I was born into a wonderful Catholic family that centered around God. My parents were both raised with a strong sense of Catholic mission. They brought up their seven children with the mindset that giving one’s life to God is everyone’s ultimate purpose and that we should always try to follow God’s voice. Growing up, we prayed the Rosary almost every night, often attended daily Mass, and were taught to live lives of virtue. We were also homeschooled through high school.
I have been completely enraptured with Jesus and His Church since I was young. From the age of eight I have served at the altar and studied Christianity with passion. While reading church history, I was always impressed by the noble figures of priests. These holy men lived in a way that completely paralleled the life and mission of Christ, becoming Christ so fully that they were able to incarnate Him into the world in the Most Holy Eucharist! There have also been many inspiring priests in my life. I often pictured myself someday becoming a witness of Christ’s love like these men I knew.
While I was attracted by the heroism of the priest, I realized that living the Christian life so radically was not for the spiritually complacent, which is exactly what I had become as I entered my mid-teen years. I still considered myself an active Catholic, but I had become weak in my faith and fearful of the idea of the priesthood, especially as I found myself failing to live out the moral theology that I had been taught so well.
Realizing how joyless life was without God, I began paying a short visit to Jesus at my home parish almost daily. There I rediscovered God’s infinite love for me in the Most Holy Eucharist! I pictured myself leaping out of the mire of sin and into the arms of the Good Shepherd and I asked Jesus to, “do with me what You will.” I sought to abandon myself to God’s grace and His eternal plan for my life; a life that I owe Him.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that God might be calling me to the priesthood and Archbishop Sample reminded me that I, “owe it to God to find out.” My parents encouraged me to be open to the Lord and I wanted to discern the priesthood fully. That is why I decided, with a lot of prayer and counsel, to enter seminary right out of high school. I am excited for this next step in my life because I know I’ll grow in faith, virtue, and self-knowledge.