|Date of Birth
||January 14, 1988
||Spalding Catholic High School
University of St. Thomas/
SJV College Seminary
St. Paul, MN
||St. John Vianney Theological Seminary,
|Year in Seminary
Anticipated date of
||c/o SJV Theological Seminary
1300 South Steele Street
Denver, CO 80210-2526
||St. Thérèse of Lisieux and
the Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey
How has your experience of seminary changed from the time you began until now?
For starters when I entered seminary right out of high school I studied philosophy, which is basically why we think, what we think. I didn't see much purpose for philosophy when I started seminary, but as I have continued to watch the world around me I have realized how important it is to have a good foundation in what it means to think. For example, when I started studying philosophy over five years ago, I didn't understand why we need to learn about relativism. The more philosophy I studied, the more I realized the reason I could not understand why philosophy was so important, was because many of my thought patterns were relativistic. Now that I am studying theology and the classes are much more geared toward the priesthood and the practical aspects of ministry. This semester I am taking a lectern and acolyte practicum, basically proclaiming the word of God and for lack of a better way to put it a cross between serving Mass and doing the deacons duties. In the acolyte practicum I am learning the proper way to purify vessels and how to celebrate a communion service. Even though I am 3 1/2 years away from priestly ordination, the zeal I have for souls has increased dramatically from the time when I entered seminary. I have also noticed that in the past five years of seminary the Lord has made me into a better man, and a better leader for His Church.
Tell us about your experience of prayer in the seminary?
I would love to say that prayer is incredibly easy and always incredibly fruitful, but this would not be true. Yes, there are times of great consolation when prayer is fruitful, there are also times when prayer can be incredibly challenging. On the bright side the longer I have been in seminary the more I have fallen in love with the Sacred Scriptures. I love to pray the Liturgy of the Hours because it is the prayer of the Church and also because it keeps me connected with our Heavenly Father morning, noon, and night. I have also found that Mary is a great source of strength for me in my greatest need, and she is always there to comfort and console me when I am alone.
The greatest source of strength and consolation that I receive daily is going to mass and adoration. I can think of no better thing to do with 1 1/2 hour of my day. I truly believe that the Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Catholic faith.
What insights do you have about the priest serving as a shepherd for the people of God?
From what I have experienced a great priest is just like any great biological father insofar as a priest is willing at any moment to lay down his life if necessary for his children. I have been blessed with a father who loves me dearly and is willing to do anything he can to support me. The priests in my life that have inspired me the most have gone out of their way to help me. It seems to me that if a priest was asked to go to the basketball game of one of his parishioners even though he was really busy he would make an appearance at the game out of love for that child. It also seems to me that a great priest would answer the phone at two o'clock in the morning and go to the hospital to anoint an elderly woman who was dying out of love for that woman, and Jesus Christ. A great priest is also willing to offer prayer and sacrifice for his children day in and day out denying himself, for the sake of his children.
When you envision yourself serving as a priest, what do you look forward to the most?
In the seminary we just had a day of recollection in which we were asked to reflect upon the priesthood and the mass. Every time I imagine myself stepping into the sanctuary as a priest the image sends chills down my spine. It is hard to comprehend that the Lord could be calling me to unite myself to the sacrificial lamb, laying my life down upon the altar at every mass as the altar of sacrifice, the priest, and the sacrifice. For me this image of the priesthood is the most terrifying and yet invigorating. There is no greater unity with God on this side of heaven than to offer the sacrifice of the mass.
The other thing that gets me pumped up and zealous for the priesthood is the youth. The youth are the church in a very real way, and they are the ones who need to be catechized so they can continue to pass on the faith, and carry the torch of Jesus Christ to the next generation.