2021-22: Pre-Theology I
St. Pius X Seminary, Loras College, Dubuque, IA
I have always been in some aspect drawn to the religious life. I was raised in a Christian (Protestant, not Catholic) home and my faith has always been at the heart of my life. For four years I served as a missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship. As things generally do, my faith evolved and matured as I did. In my senior year of high school, my longtime best friend Dominic became interested in the Catholic faith. Together we made the decision to join RCIA and ever since our confirmation, we have felt at home in the Catholic Church.
Interestingly, I never really felt called to the priesthood until over a year after being confirmed into the Catholic Church. I wanted to study graphic design at Iowa State, and that is what I did. After my first year at Iowa State, I was working a landscaping job over the summer. One day, about halfway through the summer, I was in the middle of a very tedious task of pulling weeds. I had the whole area to myself and my mind began to wander. My mind was practically blank at this point, until something almost like a voice, but more like a thought, although not exactly my own thought, appeared: "You should be a priest." I was confused, having no idea where the thought came from or why it came to me in the middle of my work. Yet I was filled with a deep peace at the thought of me becoming a priest. I brought the idea up to my family and closest friends and received their understanding and full support. That peace that I felt while pulling weeds has remained with me and only deepened to this day, over three years later.
St. Jean Vianney said, "A priest goes to heaven or a priest goes to hell with a thousand people behind." I believe he is correct. A priest, as any man should, should be concerned with becoming a saint. A priest also should be concerned with the souls of his parishioners. Therefore, when asked about where I believe the priesthood will take me, my answer is: down the road God wishes me to go, hopefully ending at the gates of heaven, with a thousand people behind.