Alex Brown, 35, is a computer science teacher at St. Mary’s Academy, in addition to being a writer. He has known Father Le for about five years and said his friend has “a zeal (for the faith) but not in an overwhelming way.”

The two went on a winter hike up the 4,458-foot Blood Mountain in North Georgia. The hikers consecrated each hour to the Blessed Mother, when they stopped briefly for prayer.

Brown said during the new priest’s studies in Rome, he’d email friends and ask for special intentions that he could pray for at sacred sites around the Eternal City. For Brown, his friend has a knack to be present to the person in front of him, never being distracted by other demands. He constantly asked people to pray for him to ensure he fulfilled God’s plan, said Brown.