Mr. Matthew Leung
Year in Formation
San Francisco Solano (Rancho Santa Margarita)
School of Rock
Favorite Music Genre
I was born in Mission Viejo, CA in 1998. I am the middle child of five. I have three brothers and one sister. I grew up Catholic in a family that I am so grateful to have. Throughout my childhood my older brother and older sister both were diagnosed with cancer. These cancer journeys brought my family closer to the Lord and to His Church. Eventually my sister passed away from her brain cancer in 2011 at the age of 19. She had loved the Lord to the end and was always encouraging me to get involved in our parish youth group, so I did. All throughout high school I participated in youth group and went to Steubenville Conferences and other retreats that led me to greater faith, nurturing my slowly-growing thoughts of being a priest. Youth ministry was pivotal for me. I became a worship leader and helped with the Confirmation program. My fellowship with friends from youth group helped me devote my life to the Lord more and more and to this day they are still my closest friends. I graduated from Trabuco Hills high school in 2016 and attended Gonzaga University to study psychology. At college I met some seminarians studying there and we became good friends, encouraging me to do whatever the Lord was calling me to. In my junior year of college I entered Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga University and graduated in 2020. Now I attend Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. God is so good.
What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?
Spending time with other guys who were discerning or already in the seminary really gave me the courage and faith to take the next steps at every stage of the process. I didn’t feel alone and I could see that if God was taking care of these guys, He would take care of me. From the beginning of high school until I entered seminary, faithful young Catholics have kept me on the path of discernment. Even now, fellowship with other seminarians and young faithful laypeople helps me stay rooted when I feel unsure of my vocation.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
The most influential people in my discernment process were holy young men and holy priests. To see that other young men desired holiness and were open to the priesthood made me feel okay with talking about it and praying about it more. Holy priests helped me to see what the priesthood was truly about. They opened my eyes to the fact that it is one of the most privileged ways of serving the Lord. Without the holy young men in my life (some of whom are in the seminary now) and without holy priests, I can confidently say that I probably would not be in the seminary today.
Describe the moment that you knew you wanted to take the next steps to become a priest?
For me, vocational affirmations occurred gradually over time. I remember God just slowly opened all the doors. First, I chose to go to a college that ended up having a diocesan seminary. What are the odds of that?? Then when I felt comfortable seeing myself one day in the seminary I emailed my vocation director about it. Then he told me that our diocese was going to start sending guys to that very same seminary at my college the following year. Of all the places I could have gone to college I chose a place with a seminary where young men from my home town were studying for the priesthood. I knew God was telling me to just enter – so I did.