For the second straight year, the Archdiocese of Seattle will have four new priests, as Archbishop J. Peter Sartain ordains Deacons Chad Green, Chris Hoiland, Jeffrey Moore and Colin Parrish to the priesthood this month.
“They’re an interesting mix of personalities,” said Father Bryan Dolejsi, director of vocations, with “a diversity of different gifts and backgrounds.”
But they have some important things in common.
“All four of them have had very powerful experiences of the risen Christ,” Father Dolejsi said. “All four of them, their motivation is to really love God and love God’s people.”
And “all four of them have a heart of service — they want to really give of themselves for God’s people and help the church grow.”
The ordination Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, at St. James Cathedral. To see photos and video from the event, visit NWCatholic.org/ordinations2017. To learn more about vocations to the priesthood or religious life, visit SeattleVocations.com.
Chad Green. Photo: Stephen Brashear / At Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon, in 2015. Photo: Courtesy Deacon Chad Green
Chad Stuart Green
Born: April 24, 1976, in Bellevue
Home parish: Baptized at St. Vincent de Paul, Federal Way; raised mostly at St. Theresa, Federal Way; as an adult, Blessed Sacrament, Seattle
Seminary: St. Patrick’s (Menlo Park, California), Theological College (Washington, D.C.) and Mount Angel (St. Benedict, Oregon)
Favorite field of study: I appreciated how all the fields are interconnected and build on one another. One particular topic that interests me is the relationship of theology to integral ecology, as presented in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.
Favorite saint: St. Andre Bessette. The rector of my residence hall at Notre Dame told us to “remember that a future saint used to stay here in this building.” That was Brother Andre Bessette, from Montreal, who stayed there several times when he visited his Holy Cross brothers in Indiana in the early 1900s. Living there for three years made me feel a bond with Brother Andre, and I began to learn more about his life.
Hobbies: Reading classic novels and watching and playing sports, especially soccer and tennis.
Appointment: Holy Family, Kirkland
Chad Green grew up the second of three kids in a Massgoing suburban family. After graduating from public high school, he spent two years at the University of Washington, then transferred to Notre Dame.
“Something about it just drew me,” he said. “Maybe Mary’s intercession or influence.” Being in a place where the faith was integrated into everyday life, where most of his friends were Catholic and Mass was celebrated in his dorm, was “a very powerful experience,” he said.
He studied civil engineering and sociology, then got a master’s in civil engineering at Stanford. Returning to Seattle in 2001, he was excited to be designing buildings downtown, but he struggled to find the kind of Catholic community he’d had in college. That changed when he joined the young adult choir at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Seattle, which became “a very tight group of friends.”
As his career and faith life blossomed, he hoped he’d meet someone and get married. But people kept asking him, “Oh, have you thought about priesthood?” As he got more involved at church, he became more open to the idea.
A turning point came in 2005 as he watched the TV coverage around the death of Pope John Paul II, especially the images of him as a young priest hiking and ministering to couples. “Something in my heart just said, ‘I wonder if I could be a priest like that.’”
After entering seminary in 2007, he withdrew twice, in 2011 and 2013, feeling “loneliness and confusion and lack of clarity.” But he was struck by God’s persistence in calling him back toward the priesthood.
“I thought that the loneliness was a sign that I was in the wrong place,” he said, but eventually he realized loneliness is part of every life. While on retreat in 2014, he came to understand that “God was with me in the loneliness, and then I didn’t feel alone in my loneliness anymore.”
Since returning to seminary in 2015, he’s felt at peace and eager to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Seattle. “Being a priest, you get to be in a lot of people’s lives in really special ways.”
Christopher Hoiland. Photo: Stephen Brashear / Playing goalie at Mount Angel in 2016. Photo: Conor Baer
Christopher Andrew Hoiland
Born: Feb. 14, 1986, in Kent
Home parish: Our Lady of Lourdes, Vancouver
Seminary: St. Patrick’s (Menlo Park, California) and Mount Angel (St. Benedict, Oregon)
Favorite field of study: Moral theology, because it helps us understand why the church teaches what she does, and it helps us navigate the many moral issues that our society deals with.
Favorite saint: Pope St. John Paul II, because of his joyful proclamation and living out of the Gospel. When one looks at him, one knows that they are looking at a holy man.
Hobbies: Hiking, backpacking, soccer, baseball, football and golf.
Appointment: St. Mary Magdalen, Everett
Faith wasn’t a huge part of Chris Hoiland’s childhood — he was more occupied with riding his bike and playing sports with his friends. “The faith was something that I did on Sundays, and that was about it,” he said.
When he got confirmed at 17, he stopped going to Mass. The summer after he graduated from high school, an older friend who was helping out with the parish youth group kept inviting him back. Hoiland told him, “I’m too old, I don’t do that anymore,” but eventually he gave in and went to an event.
“I felt a little awkward, but I couldn’t help feeling, when I left, like I wanted to go back the next week,” he said. “I knew there was something there. … There was this joy that they had that I hadn’t experienced in a while.”
He began attending regularly, then became a volunteer leader. “That’s where my conversion really happened,” he said. “Once I started to help out with that ministry, it gave me a peace, it gave me a direction, it gave me something to give myself to.”
One summer he was helping out at a Catholic camp in Oregon, and one of the chaplains asked if he’d thought about the priesthood. He hadn’t. “I always thought I would go to the University of Oregon and get a business degree and follow in my dad’s footsteps,” he said.
He prayed about the priesthood and initially concluded: “This is not for me. God’s not calling me.” But the idea kept coming back.
“Every once in a while I would get this feeling like: I think I really want to be a priest. And as much as I would try to hide from it, as much as I would try to run away from it, it never left me,” he said.
“I’d be praying one time and imagine myself as a priest up on the altar celebrating the Eucharist. I’d be praying one time and I’d think about how many opportunities priests have to minister to people and … how much good priests bring to the world, and I just felt like I wanted to be a part of that.”
After graduating from St. Martin’s University in 2011, he entered seminary, which has been a challenge, a blessing and “a wild ride,” he said.
“I’m beside myself that I’m going to be ordained a priest,” he said. “This is so much bigger than something I could ask for, and it’s going to be gifted to me, and it’s just incredible — being invited into so many people’s lives at such privileged moments.”
Jeffrey Moore. Photo: Stephen Brashear / Playing an ancient Roman board game in Jerusalem in 2016. Photo: Deacon Andrew Marr
Jeffrey Hearron Moore
Born: July 18, 1988, in Lewisville, Texas
Home parish: St. Bernadette, Burien
Seminary: Mount Angel (St. Benedict, Oregon) and Mundelein (Mundelein, Illinois)
Favorite field of study: Canon law and church history. Canon law because my original field of study was engineering, which is very practical and concrete, and canon law takes the theology of the church and makes it very practical and concrete. Church history because there are so many lies about the history of the church that float around in society, and it is good to know the whole story.
Favorite saint: St. Francis de Sales. He is the most merciful and practical saint I have ever read. He helps people find God in their current situation.
Hobbies: Board games (Dominion, Seven Wonders, Power Grid, etc.) and video games (Civilization, Tomb Raider, etc.).
Appointment: Immaculate Conception, Mount Vernon; St. Charles, Burlington; St. Catherine Mission, Concrete; Sacred Heart, La Conner; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sedro-Woolley
Growing up in Texas, Jeffrey Moore was baptized Presbyterian but went to church only occasionally. When he was 9, his parents divorced, and he moved to Seattle with his sister and Catholic mother. He started attending St. Bernadette School, enjoyed his religion classes, and decided it would be “very logical” to become Catholic, which he did in 1999.
While at Kennedy High School, he researched the reasons behind the church’s teachings, which gave him the conviction he needed to stay Catholic through college. A self-proclaimed “huge nerd” — he was Kennedy’s valedictorian and aced the SAT — he decided to attend Olin College, a tiny, super-selective engineering school outside of Boston.
His classmates there enjoyed debating hot-button issues, and Moore “spent a lot of time arguing for the faith,” he said. “In high school I was the smart kid; in college I was the Catholic kid.”
During his junior year, he attended a charismatic retreat and had a startlingly powerful experience of God’s presence. For the next six months, prayer came spontaneously, like talking with a friend. He even found himself “daydreaming about God during class, which was very odd.”
In the midst of that, “God put on my heart that I had been making excuses not to look at the priesthood,” he said. “I was very surprised, because I never thought that I would be called to the priesthood.”
He interpreted it as “a test of faith.” He figured he’d do his due diligence — talk to a vocations director, go on a discernment retreat — and then move on, probably toward law school.
“The problem is that as I began to think about priesthood and open myself to that idea for the first time, it became attractive,” he said.
The summer before his senior year, sitting with his laptop on the floor of his apartment, he faced a moment of truth: register to take the LSAT, or email the vocations director in Seattle?
“I realized that if I didn’t go to seminary I would always wonder ‘what if,’ but if I didn’t go to law school and the priesthood thing worked out, I would never look back.”
Eight years later, he’s looking forward to the “thrill” of serving in parishes full time. “I’m so excited to finally just be with people and to do the work, to do the priestly work,” he said. “That’s going to be a huge blessing.”
Colin Parrish. Photo: Courtesy Deacon Colin Parrish / At the Mundelein boathouse in 2016. Photo: Rose Tomassi
Colin Stephens Parrish
Born: Jan. 7, 1985, in Seattle
Home parish: Blessed Sacrament, Seattle
Seminary: Bishop White (Spokane) and Mundelein (Mundelein, Illinois)
Favorite field of study: Theological anthropology. The study of what God has revealed about the human person really dovetails with my interests in philosophy.
Favorite saint: St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was an intense personality who had a great desire, and this, despite her romantic or syrupy language, is something that I am inspired by.
Hobbies: Hiking, drawing, going to concerts, Wiffle ball.
Appointment: St. Luke, Shoreline; Bishop Blanchet High School, Seattle
Colin Parrish grew up in a basically secular family, but his parents sent him to Catholic schools for the education. Attending school Masses and Stations of the Cross at St. Catherine of Siena in Seattle made a deep impression on him.
At O’Dea High School, he played varsity soccer for three years, then quit his senior year. “I was just really depressed and upset with my own life,” he said. “No one gave me a reason for living.”
The prevailing ethos of consumerism and the American Dream utterly failed to satisfy his desire for something deeper, and he was “seething with anger.”
“The hardcore punk scene was helpful,” he said, as a “stabilizing influence.”
He also entered RCIA that year. “There was this vague sense of a need for quote-unquote religion, whatever that means,” he said. “I was looking for an identity.”
He became Catholic at Easter 2003, “barely” graduated the next month, and left for the Navy.
Deployed in the Pacific on the USS Abraham Lincoln and despairing over the meaning of his life, he started talking with a Catholic priest onboard, Father Norbert Karava.
“I was just blown away by this guy … by how different he was and how lively he was,” he said. He came to realize “there was somebody else present, there was another love present” in this priest.
“And when I asked him about it, he goes, ‘Well, this is God, this is Jesus.’”
Parrish had “a really big conversion of heart,” and Father Karava started teaching him all the stuff he hadn’t paid attention to in RCIA. Eventually he asked if Parrish had ever thought about being a priest.
“And it just really clicked for me,” he said. “I just knew that this was the way that God wanted me to be happy.” He decided “to start orienting myself … toward the priesthood.”
After he got out of the Navy, in late 2008, he got connected with Communion and Liberation, a lay movement that meets at Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle.
“They really helped me understand the depths of human desire, and that nothing in this life can really answer the human heart — that basically the human heart is … greater than the whole world, and so only God can answer the desire of the human heart.”
Parrish entered seminary in 2009. An important moment in his formation came in 2014, when he attended a summer spirituality program at the Institute for Priestly Formation in Nebraska, which taught him “how to pray deeply, how to really foster this relationship with Christ,” he said.
As a priest, he’s looking forward to celebrating Mass, preaching, teaching, hearing confessions and helping people discover that “Christ can make them alive.”
This story originally ran in Northwest Catholic's June 2017 print edition under the title "Hearts of service."
Kevin Birnbaum is the editor/associate publisher of Northwest Catholic and a member of Seattle’s Blessed Sacrament Parish. Contact him at Kevin.Birnbaum@seattlearch.org.
Kevin Birnbaum es el editor de la revista Noroeste Católico/Northwest Catholic y miembro de la Parroquia del Sagrado Sacramento en Seattle. Pueden contactarle en: Kevin.Birnbaum@seattlearch.org.