Seminary students start ‘Highway to Heaven’ podcast

Highway to heaven podcast screen

It is not the usual college experience but it suits George Gomez. He is in training to be a Catholic priest.

A student at Marymount California University in Palos Verdes, Gomez lives off campus at the Queen of Angels Seminary, which is tucked away on top of a hill in Torrance with sweeping views overlooking the Palos Verdes peninsula.

The 19-year-old is studying to become a priest while simultaneously getting his bachelor’s degree from MCU. Although he has always been religious, earlier in life, he had some reservations about joining the priesthood.

“When I was young, I had this idea of a seminary being an enclosed area, where you’re not able to go out, and you’re praying every day, but it’s not like that,” Gomez discovered. “We’re not enclosed, I’m an outgoing person. I am very social. I like to be out in the world.”

His days are full, and there is a considerable amount of prayer and theological contemplation, but there is also a diverse range of more secular activities, such as group outings with fellow seminarians, as well as academic college classes.

At the onset of the pandemic, Gomez began helping his church to live steam services people could watch from home. Because he likes technology, he started brainstorming more ways to talk about religion and the Catholic church online.

“I think it’s great that churches are adapting to technology with live streaming. We are all learning,” he said. “I had to learn how to use a camera, and manage sound,” said Gomez who quickly came up with idea of a regular podcast.

With his friend and fellow seminarian, Cesar Sepulveda on board, in February the pair began recording the show, aptly called, “Highway to Heaven.”

The series is built around conversation between Sepulveda and Gomez, but as COVID restrictions have loosened, they have invited more guests to join them. Topics range from the history of saints, to religious holidays and the nature of life in the seminary.

While the show is not a recruiting tool for the seminary, Sepulveda said he hopes it does encourage young men who are perhaps contemplating the priesthood.

“We do plan on having more priests on to talk about vocations and what it means to be a seminarian and a priest. I hope within those talks, people will start asking themselves if God’s calling them to the priesthood,” Sepulveda said.

In his own community, the podcast has been welcomed.

Gomez and Sepulveda hope it encourages more young people to get involved with their own churches, or maybe contemplate joining the clergy.

This excerpt was reprinted from Spectrum News 1. You can read the full article here. It was written by Chace Beech, a Spectrum News 1 multimedia reporter and past Pulitzer Fellow at the Los Angeles Times.