Bishop Olmsted to Ordain Newest Priests at 10 a.m., June 3, at All Saints Catholic Church in Mesa

PHOENIX (May 30, 2017) — The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, will ordain three men to the priesthood at a special ceremony beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 3, at All Saints Catholic Church, 1534 N. Recker Road in Mesa. All are welcome to attend the Mass of Ordination.

Deacons Daniel Cruz, 31, and Timothy Seavey, 28, and Brother Athansius Fornwalt, FHS, 32, will be surrounded by hundreds of family, friends and supporters as they receive Holy Orders. They are among nearly 600 others who will become Catholic priests this year throughout the United States.

“As priests and spiritual fathers, Fr. Cruz, Fr. Seavey and Fr. Fornwalt will continue Christ’s work of healing and redemption, bringing glad tidings to the poor, and being faithful witnesses to the Lord Jesus,” Bishop Olmsted said. “I am grateful to God for their families and others in their lives who have helped nurture their faith and their vocation to the priesthood.”

Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which Holy Orders will be conferred and the three men will become priests, enabling them to minister in Christ’s name through the Church. The Rite of Ordination ceremony includes various rituals, rich in meaning and history.

Cruz grew up in Mesa and attended Holy Cross Parish. He was studying at Arizona State University to be a high school science teacher when he felt called to serve God as a priest. Cruz earned his Master of Divinity degree from St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colorado.

As a high school sophomore, Seavey was prompted by the Holy Spirit to begin discerning the priesthood. A member of St. Timothy Parish in Mesa, his parents encouraged him and his siblings to attend Mass regularly and participate in parish ministry. Seavey earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

Fornwalt is a member of the Franciscans of the Holy Spirit religious order in Laveen. A Pennsylvania native, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Mt. Aloysius College and his Master of Divinity from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He currently serves the Native American Ministry of the Diocese of Phoenix, and served in campus ministry at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale. Fornwalt’s ordination to the priesthood marks the first for the newly instituted Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit.

Following their ordination, Fr. Cruz will begin his priestly ministry at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Phoenix; Fr. Seavey will serve at Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa; and Fr. Fornwalt is assigned to St. John the Baptist Parish in Laveen.

According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate’s (CARA) annual national survey, 82 percent of the 2017 class of men ordained to the priesthood were encouraged by about four people in their lives including parish priests, friends or other parishioners. The report also says that ordinands were, on average, 16 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood, and religious ordinands reported they knew the members of their religious institute an average of six years before entering.

In the United States, the total number of potential ordinands for the class of 2017, 590, is slightly up from 548 in 2016 and down from 595 in 2015.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was established Dec. 2, 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Led by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, more than 1.1 million Catholics make this diverse, vibrant and faith-filled diocese their home.


The Class of 2017: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood” can be found online. Among the survey’s major findings:

  • The average age for the Class of 2017 is 34. Since 1999, the average age of responding ordinands has decreased by approximately two months each year, from an average of 36 in 1999 to the current average age of 34.
  • Seven in 10 ordinands are Caucasian and three in four were born in the United States. One in four respondents were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland and Vietnam. On average, respondents born in another country have lived in the United States for 12 years.
  • Most ordinands have been Catholic since infancy, and eighty percent report that both of their parents are Catholic and more than a third (35 percent) have a relative who is a priest or a religious. The average age of conversion was 21, among those who became Catholic later in life.
  • Nearly half completed college (43 percent) before entering the seminary. One in six (18 percent) entered the seminary with a graduate degree. The most common fields of study for ordinands before entering the seminary are theology or philosophy, liberal arts, and business.
  • Nearly half of responding ordinands (between 40 and 50 percent) attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling, and 59 percent participated in a religious education program in their parish for an average of seven years.
  • About six in ten ordinands (57 percent) report some type of full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary, most often in education. One in 20 ordinands report prior service in the U.S. Armed Forces. About one in eight ordinands (12 percent) report that either parent had a military career in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Four in five (75 percent) indicate they served as altar servers and about half (52 percent) report service as a lector. Forty seven percent of responding ordinands reported participating in “Come and See” weekends at their seminary or religious institute.
  • About seven in 10 report regularly praying the rosary (73 percent) and participating in Eucharistic adoration (77 percent) before entering the seminary.

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