Aidan ParksAidan Parks

First Pre-Theology

Parish: St. Mary's Visitation, Elm Grove

Seminary: Saint Francis de Sales

Birthday: October 18

Intercessor: St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Thomas the Apostle

Describe yourself.

I love my family, Milwaukee, and Christ’s Church. I desire to give my life to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the universal Church.

Tell us your vocation story.

Growing up a cradle Catholic steeped in Catholic culture through school and parish life, I was always familiar with the priesthood. As a young kid, I remember growing in awe of the priesthood and its intimate connection to Christ. This reverence of the priesthood was only enhanced as I became an altar server. The rich liturgical tradition of the Church, especially the Easter Triduum, always served as a moment of calling to the priesthood.

While I continued to follow the precepts of the Church, learn about my faith, and feel this call to the priesthood, my prayer life in middle school and high school was inadequate. I could never get into the routine of daily mental prayer. As a result, I punted the question of priesthood. Instead, I focused on academics and pursuing worldly success.

My own materialism and pride often got in the way of God’s call. Additionally, I could not imagine giving up marriage and children for the sake of the Kingdom. This all came to a head freshman year of college. I joined a business fraternity and began to mentally plan my real estate development career. Through prayer and reflection, I realized this plan was hollow. I especially remember hearing the Gospel of the Rich Young Man at mass in Madison; the words “he went away sad” pierced me to the heart. While pursuing excellence is good, I was planning my life around accumulating wealth and worldly success, which would not make me happy. The simplicity and celibacy of the priesthood ran directly contrary to my more self-centered goals. Once I realized my plan to get married was actually centered around chasing the comforts and accolades of a business career and avoiding the sacrifices of the priesthood, I realized I had to reevaluate what God was calling me to do.

While this reorientation in my life was occurring, three of my grandparents passed away in a matter of months. Attending their funerals and reflecting on their lives reminded me of our smallness and mortality. In the end, the salvation of souls is the only objective that endures and is worth pursuing. Once I became truly open to where God was leading me, the call to the priesthood became clearer. I entered seminary immediately after graduating college and thank God every day for His call to discern the priesthood more intently.

What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?

While a man’s heart may be drawn to the seminary, various obstacles and concerns may appear in his path. The most formidable challenge, in my opinion, is resolving to spend time in prayer each day. Oftentimes, good activities such as academics and socializing can get in the way of our prayer life. Without consistent prayer, however, we are unable to discern God’s will and whether it includes seminary.

What is your favorite psalm verse and why?

“Man cannot abide in his pomp, he is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:12). This verse encapsulates the shortness of life and the futility of riches. It is such an urgent reminder to live not for this world but for the next.

What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?

I love to spend time with family and friends, play golf, photograph beautiful landscapes, and go on walks or runs.

Where do you like to go to pray?

I like to pray at SMV’s perpetual adoration chapel. Being open at all hours of the day, it has been a great grace throughout my life. At the seminary, I like to pray at the grotto in the woods.

Where do you do your best studying?

I do my best studying in the evening, in my own room, at a desk.

Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?

St. John Vianney, and of course, Our Lady

Vocation Office

Ask Jesus what He wants from you and

BE BRAVE!

© Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vocation Office | St. Francis de Sales Seminary | 3257 S. Lake Drive, St. Francis, WI 53235 | 414.747.6437

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