Seminarians Ryan Wiensch, Max Rich and Michael Salemi were admitted into Candidacy on March 2 at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. This marks the next step on their journey toward ordination. Candidacy is the first, formal recognition by the Church that the seminarians are considered potential priests.

The trio are completing their Philosophy studies this semester and will begin studying Theology in the Fall of 2024.

“This is a significant step in declaring publicly before God and His church the desire to continue the path towards priesthood,” said Fr. Kurt Perea, vocations director for the Diocese of Phoenix. “We should all, as a people of God, keep these men in our prayers and I am grateful for their open hearts to follow God’s will.”

There are currently 43 seminarians in the Diocese of Phoenix, and several young men are currently in the application process. Three men, Deacon Jesus Martinez-Vargas, Deacon Joseph Nguyen, and Deacon Elijah Delello, will be ordained to the priesthood on June 1 at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale, Ariz.