Parish: St. Robert of Newminster, Shorewood
Seminary: Saint Francis de Sales
Birthday: September 3
Intercessor: St. Josemaría Escrivá
I am (I think) a reasonably well-balanced social introvert. I tend to get excited about the little things in life and am passionate about the wildness of the Holy Spirit.
Tell us your vocation story.
I was in high school at a summer camp when I first experienced the call to pursue the priesthood. Following this call, I started discerning, first with the Schoenstatt Fathers and later at the JPII House of Discernment at St. Robert’s in Shorewood. I eventually discerned that the priesthood was not for me and made plans to go to grad school for applied statistics. However, I was not at peace with this decision, and decided to defer grad school for a year to do campus ministry work as a Brew City Catholic missionary. As part of the missionary program I began praying a holy hour every day. In this prayer, the Lord began directing my thoughts to my brother in seminary, as well as to diocesan priests I knew and to the diaconate. After a couple months of this continuing I finally figured out what the Lord was up to and realized that I had to discern seminary again. During the missionaries’ pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi I decided that I needed to apply, not because “God told me to do it” but rather because God formed my heart in prayer to desire the priesthood.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
I would say that the greatest challenge facing a man considering seminary is the noise we often surround ourselves with. Even when we pray (which is necessary for good discernment) we feel like we have to “accomplish” something, so we look around for things to “fill up” our prayer time. Entering into the silence, sitting quietly with the Lord, letting him get a word in, listening, all these are more important, since God understands the mystery of who we are better than we do. It’s super hard, but totally worth it because God moves in silence, and shapes us when we let him. A wise priest once told me that the only failed holy hour is the one we don’t show up to.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
“If I take the wings of the morning / and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, / even there your hand shall lead me, / and your right hand shall hold me.” (Ps. 139:9-10) This beautiful psalm taught me the seemingly obvious truth that God speaks to us in the Scriptures. It is a promise of God’s love and presence, as well as his wild persistence.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
I love music, camping, and sports like basketball or baseball. I also like going out with friends from time to time.
Where do you like to go pray?
The chapel usually, though I do sometimes go for walks by the lake. My “native language” of prayer is through music, so when the chapel is empty I like to play the piano before the Lord in the tabernacle.
Where do you do your best studying?
At desks, because they help me concentrate, in libraries, because people aren’t as inclined to interrupt.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
St. Clare of Assisi.