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Name: Peter Akapoj Lawongkerd
Date of Birth: June 25, 1988
Hobbies and Interests: Playing the organ, reading books, playing basketball.
Favorite Saints: St. John Vianney, St. Peter, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Therese of Lisieux.
I was born and raised in Chanpen, Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. I am the first of two children of Anak and Mayuree Lawongkerd. I grew up in a Catholic village. The parish is at the center or our village. My family and I always attended Sunday Mass and did volunteer work in the parish together. My parents were my first catechists and my discernment of the priesthood naturally followed from their strong faith example. I did not find it difficult to enter the junior seminary at the young age of thirteen.
The pastor in my home parish sent me to Fatima Seminary and I was there for eight years. While a seminarian there I earned a lot about the spiritual life and the community life. The desire to be a priest stayed with me all the time. While there I began to think about becoming a missionary priest in the United States. I left the Fatima Seminary in Thailand and worked at St. Louis hospital in Bangkok for almost a year, where I gained experience while continuing to think and pray about becoming a missionary priest. I sought the advice of my American friends Br. Don Bosco Tardy and Fr. Lee Chompoochan. In 2010 I decided to apply to the Diocese of Oakland as a seminarian and I was accepted by Bishop Salvatore Cordileone in August 2010. The diocese has sent me to study philosophy at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon.
I know that I still have a long walk in my journey to the priesthood. I am never alone; Jesus and our Blessed Mother are at my side. I pray each day for wisdom and I thank God for the wonderful gifts he has given to me in my faith, family and vocation.