I am a seminarian seeking to bring Christ to others and others to Christ through joyful witness to His generosity to us.
Tell us your vocation story:
I grew up on a small dairy farm just west of Kenosha. I went to Iowa State to study dairy science. I always wanted to return home and be a farmer for the rest of my ife. But, when I was in college, I quickly started going to daily Mass. Being enriched in the sacraments daily helped soften my heart to hear Christ speaking. One of my priests in college said to me pointedly, "Jon, the way I see it you can either feed cows or feed sheep", referring to Jesus' command to St. Peter in John's Gospel. That helped me to think about the priesthood in a clear way. Through many holy friends and the example of many priests, I continually felt that call to say, "Yes," to Christ and to give Him a chance.
I applied to Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, was accepted, and started in fall of 2014. Being in the seminary has been a great experience learning how to love Jesus, love his people, and love his Church. I have had so much joy in going deeper into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and bringing his love to those around me.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
I recently realized that the greatest challenge for a man to consider seminary or the priesthood is "FOMO", or "fear of missing out". In a Facebook world, we're so aware (or think we are) of what others are doing. We scroll through our Facebook feeds and our Twitter timelines, and we see Jimmy who's backpacking through Europe, and Bill and Sally are married and on to their third child, and Mike just got a new Mustang. We think, "Oh, if I join seminary, I can't have those things." We're afraid of what we might be missing out on!
But if we're honest with ourselves, even if we weren't in seminary, we probably wouldn't be backpacking in Europe or buying Mustangs, and Sally is already married to Bill! But, Facebook convinces us we're "missing out" on all these things - even though we're really not.
If one wants to consider seminary seriously, he should take a break from social media for a while.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
"For you has he commanded his angels, to keep you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:11) It reminds me how precious I am to the Lord and how much he desires my good at all times and in all ways.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
I like to read, spend time with friends, follow the Iowa State Cyclones and keep up on what's happening in the world of agriculture!
Where do you like to go to pray?
I like to pray in any chapel that has a crucifix and our Lord in the Eucharist. Also, I like to pray in cemeteries, it helps me to remember my own end and the many holy people who went before me as examples.
Where do you do your best studying?
I like to study in places that are bustling and loud, but I'm not part of the activity, such as a really busy coffee shop.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
St. Thèrése! I once read a series of letters she wrote to a seminarian, in good and bad, who was eventually ordained. Even as a young girl in her twenties, she understood the heart of a seminarian. I can only imagine how well she knows our hearts as a saint in heaven!