Transitional diaconate ordination for two seminarians

David Arellano and Seth Michael Seaman were ordained deacons on May 20 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, bringing them one step closer to the priesthood. They received the Call to Orders by Bishop Barry C. Knestout on March 30.


David Arellano

David Arellano was born on September 19, 1997, in Orange, California, then moved to Mexico soon after, where he lived for nine years with his grandmother and aunt. Arellano returned to the United States in 2006 after his grandmother’s death to live in Rocky Mount with his mother, Maria, and his only sibling, Juan.

Arellano said his family and friends helped him adjust to his new life, which included learning to speak English as a fourth grader. His home parish is St. Francis of Assisi, Rocky Mount.

Arellano began discerning his vocation in the eighth grade, when he started attending church youth group and became an altar server. He described his family as being “culturally Catholic,” but said “something in me stirred” as he learned more about the faith.

“I think God is calling me to something greater than myself … I think what father (the priest) is doing is pretty cool, so that began turning the gears in my head,” Arellano recalled about that time.

He said he put his discernment on the “back burner” while he adjusted to high school. By his junior year, he was active in youth group again, which “reignited the call.”

In his senior year, he planned on going to Hampden-Sydney College before entering seminary. He said he prayed about his decision and realized going to college would only delay his vocation.

He graduated high school in 2015 and headed to St. John Paul II Seminary in the fall instead.

Arellano completed formation at St. John Paul II and also earned a bachelor’s degree from Catholic University of America and is currently studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.

His favorite classes so far have been Introduction to Liturgy, a literature course about the Gospel of John, and Homiletics.

He said the best part of formation is being “completely immersed in the liturgical life of the Church.” Arellano said he’s been able to “see liturgy for what it is, not just a set of rules, but entering into the mystery of God so we can offer God worship.”

Arellano says as a deacon, he is looking forward to presiding over certain liturgies – such as baptisms and weddings outside of Mass – as well as reading the Gospel and preaching.

Arellano admits he is a little nervous about this next step in his formation because he considers himself an introvert.

“I don’t like being the center of attention, but knowing people will be looking to me, I don’t want to stay in my shell – I want to be with the people and be able to help them,” he explained.

Arellano says his hobbies are fishing, playing the saxophone and cooking for others.

“I’m known for texting my (seminarian) brothers and saying, ‘hey, dinner at 5 in the rec room.’”

Seth Michael Seaman

Seth Michael Seaman was born May 26, 1986, in a small town in Pennsylvania, living there with his parents, Lon and Veronica, and brother, Shane.

He was baptized in the Catholic Church but said his family did not have an active faith life.

Seaman said his family moved to Hampton when he was nine years old, and he considers it his hometown, with his home parish being St. Joseph, Hampton.

Seaman said he was “a normal kid” – but things changed drastically when he was 17.

He said he was standing in his room when “the Lord decided to make himself known to me in a very powerful way.” He was compelled to get to know God.

Seaman found a small pocket New Testament in his home and read it, finding himself enthralled by the stories of Jesus. He read the Bible daily for the next few years.

He said he wanted to return to his Catholic roots, but decided after doing research online that the Bible and the Catholic Church did not complement one another. He became active in a Methodist church.

During this time, he graduated from Old Dominion University and was working as a design engineer. He decided to go to a Methodist seminary to become a pastor, entering Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

Through his studies at Asbury, Seaman said his eyes were finally opened to the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church. He described it as a “gut-wrenching time” when he felt “stretched between two opposing sides.” He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree and was confirmed as a Catholic a few months later.

He is now studying at the Theological College at Catholic University of America (CUA).

His favorite courses have been Wisdom Literature, which focuses on books from the Old Testament; and Eschatology, which is the study of death, final judgment, and Jesus’ return.

Seaman said the most formative and fun part of formation so far has been his pastoral year, when he served at Holy Trinity, Norfolk, with Father James Glass.

As he looks ahead to being a deacon, Seaman said he looks forward to being able to preach, proclaim the Gospel, and be with families during funerals and baptisms. He said he is excited to have that “capacity to be the Lord’s minister.”

Seaman said he hopes to learn more during his diaconate year about helping couples undergoing marriage preparation classes. “I know I have room to grow there,” he explained.

In his free time, Seaman enjoys swimming and other water-related activities, and names Grandview Beach in Hampton as one of his favorite beaches.

Editor’s note: Check back for the full story from ordination day at and in the next issue of The Catholic Virginian.

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