Ready to ‘spread love of God’ as a priest


READY: Sean Embury, right, served at the diocese’s Pentecost Mass for All Peoples on May 18 in his current capacity as a transitional deacon. He will be ordainded to the priesthood on June 8. (Credit: John Gastaldo)

Share this article:

SAN DIEGO — Sean Embury will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 8, at St. Gabriel Parish in Poway.

But the 43-year-old, who was ordained to the transitional diaconate last December, hasn’t been able to think too much about that. He’s been much too busy.

Until late May, he was taking four classes at the Franciscan School of Theology, which represented the culmination of six years of priestly formation.

He also has been ministering as a deacon at Holy Trinity Parish in El Cajon, to which he was assigned last September and where he has been living since his diaconal ordination. Striving “to be present to those I am working with” doesn’t leave much time for daydreams about the future.

But, Deacon Embury said, “My distraction does not mean that I am not getting excited.”

Among the causes for his excitement are those sacramental duties that only an ordained priest can perform.

“What I’m looking forward to,” he said, “is being able to hear confessions, offer absolution, and consecrate the Eucharist to help bring Christ to those around me.”

Born in Upland, California, Embury was 5 years old when his family relocated to Escondido.

In the Diocese of San Diego, he attended St. Gabriel Parish, where his maternal grandparents were founding members. He received the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and First Communion there.

It was after his graduation from San Pasqual High School in 1999 that he “started to seriously consider” a vocation to the priesthood.

What appealed to him about the idea of a priestly vocation?

“I was attracted to the priesthood because of the joy I saw in the priests around me,” he said. “What is appealing (about) my vocation is that I feel a sense of calmness when it comes to helping to minister to others.”

However, he said, his vocational journey “had several starts and stops.”

He would go on to earn a bachelor’s in Business Administration, with a specialty in Hospitality Management, from the University of Phoenix.

From 2006 to 2018, he worked for the Welk Resort at the Escondido property and at its corporate office in San Marcos. He started out as a bellman and then moved on to handling reservations. Later, he worked in IT and, finally, in inventory control.

But after 12 years, he stepped away from that job.

“The Holy Spirit opened the door for me to enter the seminary,” he explained, “and I felt it was time for me to move on.”

Deacon Embury considers himself “lucky” to have been among the second group of diocesan seminarians to attend the Franciscan School of Theology for graduate-level theological studies. That meant that he was able to remain in San Diego for the entirety of his priestly formation.

“What has been excellent about this,” he said, “is that I have had a chance to get to know the diocese and come to a deeper understanding of those I will be assigned to serve.”

Deacon Embury looks forward to being ordained at his home parish of St. Gabriel’s, where “many people have helped nurture my vocation.” The following day, also at St. Gabriel’s, he will celebrate his Mass of Thanksgiving as a newly ordained priest.

On July 1, he will begin his first priestly assignment as associate pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Mira Mesa. He hopes that it will provide him with the opportunity “to take that theory (that he learned in seminary) and put it into action.”

“The ministry of the priesthood is the ministry of spreading the love of God to those who come to me,” he said, “and that is precisely what a priest is called to do: to spread God’s love to all he encounters.

“One of the greatest joys I hope to have as a priest is to welcome people back to the Church after they’ve been away for a long time, to help them see that God never gave up on them and is there to welcome them back,” he said. “One of the challenges I see is helping people to understand that, even if God loves you, He still wants you to do right by those you encounter.”

Ordination Mass
On June 8, Cardinal Robert W. McElroy will ordain Transitional Deacon Sean Embury to the priesthood at a Mass at 10 a.m. at his home parish, St. Gabriel’s, 13734 Twin Peaks Road, Poway, 92064. The Mass will be livestreamed through

Tags: , ,

Recent News

You May Also Like

Diocese celebrates priest ordination

Priest assignments announced

Distinct paths to diaconate on ‘God’s time’

Cardinal to ordain deacons, priest in June

News around the diocese: Cardinal to ordain transitional deacon, seafarers ministry seeks help providing Christmas gifts, and more

Two Bishops Ordained in Historic Day