2012-13: Theology II
St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
God is good and has been so to me from the beginning. Even though my family was not particularly devout, the foundation was set to get me where I am today. When I was five, I would have told you that I wanted to be a firefighter, astronaut, or priest (perhaps all three if given a chance!). As time went on, my interest in those vocations and the faith waned. During junior and senior high school and most of college, I was lukewarm. The death of Pope John Paul II was the catalyst I needed to come back.
Thankfully there was rich soil at the St. Stephen the Witness Student Center at the University of Northern Iowa. Fr. Kenneth Glaser welcomed me and saw to it that I became a better Christian. At that time, I yearned to be a husband and father, thinking that there was nothing better for me. Of course, what we think about ourselves is often at odds with what God thinks about us.
After college, I moved back home where I found a young adult group at St. Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines. It was very similar to the group support of which I was a part at St. Stephen. Thanks be to God, again, for we have there a great mentor in Deacon David O'Brien. While leading the Bible study, he stressed a prayerful life to maintain our personal relationship with our Lord.
Meanwhile, I dated a couple of times, only to find out to my dismay that marriage would probably not be my vocation. I was also working in customer service at an insurance broker. Despite my distaste for the job, the experience made me realize that I enjoy educating and helping people. Prayer took the desire a step further when I began to understand that there are much better things with which to help people than insurance.
I was still reluctant to take the next step of applying to the diocese, but after consulting with a couple of good friends who are like brothers to me and others, including married men and priests, I applied and was accepted by Bishop Pates in December of 2009.