John Yankton

Home Parish: St. Mary’s Church, Auburn

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I entered Minor Seminary in 2018. Before I entered seminary, I earned an associates degree in networking from Cayuga Community College. I entered the seminary because I think God has called me to live for his Church. I’ve been thinking about the priesthood since my first semester in college. I thought about the priesthood more and more from then on.

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
The major reason for my considering the seminary was watching Bishop Sheen videos and being challenged by a former English teacher. In my first semester at college, the English teacher leveled a few challenges to my faith. I had no answers at the time. However, it got me thinking about the priesthood and my faith in general. I remembered some EWTN videos on G.K. Chesterton as well as some Bishop Sheen videos. I could not get enough of the good bishop and the excellent author. I would debate myself, think about the teachings of the church, muse about my life, go to confession, etc. It seemed as though I hadn’t lived a day until that day, when I decided to give the priesthood a shot. While preparing to go to seminary, I would go back in forth on my decision, but I realized I would go back and forth forever until I gave the priesthood a chance.

Interests:
I am interested in Thomas Aquinas, philosophy, the extraordinary form of the Mass, the ordinary form, Gregorian chant, history, apologetics and reading books. I fell in love with the works of Bishop Sheen and G.K. Chesterton. I enjoy some video games, audiobooks and spending time with my brothers and my family.


Greg Sheffield

Home Parish: Christ the Redeemer Parish at St. Casimir’s

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I entered seminary in 2015. Before I entered the seminary, I attended Franciscan University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy with a minor in Theology. I entered the seminary because I truly believe that God is calling me to the priesthood.

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
The path to the “priesthood proper” began with my fascination of and resulting urge to dive into theology which was sparked from both my dad showing me the parallel between Isaiah 53 and Christ’s Passion and, that same weekend, attending a talk from Dr. Scott Hahn. After both of these experiences, I wanted to become a theologian. That yearning eventually morphed into a desire to consider the priesthood.

Interests:
I love to read philosophy, theology and other literature. I also love to have a good time with friends and family. Some of my other interests include listening to music, watching movies, playing military strategy games, occasionally playing electric guitar, and I love to play paintball.


James Muscatella

Home Parish: Parish of the Holy Family, Gates

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I entered St. John’s Seminary for pre-theology studies in 2018. Before entering the seminary, I studied childhood and special education, with a concentration in history, at Roberts Wesleyan College, after which I attended The College at Brockport (SUNY) part-time for a few semesters to take graduate level classes in literacy education. I also worked as a Student Behavioral Assistant for three years as an employee of Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, primarily at the organization’s Alternative High School. I entered the seminary, despite how wonderful and rewarding my experiences were working in education, because I felt that Christ was calling me to explore a life more united to His salvific work.

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
The number of instrumental personal influences and God-given moments which lead me to discernment are far too numerous to speak to adequately in this form. However, it would feel improper not to mention that my family, particularly my best friend and brother Anthony, my parents and both sets of my grandparents served as my first great examples of well lived lives that urged me, in their own ways, to in turn live as Christ calls each of us.

Beyond this, my work with youths, both as a part of my time at BOCES and my involvement in the Senior High Youth Group at my parish, served to point me towards discernment of the ordained priesthood. In both of these roles I was given a great gift; I was privileged to share in the real, joyous, and sometimes tumultuous lives of young people as they worked out their developing identities and discovered their own God-given goodness. It was through this work I felt, in greater and greater ways, that the Lord our God may have been calling me for quite some time to love Him and His people here in a special way: as, it is to be seen, one of His priests.

Interests:
I have been interested in music for many years. While I am very much an amateur, years of taking guitar lessons from a talented and faithful man, now a close family friend, helped lead me to a greater love and appreciation of our beautiful faith. I also enjoy reading, especially the works of G.K. Chesterton and Robert Hugh Benson. While I try not to spend too much time watching a screen, I have a deep appreciation for some science fiction programs and movies, especially (certain) Star Wars films and episodes from the original series run of The Twilight Zone.  Spending time as a family was a central and happy part of my upbringing, and even today as I write this I look forward to the next time I will be able to go fishing or watch an episode of Jeopardy, loudly, with my family.


Joseph Maurici

Home Parish: St. Mary of the Assumption

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I began my studies in 2014 at Becket Hall.  Before I enter

ed the seminary program I spent six years in the retail sector.  These years were spent after college trying to figure out what to do with my life.  After a lot of thought and prayer and a few gentle, and not so gentle, nudges from God, I decided to apply to the diocese for seminary studies.

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
I don’t think I can point to any one thing that pushed me toward the seminary.  It was more of a gradual accumulation of experiences and discussions that pointed me in the right direction, although it took me years to understand and appreciate that the call has been present to me since high school.

Interests:
My interests and hobbies are eclectic, ranging from sports and literature to model building and cinema.  I enjoy hiking and swimming, science fiction, games, and music, again, running the gamut from classical to modern rock.


Joseph Martuscello

Home Parish: Ss. Isidore and Maria Torribia Parish

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I entered seminary the fall of 2015 and before then I attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, studying for my undergraduate degree in philosophy while being an active member in the Priestly Discernment Program which provided priestly formation as well. I chose to enter seminary because I wanted to continue my discernment to the priesthood under the guidance of the church to discover if this is really who God is calling me to be. I have experienced great desire to become a priest, to serve God and his people in a priestly way. I want to be as open as I possibly can to the will of God and to the Holy Spirit working in my life. It is the fact that I have experienced the desire to become a priest while being open in following through with this vocation to the priesthood. I am reminded and encouraged by Pope Saint John Paul’s words, “Be not afraid!”

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
At a young age I was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi for choosing to live such a radical life for our Lord and his people. I was attracted to his heroism of going against the tides of the world and having such great desire to become the least, and I can remember thinking, “I want to do something heroic just like Francis.” So St. Francis has truly been an influence in my discernment to the priesthood and continues to be.

Interests:
One of my interests is philosophy, because it was through philosophy where I developed a deeper conviction of my faith. It has given me reason for what we believe as Catholics. I see it as a necessary companion of faith especially in this skeptical world in which we live today.


Steven Lewis

Home Parish: St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I worked for 14 years at The College at Brockport, State University of New York in the IT Office. I began formation for the priesthood at Becket Hall 2014-15, and expect to finish my pre-theology studies at St. John’s Seminary in Boston in 2015-16. I entered the seminary because I believe that’s really the best place to figure out whether God is calling me to the priesthood.

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
We live in a world of constant distractions. Giving up television was one factor in helping me find more time for God. In developing a better prayer life, I was able to see the action of God in my life, and the encouragement to reconsider this possibility at this time of my life.

Interests:
I have always seen myself as a student, so the opportunity to study full-time is a gift. I often read science fiction. I am passionate about the sacred choral polyphony of the Renaissance and I enjoy every opportunity I have to enter the racquetball court.


Aaron Kelly

Home parish:  Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick Parish, Owego

What year did you enter the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I entered the college seminary in September 2013 after graduating high school, because I have felt a calling to the priesthood ever since I was little. When I was asked what I wanted to be throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I would say “a priest.”  My dad tells me the story that when I was little he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, “a father,” and his response was, “like me?” I said “no, like father at Church.” The moments that make the call even more real are when people in the parish, or friends at school come up to me and say that I will make a good priest.  I also know that I am headed in the right direction by the overwhelming peace I have when I am at Mass or in the Church serving the people of God.

Interests:
I play the organ and piano, and sing.  I have been able to continue my music here at the seminary by singing in our schola, as well as playing the organ for Masses. Two years ago I founded the Diocese of Rochester’s Walk for Vocations which raised money for the education of seminarians. I would have to say that two of my favorite saints are St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. John Paul II.  Both Maximilian Kolbe and John Paul II are great examples to me of the priesthood and how the priest’s primary vocation is service to the people of God.


Sean Bassler

Home Parish: St. Mary Our Mother Parish, Horseheads, NY

Year you entered the seminary? What did you do before you entered the seminary? Why did you enter the seminary?
I entered seminary in the 2017-2018 academic year after graduating from college with a  Bachelor’s degree in May 2017.  I had been discerning a vocation to the priesthood during my last two years of high school and throughout college, so when I still felt called going into my senior year of college, I formally applied to become a Diocese of Rochester seminarian.  Specifically, I entered seminary because I saw enough signs in my life that God was calling me to priesthood, and I feel I cannot ignore those signs.

What was one of the major influences leading you to consider priesthood?
Youth ministry at the local, diocesan, and national levels was a major influence in helping my faith flourish and, ultimately, leading me to consider priesthood.  At the end of my sophomore year of high school and during the following summer, I became increasingly involved in Catholic youth ministry at my parish and in the diocese. This led me to attend a summer youth conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, and while there I first discerned a call to priesthood.

Interests:
My hobbies include listening to music both new and old, reading books, and hiking.  I also played trumpet in school from 4th grade through 12th grade, including jazz band, marching band, and church accompaniment in middle school and high school.  Academically, I am interested in all aspects of theology as well as counseling theory and both 20th-century and contemporary philosophy.