Nicholas BaumgardnerDeacon Nicholas Baumgardner

Fourth Theology

Parish: St. John the Evangelist, Greenfield

Seminary:  Saint Francis de Sales 

Birthday:  January 5 

Intercessor:  The Blessed Virgin Mary 

Describe yourself:

A beloved son of God, called to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to share eternal happiness with Him in the life to come.

Tell us your vocation story:

I first considered the idea of priesthood as early as kindergarten or first grade, but I didn't begin to intentionally think and pray about it more until I was a freshman in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was at Madison's St. Paul University Catholic Center that I first encountered the beauty of the Mass and experienced, in a profound way, God's unfathomable and inexhaustible mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. By the grace of God, inspiration and support by many young men and women involved at St. Paul's, I began to develop a personal relationship with God through daily prayer, daily Mass and frequent Confession. The summer after my sophomore year of college, equipped with the tools necessary for discerning any vocation, I had the privilege of serving on staff at Catholic Youth Expeditions (CYE) in Door County, WI. It was during my time at CYE that summer, living in the context of Catholic Christian community, that I experienced God prompting me to pursue a vocation to priesthood. I pray that God may continue to give me the grace to respond faithfully to whatever he desires of me.

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

For me, the greatest challenge that I faced when considering the seminary was the temptation to dismiss the possibility that God might be calling me to be a priest. "How could God be calling me to be a priest? When I had all these weaknesses and was struggling with all these sins?," I asked myself. One of the things that was most helpful in overcoming this challenge was realizing that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. God is much greater than our faults and failures and He calls us not despite our weaknesses and sins, but in the very midst of them. Trusting in this, and having confidence in God's power to use a weak instrument to show forth His glory, is essential, I think, in overcoming the temptation to excuse oneself from considering seminary.   

What is your favorite psalm verse and why?

One of my favorite verses is: "O men, how long will your hearts be closed, will you love what is futile and seek what is false?" (Psalm 4:3, Grail Translation)  For me, this verse captures perfectly the beautiful anguish of a man that continues to struggle with sin - to love what is futile and seek what is false, but who desires to be set free to love God with his whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Whenever I pray this verse, I am reminded not only of the sin in my life, but also of my deep desire for God, for Him who, above all else, is worth loving.

What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?

I enjoy anything outdoors: biking, hiking, running, camping, playing sports (especially ultimate frisbee), etc.... I also enjoy reading, especially anything by J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.

Where do you like to go to pray?

My favorite place to pray is any place that has Perpetual Adoration. Coming to the understanding that Jesus Christ is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament was profoundly important in helping me discern priesthood. Consequently, I have a special love for the Real Presence and find Eucharistic Adoration to be a beautiful time for prayer and spiritual reading. When Adoration is not available, I like to pray in a place that is both quiet and beautiful.

Where do you do your best studying?

I do my best studying when it is completely silent and when no one else is around. 

Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?

People should ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for my vocation. They should ask Mary to pray that, like her, I may say, "Yes," to God's will for my life.

Vocation Office

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