Two men ordained priests for the Diocese of Richmond

Father David Arellano (left) and Father Seth Seaman (right) lie prostrate before the altar during their ordination Mass on June 1, 2024, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond. (Photo/Michael Mickle)

At the Last Supper, the sacrament of holy orders was established by Christ when he instituted the Eucharist and told the Apostles, “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19).

On June 1, Bishop Barry C. Knestout ordained Father David Arellano and Father Seth Seaman to the priesthood for the Diocese of Richmond at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond.

Father Arellano, 26, will be assigned to Blessed Sacrament, Harrisonburg. Father Seaman, 38, will be assigned to St. Bridget, Richmond.

Father Seaman said that during the Mass, “The Holy Spirit really made his presence known, that he was in the process of making me into a shepherd.”

“There was a mixture of emotions – excitement, a little bit of nervousness, and just this overall sense of, ‘This feels right,’” said Father Arellano. “This is what my whole life has been preparing me for, and I had a feeling of awe that this was actually happening.”

During the Rite of Ordination, Father Arellano and Father Seaman promised obedience to the bishop and his successors, and lay prostrate on the floor before the altar during the Litany of Supplication.

Then, all diocesan priests in attendance came forth to lay their hands on the two men, asking the Holy Spirit to come down on them in a show of brotherhood. Bishop Knestout anointed Father Arellano’s and Father Seaman’s hands with sacred chrism, and they were given a paten holding bread and a chalice containing wine mixed with water. Finally, they received a fraternal kiss of peace from the bishop and all assembled priests.

“David and Seth, dear sons, you are to be raised to the order of the priesthood,” Bishop Knestout said in his homily. “Impart to everyone the word of God, which you have received with joy.”

Called to be shepherds

The Gospel reading spelled out for Father Arellano and Father Seaman exactly what they are called to do. In the selection from John 10:11-16, Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

“It’s a tough calling, but necessary,” said Father Seaman. “If you’re not willing to do that, you aren’t a shepherd – you’re one of the wolves. You’re just kind of going around pretending.”

“We have to be willing to sacrifice, otherwise it’s just a sentimentality, a feeling. That’s not what the Lord calls us to,” Father Seaman continued. “He calls us to something far deeper, and that necessitates me giving myself to others.”

“At that moment, as Deacon Matthew Kelly was proclaiming the Gospel, I had a feeling of ‘Alright, I’m ready,’” said Father Arellano. “It’s not going to be easy. But I want to do that. I want to give myself over completely to those who are put in my care.”

“When Father Seaman and I were prostrate on the floor, my prayer was: ‘Lord, allow me to give myself over completely to you and your Church,” added Father Arellano.

Father Arellano’s mother, Maria Emma Arellano, also noted that her son’s path might not be easy, but that the Lord would provide for him along the way.

“Who knows if his road will be difficult?” she said. “I imagine it will be. But he chose this path, and God chose him to be a disciple.”

She added that his ordination represented the culmination of a lifetime of preparation, as well as a new beginning. “Since he was little, he’s had this idea in his head. He used to get water and pretend to bless his toys,” she said. “Today is the day that he achieved his dreams, and also the day his next journey begins.”

Father Seaman’s mother, Veronica, noted that, in a sense, it was her son’s wedding day.

“It was emotional. He’s getting married to the Church,” she said. “I’m proud of him.”

Father Seaman’s brother, Shane, was the first one to receive a blessing from him after Mass. A parishioner at St. Joseph, Hampton, Shane says that his brother’s journey to the priesthood has brought his whole family closer to the Catholic faith into which they were baptized. He called the moment of the blessing “a huge honor.”

“I’m so proud of him,” he said. “I was really focused on the blessing, but now, it’s already kind of a blur. It was one of those awesome moments.”

Deacon Andrew Clark and Deacon Matthew Kelly flanked Bishop Knestout on the altar during the Rite of Ordination. The two were ordained into the transitional diaconate just two weeks earlier at the cathedral. Deacon Clark said that at past ordinations, he’s been in the ambulatory, but this time, he had “the best seat in the house.”

“Watching two of my best friends get ordained was really awesome,” he said.

“It’s neat to have a front-row seat,” said Deacon Kelly. “Those will be my hands [being anointed] next year, God willing.”

The power to make God present

Father Arellano celebrated his first Mass at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 2, at the Pro-Cathedral of St. Peter, Richmond; Father Seaman celebrated Mass at 11 a.m. June 2 at St. Joseph, Hampton. The occasion of their first Masses fell on the Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

“This is a fitting feast for the celebration of a priest’s first Mass,” said Bishop Knestout during his ordination Mass homily. “By our immersion in the body of Christ, by our closeness to the Eucharist, in a year of special devotion to the Eucharist, we are guided to a deeper communion with God the Father through his Son in the Holy Spirit.”

“Listening carefully to God’s word, and following closely in Christ’s footsteps of service and sacrificial love, receive with open and generous hearts the grace to follow Christ and bring the Father’s love and providential care to his people,” the bishop continued.

Father Seaman’s first Mass was followed by a Eucharistic procession to the St. Clare of Assisi Retreat Center. After the procession, Father Seaman gave the Benediction at St. Joseph.

“He looked so natural during Mass, and he told me afterward that he felt natural,” said Father Dillon Bruce, parochial vicar at St. Joseph, who served at Father Seaman’s first Mass. “That’s how God made him to be. He’s going to do some amazing things, and Jesus is going to do amazing things through him.”

Father Seaman said that he wants to be the kind of person who can lead people into a relationship with the Lord that extends beyond the walls of a church once a week.

“I want to be able to lead people into that discipleship journey with Christ where every moment of all our lives, we’re journeying with him together,” said Father Seaman.

Father Arellano said that, before his first Mass, he felt a great sense of peace.

“As I was preparing to celebrate Mass, there was almost a lightness to my steps, and sense of, ‘This is about to happen – and thank God,’” said Father Arellano. “My whole life has been guiding me towards this moment.”

“God is giving me, in my unworthiness, the power to make him present,” Father Arellano continued. “It makes joy pour from my heart.”


Read more about Father David Arellano and Father Seth Seaman.

See more pictures of the ordination.

Watch an interview with Father David Arellano.

Watch an interview with Father Seth Seaman.

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