Sponsor a Seminarian
Dcn. Peter Teresa McConnell, F.H.S. Biography
I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 13, 1987 to Tom and Lisa McConnell. My father was coaching basketball at the time and it’s safe to say that basketball has been a part of my life from the beginning. My family eventually moved to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania and it was there that I grew up and went to school. Upon graduating high school, I enrolled at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania to study to become a teacher and play Division III basketball. The summer after my freshman year in college I had a profound conversion experience while working at Camp Zacchaeus, a summer camp for my home diocese. It was in this conversion experience that I first heard the Lord call me to the priesthood. I entered Franciscan religious life after graduating from college and in 2016 moved to Arizona with 6 other men to help found the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit. I am now in my fourth year of Theology studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and am eagerly awaiting this summer when I will be ordained to the priesthood!
Br. John of the Cross Costantino, F.H.S. Biography
My name is Br. John of the Cross. I am 24 years old. I grew up in Canonsburg, PA, a small town about a half-hour south of Pittsburgh. I attended Catholic grade school and high school. I spent my first 2 years of college at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, where I was on the tennis team and studied mathematics. I was doing great in school and was the best player on the tennis team as a freshman, yet I felt very unfulfilled. I realized that I hadn’t really asked God what He wanted me to do with my life. As soon as I did this, I began to feel an intense desire to serve God and His people as a priest. The strength of this desire led me to enter the seminary for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I spent my last 2 years of college at St. Paul’s Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA, and took classes at Duquesne University where I graduated with a degree in philosophy in 2015. I was assigned to begin theological studies in major seminary at Theological College in Washington, DC, which is attached to The Catholic University of America.
At this time, I began to feel a strong call towards community life, to a life spent in prayer, and to be a part of a community open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I discerned that God was calling me to join the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit, which at that point was not yet an official religious community. Taking a leap of faith, I withdrew from diocesan seminary in May 2016. Shortly thereafter, the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit were officially founded in July of that year and I was able to enter the community as a postulant that August, followed by an entrance into the novitiate on December 23rd, 2016 (my birthday!). I professed temporary vows on June 23, 2018 and am now in second Theology, studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. To God be the glory, my life as a friar is awesome. I love the prayer, fraternity, and ministry that our community life brings us!
Br. Xavier Kozlowski Biography
I grew up in Akron, OH in a good Catholic home. Growing up I always had an awareness of God as well as a firm faith in Jesus as my Savior who had died for my sins. My sisters and I (I’m a triplet) were very involved in our parish youth group and by the end of high school, we were helping to plan and run youth nights, retreats, and missions with our youth minister.
Moving into college, I was seriously considering studying theology to continue to serve the Lord and the Church. However, I ended up going to the University of Dayton to study engineering. I jumped right into getting involved in as many campus ministry events as I could. After my freshman year of college, I was blessed to be able to work for a program called Totus Tuus (Latin for Totally Yours), in which I was placed as a leader of a team of four college students going from parish to parish each week to put on a vacation bible school. While giving myself "totally" to Christ that summer I finally become more open to a potential vocation to the priesthood, but it would be another six years before I finally heard His call more clearly.
The spring semester of my junior year the Lord fulfilled a dream of mine to study abroad in Austria with Franciscan University of Steubenville. Studying theology and a philosophy class while traveling on pilgrimage throughout Europe was truly life changing. I was also able to attend weekly prayer meetings focused on living a life in the Holy Spirit, something I had also longed for after having attended Steubenville Youth Conferences in high school.
When I returned to Dayton that fall, I finally made the leap from engineering to religious studies as my heart burned to serve God's people and to help the lost encounter our loving God. Through prayer I discerned to take an extra year of studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) studying theology before accepting a job as a campus missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).
Vocationally I was still uncertain of the Lord's plans for my life. Knowing that it's easier for Him to steer a moving ship, I began to actively pursue a dating relationship with a beautiful young woman when I moved to Michigan for my 3rd year with FOCUS. It was a challenging year as a first year Team Director at a new FOCUS campus. I learned a lot about myself, particularly about my greater need to die to self, as well as to trust in the Lord. Through dating I discovered my heart was already taken by the Lord and His Church.
When I attended an ordination of some of my now Franciscan brothers, my heart longed to do what they were doing. Through the Friar’s New Year's retreat the Lord continued to clarify this priestly call as well as give me the grace to respond to it. Feeling called to live a missionary life in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and with a strong Franciscan devotion, I was led to join our new community. I'm excited to currently be studying for the priesthood and for all that God has in store for my life. It's been an amazing adventure so far and I can't wait for all that lies ahead. To God be all the glory!
Br. Paul Graupmann Biography
I was born and raised in a small town called Kadoka in South Dakota. It was a town of roughly 628 people. I left for the Navy at the age of 18 and served for four and a half years. It was during my last year in the military that I met Jesus Christ and felt a call to the priesthood.
When I left the Navy, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ to live with my brother who is a FOCUS missionary. It was on a retreat put on by FOCUS that I first met the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit. Nine days later I visited their friary on the Gila River Indian Reservation for the first time. During that visit, I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues.
My life was never the same and about a year later I joined the friars as a postulant. I professed temporary vows on June 23, 2018 and am currently a college student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and am living at the Grey Friars House of Studies in Detroit.