passionate about choral music, having sung in the Notre Dame Glee Club during college and my home parish choir after graduation.

After earning my M.B.A. from The University of Tampa in 2011, I worked in civil engineering design, then in construction management (building cell phone towers), while also participating in various lay ministries at my home parish. It was in allowing the Lord to cultivate a love of ministry during all of these life experiences that the seed of discerning a call to the priesthood was planted. If it is God’s will, I hope to be ordained a transitional deacon in April 2022.

As I continue in formation, I remain most grateful to the Lord for the gift of discerning the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and to the people of God for their continued prayers!

Seminary:St. Vincent Regional Seminary

Studies:3rd Theology

Home Parish:St. Stephen

Tyler Gates

I was born in Albany, NY and lived there for 11 months, then we moved to Clearwater. My parents are both from New York, my dad is from Buffalo and my mom is from Albany. I have one younger brother. My home parish is Christ the King in Tampa. I went to Florida State University and majored in Biological Science.

After graduating college, I moved back to the Tampa Bay Area and started working in the operating room as an OR Care Technician. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, being at the beach, the pool or on a boat. I also enjoy watching any FSU sports, the Buccaneers, and the Lightning.

I felt the call to the priesthood my junior year of high school, however, I was hardheaded and kept ignoring the call. The Lord was very patient with me.

After 7 years, I finally said yes to this calling that the Lord had been inviting me to. One of the many things that attracts me to priesthood is the opportunity to be able to be a part of different families’ lives and to be able to provide the sacraments to them.

Seminary:St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Studies:Pre-Theology I

Home Parish:Christ the King, Tampa

Spencer Grant

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida (and have been a Bucs, Rays, and Lightning fan through thick and thin) to Ralph and Diane Grant and grew up in the Westchase area with my siblings: Kaitlin and Zachary. My family joined the Church in 2008 and we began worshiping at St. Timothy Parish in Lutz where I was later baptized and received my first communion and confirmation.

I graduated from Alonso High School in 2015 and later from Hillsborough Community College with an Associate Degree in Business Administration. I worked for three years at Westchase Golf Club as the Assistant Professional and was planning on attending Florida Gulf Coast University and pursuing their PGA Golf Management Degree before the Lord called me once more to the seminary; this was a call that I’ve felt off and on since the age of fifteen.

What finally convinced me that I was called to seminary was the realization of what a priest does: A priest is present at the most important moment in people’s lives and not only gets to witness these amazing moments but is able to bring Christ into those moments and bring the people present to Christ. The intimacy that a priest has with Christ’s saving work is what continues to drive me as I go into my senior year at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

Seminary:St. John Vianney College Seminary

Studies:Senior Year

Home Parish:St. Timothy, Lutz

Nicholas Gunn

Hello! My name is Nicholas Gunn, Nick for short, and I was born and raised in Dunedin, FL with my sister, Chelsea, and my father and mother. I am a graduate of the University of Florida, Go Gators, where I earned a Bachelors in Finance.

After my time in Gainesville, I spent a year in North Carolina working for Wells Fargo in the Investment Banking division. However, during my time in North Carolina I could not deny the pull on my heart towards pursuing a call to the priesthood. All throughout my life the Lord has given me a love for the sacraments and his Church, which made the decision to discern the priesthood the next logical step.

As I have moved back home from North Carolina it has been a blessing to be welcomed back to the Diocese and my home parish, Our Lady of Lourdes in Dunedin, with open arms. In my free time I enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, video games, theater, stand-up comedy and spending time with my loved ones.

I am an avid football fan and while I love the Bucs, the New York Giants are my team of choice!

Seminary:St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Studies:Pre-Theology II

Home Parish:Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunedin

Jorel de Guzman

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, I grew up in the Diocese of Saint Petersburg. My schooling in both elementary and middle school was at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic School, which later became Mother Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School at Saint Timothy’s. After my completion of middle school, I have just completed my four-year stint at Jesuit High School.

Although my schooling was nearby churches, my home parish since roughly fourth grade has been Mary Help of Christians. Alongside my mom, dad, and my sister, Mary Help’s Salesian spirit has had quite an impact not only in the Liturgy, but also through the extensive reaching out to the young in summer camps. My attraction to the priesthood primarily consists in the realization of God’s guiding hand in my life.

Growing up throughout my childhood in the Diocese of Saint Petersburg has truly been a blessing that I can scarcely start to put into words. Although I will never be worthy to answer the call, I have full confidence that putting my trust in the Lord will make up for any deficiency that I bring to the table.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Freshman Year

Home Parish:Mary Help of Christians, Tampa

Benjamin Harris

I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to a Catholic family of 6, with two brothers and a sister. When I was 7 or 8, I moved to Florida, where I have now spent the majority of my life. I first moved from Indiana to the Pinellas County area, but later moved to Pasco County where I spent most of my years, graduating from Hudson High School in 2015.

Shortly after high school, I spent a short time in Massachusetts as a full-time missionary with the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy in 2016. Since then and before entering seminary, I worked in the food industry, elderly care, and most recently, highway construction and maintenance. In 2020, I decided to entertain a call that I felt in my heart for years since I was 18 and entered seminary at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, Florida.

I am now going on to my sophomore year of philosophy at St. Joseph Seminary College at St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, Louisiana. I enjoy cooking, grilling, and playing sports.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Sophomore Year

Home Parish:St. Theresa, Spring Hill

Caleb Malec

I am a parishioner at St. Stephen in Riverview. I was the 4th of 5 children born in New Jersey. I grew up here in Florida where I attended St. Stephen Catholic middle school, Tampa Preparatory high school for two years and I graduated from Riverview public high school in 2018.

Growing up I loved to hang out and adventure in the outdoors with friends and family as well as play sports, especially mountain biking, motocross, and lacrosse. Right out of high school I became a full-time missionary with NET Ministries. The following year I became another full-time missionary for Life Teen, living at Camp Covecrest.

Thankfully, Catholicism has always been a part of my life. I began taking the faith much more seriously in high school. Ever since restoring my relationship with God, I’ve had this zeal to help others seek the mercy and joy filled freedom the Lord provides. The many young priests I was involved with during parts of high school and during my two years as a missionary helped me to realize this desire to pursue the priesthood and to serve God and His Church in that way!

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Sophomore Year

Home Parish:St. Stephen, Riverview

Austin Smith

I grew up in Brandon, Florida, attending my current home parish of Nativity since I was a little boy. Before entering seminary, I attended Jesuit High School in Tampa and felt my call to be a priest the summer before my junior year of high school while sitting in solitude and silence.

After graduating, I moved to Nashville for two years where I ministered to teens in middle school and high schoolers with a group called the Love Good Apprenticeship Program. While in Nashville, my calling to priesthood was deepened, and after a year at Ave Maria university, I joined the seminary in the fall of 2020.

I am so excited to be going into my second year of seminary and I hope to continue my tradition of eliminating the competition in soccer and ping-pong (while I do enjoy these two sports, I am actually not as good as I advertise). I also enjoy fitness in general and was a wrestler in high school. Outside of the sports world, I have been known to be ruthless at Monopoly, Catan, and most other board games.

My motto is to have mercy at every opportunity. Except in Monopoly.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Sophomore Year

Home Parish:Nativity, Brandon

Vincent Washburn

I am a seminarian from St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Hudson. I was born in Tarpon Springs, FL and have lived in Hudson my entire life. I attended public schools and graduated from Fivay High School in 2016.

After attending PascoHernando State College, I transferred to USF Tampa in 2018 and graduated in May 2020 with a degree in Psychology. I was involved in my parish for many years as a volunteer before joining the staff in 2018 as the youth minister; eventually becoming responsible for Liturgical Ministries and our outreach to the sick and homebound as well.

My hobbies include watching movies and TV, reading, playing piano, exercising, and hanging out with friends. While the idea of becoming a priest has been in my head since a child, I seriously began discerning the possibility of a vocation during my transition from high school to college.

Encountering a priest much like myself, who joyfully lived out the gospel in his own vocation opened my eyes to the Lord’s call for me in my life. After much prayer and discernment, I have been accepted as a seminarian beginning Pre-Theology this year at St. Joseph’s Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana.

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Pre-Theology I

Home Parish:St. Michael the Archangel, Hudson

Shawn Young

Hello! My name is Shawn Young, I am 22 years old, and my home parish is Our Lady of Lourdes in Dunedin. I was born in Hartford, Connecticut but I moved to Florida when I was only 18 months old, where I lived in Port Orange until 2012, when my family moved to Dunedin.

I grew up Catholic and I have always found the faith to be fascinating, but the faith never was my own until I got confirmed my freshman year of high school. I graduated from East Lake High School in 2017, where I then studied at St. Petersburg College where I graduated with my general AA, I then transferred to the University of South Florida where I studied 18th-20th Century European History.

The call to priesthood initially came to me when I was attending a Steubenville Youth Conference my sophomore year of high school, but I knew that I was nowhere near mature enough to take the step towards seminary. I spent some time in the world working, when in early 2021, I decided to take the leap of faith and join the seminary.

In my free time, I enjoy Marvel movies, reading historical novels, spending time outside with my friends, and supporting my Tampa Bay teams, especially the Tampa Bay Lightning! St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!

Seminary:St. Joseph Seminary College

Studies:Junior Year

Home Parish:Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunedin

Andrew Zsebedics

I was born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland for fourteen years. I am the third child in a family of six kids, with two wonderful parents. I attended St. Martin of Tours Catholic School from Kindergarten to my graduation of eighth grade in May 2014. I moved to Tampa, Florida in the summer of 2014.

After moving, I attended Sickles High School until graduating in May 2018. Throughout high school, I played football as I really enjoy the fast pace of this sport. I also love being outdoors in nature, whether it be the beach, the mountains, or the backyard: in addition, I do enjoy sunsets, cloudy days, naps, cool weather, and good cup of coffee. My home parish is St. Lawrence located in Tampa.

Being involved in the youth group and young adult group, St. Lawrence has been a place of great spiritual growth. What attracts me to the priesthood is the love and joy for Christ’s people shared in the sacraments through the priest.

As I begin my fourth year at St. John Vianney College Seminary, I am excited to continue on this awesome adventure with my fellow seminarians.

Seminary:St. John Vianney College Seminary

Studies:Senior Year

Home Parish:St. Lawrence, Tampa

All seminarian pictures are done by Will Staples Photography