Meet Our New Priests

Father Rene Joseph Pellessier

 

Diocese: Lafayette, LA
Branch of Service: U. S. Navy
University/ Seminary Attended: 
Louisiana State University; St. Joseph Seminary College, Saint Benedict, LA
Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD
High School Attended: Lafayette High School, Lafayette, LA
Hobbies: Brewing beer, reading good books, hunting, fishing

When was the first time you thought you might have a vocation to the priesthood?

Freshman year of high school I felt that I was called to enter the seminary and become a priest.  I was on a retreat when I felt this call.

Who or what events influenced or inspired you in your discernment journey?

A lot of my friends from high school supported me in this journey to become a priest.  My associate pastor in college also helped me tremendously to be brave enough to take the step into the seminary.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Despite my very outgoing and extroverted personality, I can plunge into the depths of other people’s difficult matters by listening to their pain.

What is your favorite scripture passage, why?

“Create a clean heart in me, O God” Ps 51.  I like this passage because I long to have a clean and pure heart that will motivate me to work tirelessly for Christ and for His children.

How did you come to know Jesus Christ personally?

I truly came to know Jesus in the fall and winter of 2009.  I was reading this book called The Fulfillment of all Desire and in this book I came to the realization that God is not an imaginary concept but a person who loves me. Upon realizing this fact, I could tell God, for the first time, “I love you.”

What were some of the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and share your relationship with Christ and His Church?

The biggest event in my life was meeting Father Andrew Merrick, my associate pastor in college, because he showed me that real men can love the Lord with all the fiber of their being.

Have any saints or Church leaders particularly inspired your discernment journey?

The above mentioned church leader as well as St. Bernard of Clairvaux inspired me to pursue the priesthood.  They also helped me to see what it means to live for other people and not simply for myself.

What was your professional and/or academic and/ or military background before applying to be a seminarian applicant?

I was a student at the Louisiana State University studying Mechanical Engineering.  During the summers, I would work construction as a laborer and during the school year, I would work as a caretaker for a man with Cerebral Palsy.

Who are your heroes or people you significantly admire?

Father Andrew Merrick, my associate pastor in college is a man that I greatly admire, as well as my spiritual director, Father Dietrich, who has devoted his life to the people of God.

Father Samuel F. Schneider

Diocese: Superior, WI
Branch of Service: U. S. Navy
University/ Seminary Attended: 
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul, MN
High School Attended: Rhinelander High School, Rhinelander, WI
Hobbies: Woodworking, building, sailing, sports
Team Sports: Football

When was the first time you thought you might have a vocation to the priesthood?

I first thought of the priesthood on a spring break FOCUS mission trip to the Bronx, NY in 2011.  Before that, I rejected every thought of priesthood or religious life.

Who or what events influenced or inspired you in your discernment journey?

I read Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton the summer of 2010 that allowed me to see the value and beauty of religious life.  Then Jesus in the Eucharist on the 2011 spring break mission trip gave me a total desire to do his will and serve God in His Church.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I spent two years at the U.S. Naval Academy before pursing the priesthood.  Also my uncle and great uncle are monks at a Benedictine monastery in Hawaii.  My uncle is the abbot.

What is your favorite scripture passage, why?

Luke 9:23-26.  This is a passage that I have continually returned to reflect on while at the seminary.  It gives me hope to continue pursuing Christ and my cross, while rejecting my old desire to gain the world.

How did you come to know Jesus Christ personally?

Jesus has given me two very intense experiences of his presence in the Eucharist.  The first was while receiving him during daily Mass in 2009, and understanding his true presence.  The second was on the mission trip during Adoration.  I experienced God’s true existence in my life.  Through a consistent schedule of daily prayer at the seminary I came to know Jesus better.

What were some of the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and share your relationship with Christ and His Church?

The previous answer applies here.  The event that made me have total trust in the Catholic Church is my acceptance of believe in Marian apparitions.  Specifically, reading about all of the clues pointing toward the truth in apparitions thus making the leap of faith forced by my logical understanding.

Have any saints or Church leaders particularly inspired your discernment journey?

Merton through his autobiography, Seven Story Mountain.  St. Damien of Molokai is someone I prayed to a lot.  Reading about Father Vincent Capodanno has given me a greater desire to serve as a military chaplain.

What was your professional and/or academic and/ or military background before applying to be a seminarian applicant?

I spent two years as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Who are your heroes or people you significantly admire?

I really admire Father Vincent Capodanno, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Damien of Molokai, Father Emil Kapaun, and Teddy Roosevelt.