Meet Fr. Timothy Seavey: Healthy home, parish life nurtured his faith

Fr. Timothy Seavey will be serving as parochial vicar of Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa effective July 1. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)

For the newly ordained Fr. Timothy Seavey, the journey to priesthood was a solid, natural progression that steadily grew from an active prayer life influenced by both his family and his parish.

The son of Leo and Kathryn Seavey, Fr. Seavey, 28, is the oldest of the five children whose ages span 10 years. He said he first felt a call to the priesthood at around 15 years old and was encouraged by his pastor at St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Cave Creek and also the youth director, Joe Cady, to continue to pray about his vocation.

“St. Gabriel’s had a great youth program and we were introduced to so much prayer and catechesis, and I fell in love with the Lord,” he said.

After high school, he persisted in his exploration and deepened his spiritual life while attending Arizona State University where he majored in philosophy. Throughout his discernment, he said he continued with Cady as a mentor at St. Timothy Parish in Mesa.

“His faith that he shared with me was very influential,” Fr. Seavey said of Cady. “He is such a holy man.”

Fr. Seavey said his parents, who now live in San Francisco, were “encouraging in an indirect way.” He and his brothers and sisters were active in their parish, and they served in the choir, were altar servers and were active in youth ministry.

“They knew that being involved in the Church would plant the seeds of faith,” he said. “They fostered a love for the faith and the Church.”

After Pope Benedict concluded the Year for Priests in 2010, the young seminarian entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, where he later earned his Master of Divinity degree.

At the end of his formation, the young seminarian had the opportunity to meet with the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.

“As the ambassador to the United States for the Holy Father, he mentioned several times how important it is to be missionary disciples as priests,” Fr. Seavey said. “To first be disciples, men who are close to Christ — and then missionaries, to go to the peripheries and spread the Gospel. It is all about an encounter with Christ for us as priests and for those to whom we minister.”

Fr. Seavey said the archbishop’s zeal and passion encouraged him as he took the final steps toward ordination.

Fr. Seavey celebrated his first Mass on the feast of Pentecost, June 4, at St. Timothy Church. Before entering the seminary, he received an icon of the Pentecost from a close friend.

“Once I was told the date of the ordination and realized that I would be celebrating my first Mass on Pentecost, that icon became a great reminder that God has been preparing me for this vocation long before I could imagine,” he said.

He said the Holy Spirit was the “divine guide” during his discernment toward the sacred order of priesthood.

“I think He is essential to my initial discovery of the call to the priesthood, the constant protector and defender of my continued formation, and will be the arbiter of grace to allow me to enter into the priesthood,” Fr. Seavey said.

Fr. Seavey said the Diocese of Phoenix has an effective vocations program, and he encourages anyone who feels he has a vocation to contact the vocations director and attend the monthly Mass and brunch for discerners every first Saturday.

He said he is grateful to start his vocation at Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa, which is close to where he grew up. “It is a privilege and a blessing to be in the same neighborhood for my first parish,” Fr. Seavey said.