I am a native Californian. My father was from Oregon, my mother is from Chicago. They met in the Los Angeles area, and I was born in Pasadena.
My childhood was spent in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I attended Catholic grade school, and Catholic high school. I was all set to go to college to study pre-med, but the faculty in high school would not let me sign up for chemistry. Then, just before Holy Week in my senior year, God put this crazy notion to become a priest. So I spent the next 4.5 years at St John's Seminary in Camarillo, California. I got to see the good and the bad in the Catholic Church, and learned to discern between the two. My days there cemented any chance that I could ever give up my Catholic faith. I tried some years later to leave, and right reason brought me back home.
When I left St. John's I had no idea what I wanted to do. After almost half a year, I still thought I might have a vocation. So when I attended the ordination of a friend in Phoenix, Arizona, I asked if I could work in his parish, away from Los Angeles, and discern my vocation. His pastor let me work there.
While in Phoenix I decided not to return to St. John's, and I became involved in music at the local junior college, registering to be a music major. I began to study classical guitar, and have kept with it ever since, as an avocation. At Phoenix College, I became friends with a lot of non-Catholics, and was given good practice in defending my Catholic faith from those who claimed that I was being deceived by the Catholic Church. I returned to California in the Spring of 1975, and lived with my parents while I attended Cal State University, Fullerton, for one semester. I could not handle life at home, and found a job with a Catholic music publisher, and moved out of the house as quickly as I could. I loved my parents, and wanted to keep it that way. While at this company, I met my wife.