Mark Ruiz was born and raised in a traditional Catholic, Latino home in Oakland, California. Attending Catholic school was an especially good experience for me since the Sisters of Mercy were our teachers. The Sisters were very supportive and stressed the importance of practicing our Faith. I am fortunate in that I have been able to continue my relationship with the Sisters today. The parish community I lived in was both active and vibrant and the priests who served our parish inspired me with their example. All of this contributed to my interest in the priesthood, which I recognized early in my life. As I grew and matured, this calling deepened. I have served the Church in many capacities and was always happy in the various ministries in which I was engaged, but my heart desired more. After a period of discernment and with the support and encouragement of family and friends, I began the seminary admissions process. I am grateful to God that I am now at Pope St. John XXIII Seminary preparing for ministry in the Diocese of Oakland, CA.