Parish: St. Dominic, Brookfield
Seminary: Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy
Birthday: November 20
Intercessor: St. Robert Bellarmine
I am now a recent graduate of the college seminary program and the oldest of four siblings. I enjoy coffee and music and am seeking to discern the will of the Lord in my life while growing in community with my brothers.
Tell us your vocation story:
From a very early age, I had been contemplating the priesthood. I place the credit for the discovery of my vocation to the summer vocation camps that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been hosting for a number of years. I truly believe that it was these retreats that caused me to even begin to think of this as a possibility. I would encourage any young Catholic man who is serious about his faith to go on one as they are very powerful, deep, spiritual experiences. If I had to point out a time that I felt I made the final decision, it was at a discernment group at St. Mary Visitation Parish. At that meeting, it turned out to be just the vocation director, another seminarian and myself. After some discussion, I realized that I had had many signs in my life leading me towards seminary and I was the one who kept saying, "No." After that realization, I made the decision to enter college seminary. I spent four years at St. Joseph College Seminary on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago and found that my faith and my call continued to mature and grow throughout my time there. During two of the summers I had the extraordinary opportunity of living in a rectory at three of the Archdiocesan parishes in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and this time was incredibly edifying for me, confirming that not only did I feel called to serve Christ and His Church as a priest, but that it was something which brought me great joy. Though the journey of seminary has not been easy, I am looking forward to the next steps of it as I now begin my studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
I would say that the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary is most definitely a lack of surety that He is indeed being called. However, what we all must come to realize is that God usually only speaks to us in whispers and that the only way to know, is to enter the seminary. Everyone, both men contemplating priesthood and their friends and relatives, must remember that the seminary is a place of discernment. It is possible and is sometimes necessary to discern out. If it is the next step for you, keep an open mind and heart and take the leap of faith.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Acclaim Him, all you peoples! Strong is His love and mercy; the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (Psalm 117). In addition to being the shortest chapter in the Bible (a fun fact with which to impress your friends), I have always loved the message of this psalm. Though many of the psalms are filled with beautiful imagery and richly complex cultural references, this psalm is not. It simply instructs people of all nations to praise the Lord because of His great and undying love for us. I find that the last half of the second verse makes an excellent mantra for prayer or reflection: The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
I enjoy playing the piano and organ, going for runs or bike rides, the occasional video games or board games and playing ultimate frisbee.
Where do you like to go to pray?
One of my favorite places to pray is usually in the back two or three rows of an empty church or chapel. Because I enjoy playing the piano and organ, I also often find myself in the choir lofts of various churches, which offer a unique perspective for prayer. Being able to sit or kneel quietly and look out over the space toward the altar and tabernacle usually results in very fruitful prayer for me.
Where do you do your best studying?
Easily in my room. Occasionally I like to move around and people will catch me wandering up and down the hallway with a couple sheets of paper and a highlighter, but most often my studying, reading, and paper-writing are all done at my desk in my room.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
St. Robert Bellarmine. Robert is not only the patron saint of catechumens and a doctor of the Church but he is also known to have had ties with St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of our major seminary here in Milwaukee.