A defining moment in 10th grade

John Stapleton experienced a defining moment in his life when attending Holy Family High School. During his sophomore year, his heart turned to Christ.

“Holy Family did help me fall more in love with the faith,” said John, 30, a seminarian at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. “That year in my life was defining for me character wise and who I was becoming.”

That year John took Old Testament and New Testament classes at the Broomfield Catholic school, which further enriched his preparation for the sacrament of confirmation.

“It helped put the faith together and it became more important,” he said. “God was working on me that year.”

John didn’t anticipate his deepening faith would lead him to the seminary. He first felt called to the priesthood while studying at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. His girlfriend and her sister challenged his faith, which only drove him to find more answers. It was at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Loveland that he felt a tug to consider a vocation to the priesthood.

“I took the initiative to discover to my faith even more and I just felt my heart moving toward it,” he said.

John graduated in 2010 and then applied to St. John Vianney Seminary but after an evaluation was told to wait to gain more life experience. He then entered the hotel industry and worked his way up to hotel manager at the Country Inn and Suites in Greeley. He also spent his time volunteering at St. John the Evangelist Parish, where he was confirmed, and chaperoned a youth group during World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil.

“I would delve into the faith deeper, and I would always have that recurring thought that maybe I’m still called to the seminary or priesthood.”

He reapplied to St. John Vianney and was accepted. John is in his third year of seminary. Looking back, John said his Catholic education and time at Holy Family was instrumental to his vocation.

“I think it definitely started to plant the seeds in my life and get me going in the right direction,” he said.

Not only did John learn the faith that guided him to the seminary, but he saw the difference in having a rigorous education after leaving a public elementary school and attending St. John the Evangelist School and Holy Family.

“I’m very grateful for the education at Holy Family because it helped me get those study skills I use today,” he said. “And I saw how important the faith is during my education through Catholic school.”


John’s take on supporters

Q: What would you say to those who supported your education at Holy Family?

A: To my teachers and the priests, I say thank you. I also want to say thank you to my parents who had a Catholic education and wanted that experience for me, too. I saw their enthusiasm for their vocation and how much joy they’ve exuded by living for Christ. I just saw that witness and thank them for that.