Dcn. Ryan Ackmann
Parish: St. Patrick, Milwaukee
Seminary: Saint Francis de Sales
Birthday: 14 April
Intercessor: St. John Vianney
Son of God, student of life; that is, trying to love, trying to learn.
Tell us your vocation story:
I considered the priesthood a bit in high school and at college, but throughout that time, still had too many hesitations and didn’t end up following through. While working in Chicago as a pension actuary after finishing my graduate studies, though, I became involved at a parish and my faith was invigorated in ways I had never imagined possible. Finally, during a fall parish celebration, some seminarians from Mundelein were visiting. The subject of discerning the priesthood came up again through conversations with some of these men, and this time, my heart was finally open enough to say, “Yeah, maybe this is for me.”
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
For me, the greatest challenge was learning to accept with faith that we are really only passing through this world. Amidst all the material comforts telling us otherwise, we must recognize our true call is to be holy because our true home is in heaven. Finding not just a career, but a call into a sacrificial relationship is the key to becoming the best versions of ourselves we can be. Then, by constantly renewing our love for that sacrifice, we can enjoy a foretaste of that eternal home here on Earth.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
“Remember not the sins and offences of my youth, but according to thy mercy, think thou on me, O Lord” (Psalm 25:7). I discovered this text through a particularly moving piece of music by Richard Farrant that the OLMC choir sings every year for the First Sunday of Lent. To me, this verse says that although I might find myself disappointed with past sins, God does not want me to remain there. Whenever I fall into desolation, I pray for God to lift me out of it and lead me back into the light.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
Being with friends, camping, traveling, singing.
Where do you like to go to pray?
Gothic style churches that lead me to being in awe of the greatness of God.
Where do you do your best studying?
In my room at the seminary.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
Mary, the Immaculate Conception, St. John the Evangelist, St. Jean de Brébeuf and St. John Vianney