Parish: St. Margaret Mary Parish, Neenah
Birth Date: April 15
Seminary: Pontifical North American College
00120 Vatican City, V
Vatican City State, Europe
Address for Mailing Cards: 6337 Sturgeon Bay Rd., Luxemburg WI 54217
Intercessor: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, because I directly credit her with getting me to seminary. I was reading her book “Story of a Soul,” when my college chaplain noticed that and then encouraged me to pray about going to the seminary. This year, I ask her to help me grow in love for Jesus.
What is your baptismal day? Who baptized you and in which church?
On April 22, 1990 at Our Lady of Victory.
What is your favorite devotional and why?
The most holy rosary — since I was young boy; I remember praying the rosary with my grandparents whenever we stayed at their home or whenever they were visiting us at our home. My whole family would join my grandpa and grandma, and this is where I first heard and meditated upon the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and (a bit later) the Luminous Mysteries of Our Lord’s life. The rosary is my favorite because Jesus is always at the center. In fact, the word Iesus (“Jesus”) is exactly the center word of the Ave Maria prayer (“Hail Mary”) when prayed in Latin.
What was one misconception you had about seminary and how did that change?
My misconception was that seminary was not for me. In college I attended the Vigil Mass for Life at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. At that Mass I recall seeing all the seminarians processing in and being so impressed to see that many young men becoming priests. Yet, for some reason I assumed that seminary and being a priest was not my calling. Since being in seminary I have realized that the seminary is precisely where the Lord wants me so that I can become the man and priest he has called me to be.
What would your life be like without a cellphone?
Like many people, I use my cellphone (a smartphone) for a variety of purposes. It can serve as my alarm, phone, Internet browser, news source, email, camera, photo album, weather source, library, notepad, music player, video player, map, calendar, voice recorder, scanner, bank, wallet and sometimes a breviary prayer book (although I really do not like praying off of a screen). Without a smartphone I would not have such a “one-stop shop” that could handle all these different functions. So maybe my life would be a bit more complicated by having to constantly consider all the tools I would need throughout the day. That said, I would certainly have less distractions throughout the day (texts, calls, notifications, news updates, etc.) and would probably get more good reading done. To cut down on the distractions, I have tried to delete unnecessary and time-sinking apps (Youtube!) and have turned off most notifications.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you in formation thus far?
A very funny moment sticks out to me during my first year in seminary when I was teaching confirmation class to seventh graders. I was covering the theology of the Eucharist and introducing them to the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation: how at Mass the bread and wine substantially change into the body and blood of Jesus. I wrote out the word on a whiteboard and proceeded to tell them about how this is a philosophical word with Latin roots, trans-substantia (change of/through the substance). But when the students began to speak of transubstantiation, they kept saying something that sounded off, they just could not quite pronounce it. Eventually I turned around and realized that I had misspelled on the whiteboard and had actually written “transubstantion”.
Who or what was the greatest influence in your discernment of the priesthood?
The book “To Save a Thousand Souls” by Fr. Brett Brannen was a great influence as I discerned the priesthood. During college, I was in a discernment group with other guys and we read this book together. Today, multiple men from that group are in seminary or serious priesthood discernment.
What does it mean to be a missionary disciple?
The Gospel of Matthew is the only Gospel that gives Jesus the last word: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” A missionary disciple baptizes, teaches and knows that Jesus is with us always.