Deacon Jake Epstein
2020- 21: Theology IV
St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, MN
My name is Jake Epstein and my home parish is St Pius X in Urbandale. The idea to become a priest first entered my head in eighth grade. I picked Gabriel as my confirmation name because I wanted to announce the good news to the world, and I remember thinking that that is what a priest does, so that's what I should do. Once this idea got into my head it lodged there and has been very persistent despite all my best attempts to get rid of it over the years.
At first it was easy to tell myself that it was too early to be deciding on a vocation, but towards the end of high school that argument wore a little thin. I confided in some of my friends that I thought I might want to be a priest. The looks of bewilderment and concern on their faces as they told me they couldn't imagine me as a priest made quite an impression on me, so I didn't mention it to anyone again for many years.
The conviction stayed with me that I should at least talk to someone about the seminary, but I never had the courage to act on it until I started praying the Angelus regularly. Hearing Mary's words "Behold the servant of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word" three times a day was a huge inspiration, but also an indictment of the way I was "Not now, maybe later". Praying on the way Mary said yes to God was the encouragement I needed to finally take action.
I think that the religious life is fundamentally about service. I hope that seminary will allow me to deepen my relationship with God and gain the skills and knowledge I will need to serve God's church.