Parish: St. Agnes Parish, Green Bay
Birth Date: June 22
Seminary: Mundelein Seminary
1000 E. Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060-1967
Intercessor: St. Francis de Sales, because lately, God has been speaking to me through his book, “Introduction to the Devout Life.” It is a spiritually challenging read in which he counsels us how to live a life of love and true devotion to God. Very powerful stuff.
What is your baptismal day and in which church?
I was baptized on Aug. 9, 1992, at Holy Redeemer Church in Two Rivers, WI.
What is your favorite devotional and why?
While I am not too heavily invested in devotionals, it is hard to pass up on a daily rosary. There is just something to its simplicity and rhythm, not to mention that this particular devotional is backed by one of the most powerful intercessors that we have in the entire communion of saints: our Blessed Mother. Whenever I remain faithful to the rosary for a good streak of days, I feel confident that my mother in heaven is obtaining many sublime and unexpected graces for both myself and for all the church.
What was one misconception you had about seminary and how did that change?
Going into seminary, I did not have many stark preconceptions about what it would be like. I suppose I assumed that I would have to give up many of my hobbies, like computer programming and playing guitar, in order to make room for a simple, quiet, and contemplative life. My image of seminary seemed to be much more like a cloistered monastery. Of course, this is not the case. In many ways, seminarians live “normal lives.” We all have hobbies outside of just praying or being pious. Although, since entering, my life has become simpler, quieter, and more contemplative.
What would your life be like without a cellphone?
Having completed a five-day silent retreat, I can answer this easily. Overall, I would say that my life was much simpler and more intentional. Without a cellphone, I found that I had much more time every day. No longer was I spending time aimlessly browsing the same social media sites. This gave me a greater sense of peace, because I was not eagerly anticipating the next Facebook notification. Instead, I was able to invest my time in more fruitful activities like prayer, reading, exercise, journaling and music composition. I imagine that without a cellphone, my life would be a lot like this, but all the time. I would totally recommend a cellphone fast to everyone. Life is just better. Give it a try sometime!
What is the funniest thing that happened to you in formation thus far?
One day, during this same retreat, I was jogging around Mundelein’s beautiful lake, when I recognized a seminarian walking toward me. Since it was a silent retreat, I decided to greet him by striking my chest twice with my fist in a sort of salute. I did so and kept jogging. Not long after, I reached the turn around point for my jog. On the way back, I saw the same seminarian talking on his cellphone, on retreat no less! When I passed him, I realized that he was not a seminarian at all but Cardinal Cupich! I do not know what he thought of my salute, but I thought it was funny. It is always good to be humbled!
Who or what was the greatest influence in your discernment of the priesthood?
My mind immediately jumps to my years of altar serving in grade school. I always felt that I was in the right place, being so close to the altar at Mass. What happened on that very altar was important, and I wanted to remain there.
What does it mean to be a missionary disciple?
A missionary disciple is a friend and follower of Jesus Christ, sent out on mission. They know more than just facts about Jesus; they know him personally, through a continually deepening life of prayer. Through baptism, they are sent on mission, offering their daily lives as spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God (priestly office), proclaiming Jesus to the world in word and deed (prophetic office), while leading a holy life free from sin (kingly office).