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Current Seminarians

Joseph LeMay

Diocese of Joliet, Illinois

Ordination Year

2025

Home Town

Downers Grove, IL

Home Parish

St. Joseph, Downers Grove

Undergraduate

The Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, OH (Bachelor of Philosophy)

Previous Career

Locomotive Engineer for BNSF Railway

Languages

English and Spanish, and I've also studied French, Latin, and Greek, but puns are my love language

Hobbies

Riding trains, watching trains, biking, country music, spending quality time with friends, traveling to new places, making pilgrimages to beautiful churches, bringing Jesus to people and people to Jesus

Tidbit

Through the generosity of my parents, I was able to be an extra in the Sermon on the Mount scene of the TV show "The Chosen".

Favorite Saint

St. Joseph, followed closely by Blessed Solanus Casey

Favorite Devotion

Divine Mercy has been a big part of my story. Pope Francis also inspired me with devotion to the sleeping St. Joseph.

Vocation Story

I was born in Downers Grove, IL the second son of my parents, Robert and Bonnie LeMay. They raised my brother, Matthew, and I in a loving home, committed to God, to each other, and to their two sons. They named me after St. Joseph, patron of the parish they joined in Downers Grove after being married, and the parish I have been a part of since birth, where I received all my sacraments and attended kindergarten through 8th grade. My love for trains began with the routine of picking my mother up at the train station each evening as she returned home from work. I have many fond memories standing on the platform with my father and brother, waiting to greet my mother and leap into her arms.

By 8th grade, my passion for trains had grown and I decided to pursue a career as a locomotive engineer after high school. One year after graduating from Benet Academy, I was hired by the BNSF Railway and worked there for six and a half years. Though I felt that God had placed this passion inside me and had helped me attain my dream, I did not have a personal relationship with Him and never stopped to consider what He might want me to do with my life.

I began growing in my faith intellectually, and more fully understanding what we believe about the Eucharist and the Liturgy, I began going to adoration and daily Mass occasionally. I made a pilgrimage to Italy in 2015 and met my then-girlfriend as a result of that pilgrimage. She was Jesus for me, and she moved that faith I had up in my head down the long journey into my heart. She broke up with me after six months, but I now had a personal relationship with Jesus, and I felt a renewed call to seminary, which I had first felt three years earlier.

After two more life-changing pilgrimages, I began attending discernment groups with our vocations director, then I met many of our Joliet seminarians and saw how they were just good men trying to do God’s will like I was trying to do, and then I came to Mundelein on an Exploring Priesthood Weekend, which was the final impetus for me to apply to seminary. I quit my dream job and sold my house; I did three and a half years of Philosophy studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum, spent a pastoral semester in a parish, and entered Mundelein this year for 1st Theology.

What has been your favorite/most memorable story of your time at Mundelein thus far?

In January 2017, I came to Mundelein for an Exploring Priesthood Weekend. As I prayed and journaled late at night in the Conference Center chapel, I felt a deep sense of peace…a sense that this place, seminary, was home. God often sends me trains to let me know I am “on the right track”, and I remember trains rolling by on the tracks next to the seminary that night.

On May 10th, 2021, (National Train Day…yes, I purposefully scheduled it for that day) I came to Mundelein for my admissions interview. The interview went very well, and God confirmed it, for as I walked out of the building after my interview, a train rolled by.

On August 14th, move-in day, as I was driving up Route 45, a train went overhead right as I was passing under the tracks near the entrance to Mundelein.

One of the first seminarians I met on-campus, Lee Noel, has an uncle who works as a locomotive engineer for Amtrak. It turns out that his uncle is good friends with my friend who is also a locomotive engineer, the one who got me interested in working for the railroad 16 years ago.

God shows His love for me in a very personal way that speaks to this heart which He created. He has that deep, intimate, fatherly love for and knowledge of you, too!

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

Pray that my brothers and I become good and holy priests, creatively courageous spiritual fathers like my patron, St. Joseph, through this community of disciples here at Mundelein who lovingly form us into good shepherds for the people of God.