Jeff Yano got “Catholic curious” in college where he studied medieval European history.

He didn’t know too much of anything about Catholicism, but the art and architecture made an impression on him, he said.

“You’re seeing this thing from the outside, and it makes you wonder what’s on the inside,” he said.

Yano was born into a nonreligious, mixed-faith household. His father is Japanese and his mother a Presbyterian from Texas. Church meant occasional Buddhist or Christian family weddings or funerals. By the time he was 7, his family stopped going to church entirely.

“From that point on I was unchurched in every respect,” said Yano, 32.

After college and graduate school, he returned to the Bay Area to work in the tech sector. One day in 2017, he was invited to Mass.

“It was random, but I went,” he said. Mass was at Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park, his parish now.

“After this Mass, it just rose up within me,” he said. “I liked being in church. I felt this sense of goodness there and wanted to become Catholic pretty quickly.” He entered the Church in 2018.

He admits prayer was completely new to him.

“I basically started from scratch,” he said. “Do I kneel down to pray? Do I put my hands together? Do I just talk?”

Learning to pray the rosary changed everything, he said. Two years after being baptized, he went into priestly formation at St. Patrick Seminary & University in Menlo Park.

Yano said there is a continuing aspect to his conversion and vocational calling.

“You’re still walking forward, and progressing, but there is this change in the trajectory of your life,” he said. “This route that you’ve never been on before is ahead of you.”

From Coming Home stories – San Francisco Archdiocese.