Serrans ask Deacon Will Frei where it all started

Deacon Will Frei is an avid runner. (Provided)

The Serra Club is working with The Catholic Miscellany to provide a series of profiles on the Diocese of Charleston’s seminarians. 

ROME—Deacon William Connor Frei is in fourth year theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. His ordination to the priesthood will be July 10.

Who is a person you admire?

I admire my father, a man who loves God, his family, his profession, and the gift of life.

How did you discern your vocation?

I remember feeling a sort of call toward the priesthood in seventh grade — a call I ignored until my freshman year of high school, when a recently ordained priest at my parish invited me on a vocations pilgrimage to the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe was martyred at Auschwitz. From this powerful experience, I became more open to the idea of discerning a call. I decided, with God’s grace, to enter college seminary just after high school. After four years of college seminary, I believed that God was, indeed, calling me to become a priest.

What is a typical day for you?

I rise at 5:15 a.m., have coffee, and pray certain morning prayers. I join 6:15 a.m. Morning Prayer, then attend Mass. I say my prayers of thanksgiving, grab a quick breakfast and walk 25 minutes to the Pontifical Gregorian University, where I study Ignatian Spirituality. 

After lunch, I pray Midday Prayer, then spend time studying. I might have apostolate in the afternoon, which consists of running different events in the city for students at St. John’s University – Rome. In early evening, I attend Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Evening Prayer. Dinner is at 7 p.m., after which we have free time to study, attend classes or meetings, or relax a bit. Between 10 and 11 p.m., I pray Night Prayer before bed.

What is a favorite place where you have traveled?

My favorite is, by far, Kolkata, India. As my spiritual director once told me, Kolkata is my Nazareth, where I have grown in age and — we hope — wisdom before the Lord and my brother seminarians.

When you were 10 or 11 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor like my father.

What do you want people to remember you for?

I hope and pray that people are able to say of me — as John did of Jesus — “he loved them to the end” (Jn. 13:1).

Name three words that describe you.

Christian, Catholic, Deacon.

What are pastimes that you are happiest doing?

Running, skiing, and traveling.

What is your favorite quotation?

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” (Mother Teresa).

The Serra Club of Charleston is a member of the USA branch of Serra International with the goal of nurturing vocations around the world.  For more information, email Debra Dinolfo at