Current Seminarians

Jose Cerna

Diocese of Joliet, Illinois


May 17

Ordination Year


Home Town

Joliet, IL

Home Parish

St. Mary Immaculate, Plainfield, IL


Southwestern University - Cebu, Philippines (March 1997, B.S. Hotel and Restaurant Management)

Previous Career

Licensed Real Estate Broker


English, Tagalog, Cebuano


Jogging, Reading Religious Books


I was a ballroom dance instructor during my college days.

Favorite Saint

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, St. Faustina

Favorite Devotion

Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet

Vocation Story

I was raised and grew up in Poblacion, Pinamungajan, Cebu, Philippines. I am the youngest of the 12 siblings consisting of ten brothers and two sisters.

When I was at the age of 11, my father was diagnosed with a stage 4 lung cancer. My aunties and relatives who were faithful members of the Catholic Renewal Movement always visited the hospital and prayed over my father and I also joined them in that battle but eventually, my father died. After the burial, my faith in God developed rapidly and my love to serve Him and His people suddenly kindled. I became a very active member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement and was also a member of the different ministries in our parish. I served also as an altar boy in our parish. This was the time that I realized that God is probably calling me to a religious life, so I thought of becoming a priest even if I was only 11 years old.

In the year 2006 when I was already 33 years old; I became the chapel president in our village. This was the time that I realized that something was missing in my life. I also realized that I needed to
fulfill my promise to the Lord I made during my elementary days, to serve Him totally and to serve His people as a priest. So the idea of serving the Lord as a priest gradually came back in my mind and
deciding to go was the hardest part.

In 2009, I finally I said YES to the Lord because I was already certain that my life is really for the priesthood and would be than as a lay person. I quit my job and participated in the discernment process of the church through the vocation director of our Archdiocese. I entered full time in the seminary in our Archdiocese, the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos in Cebu City, Philippines, in June 2012 until March 2015, the end of the school year.

In 2014 when the priority date of my U.S. Immigrant Visa was about to become current, I wrote to Fr. Burke Masters, the Vocation Director in the Diocese of Joliet, about my plan to continue my seminary studies in his diocese where my mother and brother’s family are currently residing. I received my U.S. Immigrant Visa on May 11, 2016, and arrived in the U.S. on June 15, 2016.

Priest Aspirations

Leading the people to know Jesus and Mary and to convert the sinners back to God

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

Please pray for us that we can persevere and reach ordination in spite of many trials and temptations in our lives.

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