- What were some of the challenges you faced while discerning your call to the priesthood, and what gave you the strength/courage to overcome them?
- One challenge I faced while discerning priesthood was to choose between two goods: priesthood and married/family life. When I first entered the seminary I was very much attracted to both vocations. I had to learn, over time, through discernment and living day to day in the seminary life, which of these two goods is the greatest good for me. God slowly and steadily revealed more of himself to me, and in relationship with Him, He revealed more of me to me. As I came to know him and myself more, I discovered that the greatest good for me was to serve Him in the priesthood. Seminary formation, parish summer assignments, time with my own family and other families, spiritual directors and books, consistent prayer and growth in the spiritual life, friendships with other seminarians and with priests, and just time itself helped me to discern priesthood over marriage. I am grateful for this journey. Because of it, I have always valued and appreciated the beautiful vocation of married life and families in the parishes where I have served; they have been a treasure for me as a parish priest. All my priesthood I have been blessed with serving families, being close to them, and being fed by them even as I have fed them with our faith.
- How would you describe your experience in the seminary?
- Life-changing. It changed my life. I can’t imagine not having gone through the years of formation that I received while in seminary. I don’t even want to think what my life would have been like without seminary. So many men today in our culture don’t get even a weekend or weeklong retreat to be reflective, most don’t have spiritual & moral father-figures and mentors like we do when we are in the seminary, and the majority of men today don’t get the well-rounded formation of the human person offered in seminary today. The time I spent in seminary not only prepared me to be a priest, it prepared me to be a good man and a well-rounded human being.
- What has been the best thing about being a priest?
- Several things. Praying the Mass, hearing confessions, joining two people in a life-long union of love in marriage, sitting by the death-bed of parishioners & reconciling them to God & preparing them for heaven. I love celebrating the sacraments with people. I also enjoy working with parish staff and leaders on common projects, like the faith formation of adults and teens, and seeing the fruits of our labors of love in the growth in faith of those who benefit from our team work on such worthy projects. I like that parish priesthood has allowed me to stay close to my own family, and be an important part of my siblings’ families. I find parish priesthood to be very fulfilling, full of variety, challenging and stretching, fun and amazing.
- What does being a priest mean to you?
- Being Christ for others, especially in the Sacraments. Being with people during some of their most vulnerable and valuable moments of their lives and encountering Christ together in these important experiences. Striving and journeying toward heaven together as a community of believers, and humbling submitting myself to Christ to be their shepherd. There is simply no other better life for me.