Ryan AckmannRyan Ackmann

Second Pre-Theology   

Parish:  St. John Vianney, Brookfield

Seminary:  Saint Francis de Sales

Birthday: 14 April

Intercessor:  St. John the Evangelist

Describe yourself:

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, but as I was nearing graduation and preparing for college, some untimely events made me push these thoughts away.  Conversations about the priesthood came up while I was away at college, but I still had too many hesitations and didn’t end up following through.  There was even a point where I was ready to press “send” on an email to the local bishop’s office, but found myself saying, “Not now.  Not yet.”

After finishing my graduate studies, I worked in Chicago for three years as a pension actuary.  I joined Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the parish closest to my apartment, and over my time there, was able to meet choir members, parents at the academy, and many others in the parish community.  The more I became involved, the more my faith was invigorated in ways I had never imagined possible.  During a fall parish celebration, some seminarians from Mundelein were visiting as part of a program similar to St. Francis’ Teaching Parish Program.  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.”

After talking with a few other close friends, I made the decision to call a vocation director.  At each step in the discernment process throughout the next few months, all my heart kept saying was, “What next?”  Following conversations with a spiritual director who helped navigate the journey with me, the point came when the only step left was to submit an application to St. Francis.

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, and St. Jean de Brébeuf.

Vocation Office

Ask Jesus what He wants from you and


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