give my whole life to God.
It was in my freshman year at college that I seriously considered entering a seminary.
After two short weeks of nerve-racking discernment, I gave up and decided I wanted to “have fun,” and thought to myself, “I don’t need to be a priest. I can do something else.” I then lived the stereotypical college life. In my fourth and final year in college, I realized that I had to make a decision before graduation. My options were to pursue a teaching degree or enter the seminary. At the time, I felt very distant from God, yet I never forgot that feeling I received in my dorm while praying.
It was “crunch time.” Understanding that God has a plan for everyone, I knew who to ask for guidance. I started receiving the sacrament of reconciliation on a weekly basis, attending daily Mass as often as possible, and committing one hour a week at St. Gregory’s Eucharistic adoration chapel. I was begging God to give me an answer as to what I should do with my life. I asked God to make His answer as obvious as a slap in the face.
God is good. After attempting to reprioritize my life (keyword: attempting), placing God first, everyone else second, and me last, I gained a better sense of reality. It was then in Eucharistic adoration that I experienced a singular graced moment and knew that God was asking me to enter the seminary. At that time I was very uncomfortable speaking with priests, since I was never an altar server and uninvolved in parish life (I was and am still on the introverted side). Therefore, I was terrified to call the vocation director of the Buffalo Diocese. But because of God’s grace, I was able to make that phone call and am currently in year four out of seven at the seminary.
Seminary life is challenging, but unbelievably rewarding. It has also dramatically changed me in a very good way. I consider Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora invaluable to the diocese and God’s people. I cannot imagine being better formed and educated elsewhere.
Though the Program of Priestly Formation is a seven-year process leading up to ordination, it is quite intensive. Seminary life is a life-changing, perspective-altering experience. Even if God calls me out of the seminary, though I do not anticipate that God will, I consider myself extremely privileged to have experienced it. I hope this sharing of my discernment may help others realize their calling, whatever God has planned for them.
This column originally appeared in the Feb. 2013 Western New York Catholic