Ed Shikina

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My journey to the seminary, and God-willing, to the priesthood began in a conscious way when I was 24 years old. I grew up Catholic but after leaving home for college, I stopped going to church. After dropping out of college, I started working full-time in a retail store eventually being promoted to the manager of the store. I did not feel fulfilled so I began to wonder about what I should really do with my life. At age 24, I went to Mass for the first time in years and had a conversion experience. I felt right then that God was real and that being in church was like being home again. I asked God what I should do with my life. Within 2 months, I received a brochure in the mail asking, “Have you ever considered becoming a priest?” I believed that was God’s answer to my prayer. Thus began my journey to the seminary. I didn’t know much about the Catholic Faith so I immersed myself in learning about it. I became involved in my home parish and developed a regular prayer life. In the meantime, I worked other jobs such as lumber sales, forklift driver, and IT helpdesk technician. After 10 yrs of preparation, as well as hesitation to become a priest, I finally felt ready to enter the seminary. I went to the Pontifical College Josephinum for 4 years from 2010-2014 and received my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. In the fall of 2014, I then came to Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary for theology. It came highly recommended from a priest who had recently graduated from here. I have grown so much here as a person in all of the 4 pillars of formation – human, pastoral, spiritual, and intellectual. The diversity of experiences of the men here is fascinating. Some men have held high positions in the secular world. Others are widowers. Some have grown children. And despite our “mature” age, we still have fun! It is without hesitation that I recommend older men, age 30 and up (and some are even over 70!), to come here to discern a call to the priesthood.