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Meet Your Seminarians

Alex, Paul and Chris

The Serra Club is working with The Catholic Miscellany to provide a series of profiles on the Diocese of Charleston’s seminarians. In honor of National Vocation Awareness Week, held annually in November, we invite you to meet three of the men in formation to be priests in South Carolina.

Alex Foley is a second-year seminarian, Paul Lacombe is a third-year theology student and Chris Loester is a fourth-year seminarian whose ordination is anticipated in the summer of 2022. All three are students at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla.

How did you discern the direction of your vocation?

Alex: I first sensed a call to the priesthood … while on a retreat for a Boy Scout religious award, Ad Altare Dei, at Camp Barstow. This was the first time that I can remember praying at a deeper level than just saying the Hail Mary or the Our Father. Then, through a deepening prayer life and after serving at the altar during the rest of middle and high school (at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors), I applied to the seminary my senior year at St. Joseph High School in Greenville.

Paul: I’ve wanted to be a priest for as long as I can remember, at least since I was 5 years old. I loved Christ and his Church so much as I grew up that I wanted to give my life entirely to ministry, so I joined the seminary in 2012, when I was 19 years old. For a time, I thought I might have a monastic vocation, so I left to discern life as a monk in 2015, but the Holy Spirit brought me back to Charleston in 2019. I’m glad to be back! The Catholic community of South Carolina is awesome, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Chris: I discerned my vocation to the priesthood over many years, building my relationship with Christ, listening to Christ and trusting in Christ. The most surprising and challenging part was acknowledging how broken I was and how badly God wanted to heal/fix me. It was not until I allowed God to act that changes began to happen.

Which part of your vocation gives you the most joy?

Alex: I am most joyful serving at Mass in preparation for when I will be a priest, and when I bring Communion to, and visit with, the homebound.

Paul: Certainly, my life of prayer with Christ is my preeminent source of joy, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my brother seminarians. I love that in seminary there’s room for both seriousness and silliness. It is a place where we both challenge each other to become more like Christ, but it’s also a place where we can enjoy a small glass of bourbon over a game of cards.

Chris: The serving of God’s people gives me the most joy.

Who is a person you admire and why?

Alex: I admire Pope emeritus Benedict XVI for his humility and his love of Christ and the Church. His works in theology and spirituality have been indispensable aids in every aspect of my priestly formation.

Paul: St. Joseph, like Mary, is a model Christian. Unlike Mary, though, we have no scriptural record of anything St. Joseph said, only what he did. Thus, I think it’s fair to call St. Joseph a model of Christian action. … St. Joseph does whatever God asks of him, even when it is difficult, even when it comes at great cost. St. Joseph doesn’t tell us what he’s all about; he lives it. I think we need that today more than ever before.

Chris: I admire St. John Vianney because he had such a significant impact on the people of God. By his example, leadership, self-sacrifice, and love of Christ, he helped to save many souls in his lifetime. He was an exceptional man of God.

The Serra Club of Charleston is a member of the USA branch of Serra International with the goal of nurturing vocations. Contact Debra Dinolfo at for information or to join.