From an early age, Father Jean-Pierre Seon had an inclination that perhaps he was meant to be a priest.
At age 12, he thought that might be the answer to the age-old question, “What am I supposed to do with my life?”
However, he wasn’t sure. “I felt I was going to dive head-first into something I didn’t know about,” he said.
One of his high school teachers recommended that he take some time to ponder the problem, so he went on to attend and graduate from Manhattan College with a degree in mathematics/education.
“It wasn’t God’s time,” the 35-year-old said.
Although he didn’t pursue the priesthood right away, faith was always important in his life. As a child, he was an altar server at his parish, Immaculate Conception in Astoria.
After graduating from Holy Cross High School in Queens, he served as director of campus ministry at his alma mater for five years. Before accepting the position, he attended a summer program at the University of Notre Dame specifically to train for the job. Brother Stephen LaMendola, C.S.C., assisted him in his career there as well as in his faith journey.
“I was happy as a campus minister, but something inside me wasn’t settling right,” he said.
Then, there was a moment that changed the course of his life.
“I was sitting at St. Patrick’s (Cathedral)—I was a parishioner—and something just came over me. You can call it the inspiration of the Spirit or the urge to take the first step. I called Father Luke Sweeney, who was the vocations director at the time,” he said.
At that point, he decided to enter the seminary.
Before the school year began, however, tragedy struck. His father, Jean-Pierre, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, died. His mother, Jocelyn, is also from Trinidad and Tobago, and his stepbrother Frederick, along with his aunts and godmother Suzanne Seon, have been sources of support for him.
With a calm and peaceful demeanor, he said he is most looking forward to “being able to be with the people” wherever he serves in the “kaleidoscope of the archdiocese.” He has been stationed at varying places from St. Anthony of Padua, West Harrison, to St. Kateri Tekakwitha, LaGrangeville, to Sacred Heart and Holy Cross, both in the Bronx.
“The best thing I can do is walk with the people in their highs, lows, on their good days and bad days,” he said.
“I feel humbled and honored to be called by God.”
Father Seon’s First Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday, May 29, at 2 p.m. Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of the cathedral, will be the homilist.
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