Coming down the mountain to priesthood

  • April 27, 2011
Nathan Andrew SirayEditor’s note: this is the final instalment in our series of profiles of the men who will graduate from St. Augustine’s Seminary this spring and be ordained to the priesthood for various dioceses.

Growing up next to the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Nathan Andrew Siray said there were two choices of what he would do with his life: be a doctor like his dad or a professional snowboarder.

“There was no place for the priesthood in this young boy’s mind,” he said.

But when Siray attended World Youth Day in Paris in 1997, he was inspired by Pope John Paul II to deepen his faith.

“I remember coming home thinking I was going to be a more zealous Christian soul,” said Siray. “But then high school came and I decided, ‘Well, let’s just have fun.’ Religion can wait.”

It was back in the mountains — this time, the Himalayas — where Siray rediscovered a passion for his Catholicity. After being struck by the faith of the Buddhist people, Siray spent a year studying his own Catholic religion.

“Under the shadow of Mount Royal,” Siray finally decided to follow the call to embrace Catholic religious life. Studying at Montreal’s McGill University, he lived with two Kenyans who attended daily Mass. He began to join them.

“One day, after Mass, I just knew. I was supposed to be a priest, and it was the most terrifying and wonderful day of my life.”

Siray spent three years at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, and finished his studies at St. Augustine’s Seminary.

“There’s no mountains here, but it’s a nice place nonetheless.”

Siray, 27, who will be ordained to priesthood in the spring, will serve as a priest in the archdiocese of Calgary.

Read more in the St. Augustine's Seminary graduate series
- Passion was for the Lord, not an engineering career
- A decade of ignoring his call was wiped out in one Confession
- Parents ground him in faith
- Pain leads to path to formation
- Misery came in accounting, leading to his joyful call
- Kusyk’s call to serve was first heard at age 13
- With patience, Asch finds his calling
- A return to Poland ‘saved’ seminarian’s vocation
- Move to Canada awakens a pair of vocation calls

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