I am entering my 2nd Year of Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Right now, I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be in my discernment. I have a fair amount of certainty that God is calling me to the Priesthood.
Following high school, I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I studied Business Administration. While at UNL I worked for the Nebraska football team as a student manager. Further, I was in the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
During the first two years of college consisted of going to mass on Sunday, but nothing more. During this time I never had a desire to get involved with the Newman Center.
But toward the end of my sophomore year, I felt that I needed to do more with my faith than just Mass on Sunday. This desire for faith to play a greater part in my life lead to joining a Bible study with friends.
At the end of my sophomore year, (and fellow Pius 11′ grads) Lily Kennet convinced my friend Zach Birkel convinced to go on a FOCUS Mission Trip to Ukraine. Eventually, Zach convinced me to go as well.
The Mission Trip turned out to be a life-changing experience. On the trip during Eucharistic Adoration I encountered Jesus in a personal way. For the first time I encountered prayer as a conversation with the Lord. After this encounter, I looked forward to the time in Eucharistic Adoration because I encountered the joy and peace that is only found in the Lord.
Following the trip during my junior year I put Jesus Christ at the center of my life. I got more involved with FOCUS, I began leading a bible study and also went to daily mass.
A year later after going on another FOCUS mission trip to Rwanda I started to truly discern the possibility of religious life and the priesthood. I met with a spiritual director and it became clear in prayer after a few meetings that God was calling me to the priesthood. But, I wasn’t ready to give God my yes yet. Instead, I decided I would be a FOCUS missionary for a few years, and then go to the seminary. I applied and got accepted by FOCUS. However, while visiting the Dominicans in St. Louis that year I kept thinking about the diocesan priesthood. When visiting St. Gregory the Great Seminary, Jesus spoke to me and told me to follow Him to the seminary to pursue the diocesan priesthood. When I say Jesus spoke to me, I mean that he spoke directly to my heart in a clear way. At this point it was apparent that I needed to finally drop my net and follow the Lord to the Seminary. As a result, I graduated from UNL in August of 2015 and went straight to St. Gregory the Great Seminary.
Moreover, after my first year of the seminary my parents moved to Elkhorn. In my life family has been very important for me. I started to pray with the desire I had to be in the same diocese as my family. Whenever I would pray with this desire, I would experience profound peace. Equally important, I experienced the Lord desiring me to switch Dioceses because the Omaha Archdiocese has a greater need for priests.
In the end, after a long discernment process with my spiritual director, I discerned that the Lord. was calling me to switch from the Lincoln Diocese to the Omaha Archdiocese.
After I complete three more years of Theology, I will be ordained a Priest.
Following my ordination, I will go wherever my Bishop sends me. Since I have completed an intensive Spanish-Immersion in Guatemala it is possible that I will be placed in a Spanish-speaking Parish. I still have a lot more Spanish to learn, but I think over the next three years I can reach a level where I can be able to minister in Spanish.
As a priest, my biggest aim will be to live as a Spiritual Father to my parishioners. This will take place primarily through the Sacraments, but also through Parish programs, Bible studies, discipleship, and spiritual direction.
As a Priest I hope to primarily reach the adults in the parish. If I can effectively lead the adults to Jesus, then they can too lead others to the Lord.
I think my greatest achievement after High School, was winning the Student Manager of the Year Award for the Nebraska Football Team. This award went to the Student Manager that exhibited outstanding leadership skills. After I received the award, one of the coaches Ron Brown told my dad (who used to be the Assistant Athletic Director for Football) that I was the best Student Manager he ever had in his thirty-two years coaching at Nebraska.
I really enjoy playing basketball, football, and golf with friends. I also enjoy traveling and photography.
Memories of Pius X:
I have several memories from my time at Pius.
I have a lot of fantastic memories from my Junior year when Fr. Holdren was my Theology teacher. During his class, he would play the guitar and tell interesting stories from his life before Seminary. He was the priest that I found I could relate to.
I also have a lot of memories from my time on the football team. In particular, I will never forget when Blake Merrit had a 50-yard touchdown run against Ralston my senior year. I can’t remember how many tackles he broke, but it had to have been around 6.
In addition, have good memories from the brotherhood on the football team. Several of my close friendships came out of the football team. I don’t remember as much the wins and losses, but the brotherhood that I built with my fellow teammates.
Lastly, I am thankful for my time at Pius X. It helped give me a foundation for my faith. The example of Fr. Holdren, and other priests and sisters, gave me am incredible witness to Jesus and the Church. Their model of holiness spoke louder than anything I was taught in the classroom.