They come from a variety of backgrounds, life experiences and interests, but they share a unifying commitment to their faith. In the coming weeks, the Archdiocese of Edmonton will celebrate the ordinations of three men, two to the priesthood and one to the diaconate. Please keep these generous men in your prayers:

Kristopher Schmidt

Kris is 26, the oldest of four children, born in Slave Lake and raised in St. Albert. He's nuts about hockey and sports in general, and also enjoys camping and hiking, reading, and family time.

"My faith was formed by my family, who devoutly maintained weekly mass attendance and encouraged participation in the life of the Church," he says. "The moment I was eligible to become an altar server, I volunteered my services and this was likely the first source of a priestly vocation."

Kris concedes that through his teenage years, much of his attention was occupied by hockey, friends, dreams, and girls. "It wasn't until my second year of university, when I was given the opportunity to work with Life Teen at Holy Family Parish, that my growth in faith was paired with an awareness of a potential call to the priesthood. When dreams began to fade and the end of a long-time relationship coincided with a priest asking me if I had ever thought of the priesthood, the space God needed to work was created. After a year of discernment I was ready to make the step to the seminary. It still surprises me at times that I ever made it this far, but it continues to be a testament to me of the faithfulness of God."

Kris will be ordained to the diaconate on Monday, June 24, by Bishop Gregory Bittman. All are welcome to celebrate with him at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Basilica. He will serve at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Edmonton, and also work as Assistant Archdiocesan Master of Ceremonies.

Deacon Carlos Nunez

Deacon Carlos, 29, was born and raised in Edmonton, the second of two children. He studied philosophy at Christ the King Seminary in Mission, B.C., before being accepted to St. Joseph Seminary in the fall of 2005. Deacon Carlos thought about becoming a priest as early as Grade 4, when the idea popped out of his mouth in a conversation with his cousins. When he received a copy of the New Testament at school, he began reading and reflecting about Jesus calling the apostles.

"I felt Jesus didn't just call the apostles then but he was asking something from me."

Deacon Carlos has overcome many challenges, including a learning disability, on his vocational journey. He served his parish internship at Lloydminster and currently serves at Assumption Parish in Edmonton and as Assistant Archdiocesan Master of Ceremonies. Later this summer he will move to Good Shepherd Parish in Edmonton as associate pastor.

Archbishop Smith will preside at the Ordination Mass at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 5, at St. Joseph’s Basilica.

Deacon Luan Dinh Vu

Deacon Luan, 44, says he realized when he was a young boy in Vietnam that he wanted to be a priest. “I deeply felt that God had called me to be a priest to serve God and His people.”

After graduating from high school, he studied at university to become a teacher. In 1995, he became a seminarian for the Diocese of Long Xuyen in Vietnam. However, after many years of waiting for permission, the Vietnamese government ultimately denied his application to study at the seminary. “I thought then that I might have to give up my vocation, but, in the end I was able to pursue it in Canada.”

He came to Canada in May 2004 to study English for two years before beginning studies at St. Joseph Seminary. Deacon Luan served his parish internship at St. Matthew Parish in Rocky Mountain House, and later this summer will join St. Theresa’s Parish in Edmonton as associate pastor. After nine years of studies, Deacon Luan says his dream will be fulfilled when he is ordained to the priesthood on Friday, July 5, 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Basilica.