Current Seminarians

Joel Pius

St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago


August 31

Ordination Year


Home Town

Lilburn, Georgia

Home Parish

Saint Alphonsa Catholic Church in Loganville, Georgia


Loyola University Chicago (Major in Philosophy with minors in Theology and Catholic Studies)


English and some Malayalam


Basketball, working out, reading

Favorite Saint

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Saint Dymphna

Vocation Story

When I was five or six years old, my mother was on the phone, praying with another person. Me, bored and wanting to impress her, said I wanted to be a priest. We had also visited the rectory of a parish a week earlier and I had seen a HUGE TV in the living room of the priest, so that may have had something to do with it as well…but regardless, that’s when the first seeds of priesthood were sowed into my heart. Skipping forward into middle school, I suddenly encountered a problem: instead of staying single and just playing video games and eating chips for the rest of my life, I actually wanted to have my own family. I tried to bargain with God, asking Him to send me a beautiful Catholic girl, in exchange for shipping my firstborn son off to seminary but I got a strong “no” in response. Instead, he ended up sending me Fr. Mathew Elayadathamadam as a new pastor for my parish, who ended up being a major factor in my discernment process.

At the time, I wasn’t doing much in my parish. I would just go to Qurbana (Mass in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Rite) and then leave right afterwards. When I told Fr. Mathew about this pull I felt in my heart towards priesthood, instead of giving me a direct answer, he got me involved in the parish. I started to lector, altar serve, teach altar serving, and teach CCD and after three years, I had a discussion with Fr. Mathew and I realized that I actually felt comfortable doing all of these ministries. My heart began to open to the priesthood…but I was still struggling with the idea of celibacy. So in my last year of high school, I started to go mass before school and if I couldn’t make it for mass in the morning, I’d go for adoration afterwards. Finally, one evening in the chapel, I got my answer from God when I was looking at the Blessed Sacrament: if I became a priest, even though I wouldn’t have a physical family by blood, I would have a spiritual family through the Blood of Christ. With that powerful answer from God, my mind was at peace and I decided to enter the seminary to discern the Will of God. Now, I feel stronger than ever in my vocation and I can’t thank God enough for leading me to the seminary!

Priest Aspirations

Being with the people and leading them to Christ through both moments of joy and sorrow

How can Mundelein's donors and community pray for you?

Please pray for our vocations and so that we will always place the Will of God before our own desires!