Originally from Colgate but a Milwaukee-enthusiast, I’m a 2017 graduate of our college seminary program and have just begun my third year of theology studies in Rome.
Tell us your vocation story:
Ultimately, while rooted in my family, my vocation story finds it beginning in an experience before the Blessed Sacrament. After my sophomore year of high school (I attended Marquette High School in Milwaukee), I had the opportunity to experience Christ on a semi-silent canoe retreat in the Canadian wilderness, along with several classmates, a Jesuit scholastic, and a Jesuit priest. During this 70 mile retreat, we were given the opportunity to adore the Lord perpetually in the Eucharist throughout the night. My “adoration shift” was early in the morning; the surroundings were breathtaking and my experience before our Lord was everything. Before Jesus, there was neither a voice nor lightning, but rather a conviction in that holy silence to draw closer to Him, especially through this priestly vocation. In the ensuing year, I met frequently with the priest whom I had been on retreat with, to pray, talk, and receive guidance and support. During my first week of senior year, I contacted Fr. Luke Stand for an initial meeting. Two weeks later, I came back with my parents and formally received my application from Fr. Luke (and deleted the other university applications I had been working on). While boarding the flight to the March for Life in January of 2013, I received a phone call from Fr. Luke letting me know of my acceptance to St. Francis de Sales.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
In my opinion, the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary is the cultivation of and perseverance in the spiritual life. Without a personal relationship with Jesus - and the freedom that it brings - it is impossible for the authentic discernment of our vocations!
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
"As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul yearns for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?" (Ps 42: 2-3). I really don’t think anything else needs to be said! This is our Christian longing, our pilgrimage back to Him.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
My hobbies include (in no particular order): spending time with Jesus, being with good people, family, and friends, drinking coffee, reading Flannery O’Connor, getting outdoors, exploring Milwaukee, and listening to Bon Iver.
Where do you like to go to pray?
My favorite place to pray in the Archdiocese is at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill (I was confirmed there by Bishop Sklba in high school). While the whole Basilica is charged with that sense of sacredness and beauty, I am struck especially by the intimacy of the second level chapel dedicated to the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, especially when no one else is there.
Where do you do your best studying?
Depends upon the day and what I’m trying to accomplish - so the library, a coffee shop, or my room.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
Although this answer frequently changes, right now, I’m really drawn to the figure of St. John the Beloved. By his life he presents a compelling example of discipleship; the language of his Gospel speaks to the profound reality of Jesus; and his relationship with Mary (“Behold your Mother”) is a pattern for all of us to follow.