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The Archdiocese of OmahA Seminarians

The seminarians of the Archdiocese of Omaha exhibit a wide variety of interests, hobbies and talents and range in age from 18 to 42 years old. They represent a diverse group of high school graduates, college transfers, college graduates, and occupational and professional workers.



Rev. Mr. Marcus Knecht - Theology IV Rev. Mr. Patrick Nields - Theology IV
Tobias Letak - Theology IV Rev. Mr. Eliot Schwer - Theology IV
Rev. Mr. Rafael Majano - Theology IV  Rev. Mr. Joseph Sund - Theology IV
Conor Bopp - Pastoral Year Scott Schilmoeller - Theology III
Nicholas Mishek - Theology III Scott Watts - Theology III
Christopher Demers - Theology II Patrick Moser - Theology II
Taylor Leffler  - Theology II Padraic Stack - Theology II
Paul Blum - Theology I  Bill Cremers - Theology I
Zachary Tucker - Pre-Theology II  
 Paul Floersch - Pre-Theology I  
Spencer Leffler - College IV Matthew Soltys - College IV
Phillip Novotny - College IV Mauricio Tovar - College IV
Connor Kerschinske - College III Kyle Loecker - College III 
Eric Koch - College III  
 Charlie Jarosik - College II  Daniel Strecker - College II
Juan Jose Gonzalez - College I  Noah Spagnotti - College I
Adam Pinkelman - College I  



Marcus Knecht – Theology IV
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary 

I grew up going to public school in northern Iowa and received my BA in Computer Science from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. I moved to Omaha in 2005 when hired by PEAK Advisor Alliance as a Technical Support Analyst. I love helping people with their computer issues and questions. I also enjoy interacting with people while at Bible studies, traveling the world, dancing (ballroom, swing, etc), and playing board games.

Since moving to Omaha, I joined St. James parish and quickly got involved in the impressive young adult activities and Bible studies they and other Omaha parishes offered for growing in our faith as adults. I decided to help get the word out to other young adults through regular e-mails to the increasing number of friends I was making. Faith has always been important to me but, as I got older, it also became important to share my Catholic faith, correcting the misunderstandings that some may have about it.

The priesthood was something that would pop in and out of my head throughout my life. I went on a discernment retreat while in college but wasn't convinced. By the time I graduated I wanted to be done with school, so I decided I was ready for the working world. Still, thoughts of me as a priest would resurface here and there. The older I got, the longer those thoughts stuck around and the more people would ask me if I had ever thought about it. Yet I just wasn't sure if God really created me to be a priest. He seemed silent whenever I asked Him in my prayers so I wouldn't do anything about it. At the beginning of 2010 I got a spiritual director and he suggested I just visit a seminary to see what one is like. Then, at least, I would know that much.

While there, I realized that if I was to have the question of whether I am truly called to the priesthood answered, I would have to start walking down that road of discernment instead of only thinking about it. But, I would have to take it step by step. That meant I needed to stop asking if I am called to the priesthood, because that would be too far down the road, and begin asking if I am called to enter Seminary - the place to properly discern and be formed in the priesthood. Filling out the application to seminary was part of that discernment process.

Leaving the working world and going back to school was stressful but with no real "red flags". It felt like the natural thing to do at the proper time. God does want me in the seminary, in an environment that helps me listen to God's voice and to discern my vocation.

When I told family and friends that I was going to join the seminary, I requested they not tell me I "would make a good priest" because I need to stay focused on the "now" and not the future. Right now I need "to be a good student."

If thoughts of the priesthood or religious life pop up in your head, take the next step in finding out more about it. Maybe that is to tell your parents, or your spiritual director, or the vocations director. Maybe it is to research a particular religious order or make a visit to a seminary. But don't stand still merely thinking about it.

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Tobias Letak – Theology IV
North American College

Hello, my name is Tobias M. A. Letak, and I am a member of St. Stephen the Martyr parish in Omaha. I was born and raised in Omaha, and my parents are Benjamin and Seraphia Letak. I have one older sister and two younger brothers.

I had a sort of conversion experience during the summer after I completed the eighth grade at St. Stephen the Martyr school. I attended the Steubenville Mid-America youth conference -- put on by the Franciscan University of Steubenville -- and for the first time, I experienced God's love for me in a profound, indescribable way. This experience fostered my earliest thoughts about becoming a priest.

Over the course of the next four years of my life, in which I studied at Skutt Catholic High School, the sense of a call to the priesthood came and went -- at times I felt sure I would be a priest, at others I was confident that I would become a married man. At the time of my graduation, I did not feel any particular pull toward entering the seminary, so I made plans for a college career at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

At UNL, I studied computer science (an interest I had developed in high school), and I was also considering adding a major in mathematics. I was content with the University -- which has a great Catholic community in its Newman Center, by the way -- and planned to spend a full four years of study there.

Up until the summer of 2009 (the summer after my freshman year in college), I was certain that I would be returning to Lincoln for the continuation of my undergraduate studies. During that summer, I had begun to more actively discern the vocation to the priesthood and was in contact with Fr. Paul Hoesing, the vocations director. At one point in a conversation in the middle of July, Fr. Hoesing mentioned that it would be possible for me to enter the seminary in the fall of 2009. When he spoke of that, the seminary once again became an option for me that I was excited to consider. (Before that, I was convinced that it was too late to apply for that coming academic year.) After prayer and deliberation, I felt that God was calling me to enter into the seminary at that point in my life, and I started filling out the paperwork. Then, God did the rest, and now I am studying at St. John Vianney seminary at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

My experience at the seminary has been a great blessing for me! I have met many wonderful men who have challenged me by their holiness of life to grow in my own relationship with God. Being in such a supportive community focused on the common goal of growing in love in Christ for the sake of future parishioners is such a wonderful gift -- one that has given me a valuable experience I could never have foreseen.

If you, reader, have felt that perhaps God is calling you to the priesthood, do not be afraid of listening and entering the seminary! There is no better place to discern that religious call. Pray about it, and follow God wherever He calls you! God bless you!

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Rafael Majano – Theology IV
Assumption Seminary 

May the peace of Christ be with you. I am Rafael Majano from Barquisimeto, Venezuela. I am the second son out of four siblings. My parents to whom I owe my vocation and a great education are Rafael and Maria del Pilar Majano. After graduating from a Catholic school I applied to a very recognized university "Lisandro Alvarado" located in my hometown. By the grace of God I was able to obtain a bachelors in accounting and thus a good Job in which I worked for several years.

My religious background can be traced since my early years. As a young teenager I was very involved in various activities in my parish. I was a catechist to kids, and young adults and even adults. Without walking in through this passage I think my vocation could not have developed. In 2005 I had the honor and privilege to attend World Youth Day in Germany. This was the first apostolic trip of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. While having a real encounter with God, I went back to Venezuela with a burning call from God asking me to become a priest.

I made many trips through the U.S. for vacation purposes. During Christmas of 2005 I had the blessing to visit my brother who lives in Florida with his wife and my nephew who was only two months old. Before returning to my hometown in Venezuela I was invited to Omaha by a priest. I had in mind the decision to enter seminary formation in Venezuela, not here. Some priests from Omaha encouraged me to be part of this archdiocese and after a year of discernment in my country I came to Omaha to apply and be part of this archdiocese. In 2007 I was formally accepted as a seminarian. I went to Conception Seminary and after that I moved to Saint John Vianney seminary where I finished my English program and a great spiritual formation. Finally I moved to Assumption Seminary in San Antonio where I finished my philosophical studies as a Pre-Theologian student. This fall in the same seminary I began Theology 1st taking classes at Oblate School of Theology to complete in four years my theological training.

With great gratitude I want to extend a word of thanks to everybody who is involved with vocations in our Archdiocese. I say this because it is by your support that I am able to walk in this journey toward the priesthood. I also want to mention that Omaha has become my home. To those interested in the priestly life I encourage you to talk to your pastor and to seek guidance from a wise person such as a spiritual director and at the same time make a contact with the Vocation Director of our archdiocese.

Remember that Jesus said in the Scriptures: "…I have called you by name." (Isaiah, 43:1)

May God bless you and remember prayer for all seminarians from Omaha, for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Yours in Christ,


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Patrick Nields – Theology IV
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary 

Greetings! My name is Pat Nields.  I am in my second year of Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary located in St. Louis, Missouri.    My home parish is St. Philip Neri Church in Omaha. I grew up in Omaha, in the Florence area. My high school years were at Creighton Prep. I enjoyed my four years at Prep and admired the Jesuits I got to know there. After high school, I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and obtained a degree in Business. Later, I attended Creighton and obtained a law degree. After studying, studying and more studying I took the Nebraska Bar Exam. Fortunately I passed and a little while later began working at a law firm in Omaha. The law exposed and educated me to various aspects of life.

 Overtime, I came to realize more and more I needed to seek whether my vocation or "calling" is to the priesthood.  I believe I will take great joy as a priest in helping people come closer to God and to be part of the ultimate mission to save souls. After talking with Fr. Hoesing, Director of Vocations, and completing the application, I entered the seminary.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be in the seminary and to study for the Archdiocese of Omaha. 

 I would encourage you to contact Fr. Hoesing, if you believe your vocation and calling may be to the priesthood. My recommendation is to explore this option now, do not wait! The seminary can help you discern the "call" and deepen your relationship with Christ to ultimately serve according to His will.   

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Eliot Schwer – Theology IV
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

I grew up in the Millard District of Omaha and was raised in the Protestant tradition. I attended Trinity Christian Church on 156th and Dodge and went to school there as well from kindergarten through the eighth grade. I graduated from Millard North High School in 2002 and then went on to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Towards the end of my undergraduate career I became increasingly interested in things Catholic and in Easter of 2007 I was received into the Church at the Newman Center in Lincoln. Shortly thereafter I became a missionary for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). During this time my parents moved to midtown in Omaha, which was the beginning of my relationship with my adopted parish, St. Margaret Mary, which generously supported me during my two-year ministry with FOCUS. In my first year I was placed at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and was then sent to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley my second year. During this two-year period FOCUS gave me the opportunity to discern my vocation more fully. Outside of time with college students I was able to use much of my time to seek the face of the Lord in prayer. While in Illinois I had inklings of a desire for the priesthood but it was not until I arrived in Colorado that I became more intent on discerning God’s call potentially as a seminarian. As I came to a deeper understanding of God’s love for me I began to realize that I wanted to give my life completely to Him. As a former Protestant, the idea of celibacy had never really entered my mind before but as my Catholic sensibility grew I realized that one truly could live for God and His desires alone if he is granted to do so. I began to see the depth of the call of the priesthood. In saying no to one particular woman for the sake of God and all of His children I would be able to give myself to all in a way that I could never have imagined. The ability of the priest to act in Persona Christi in the sacraments seems to be a very intimate way of knowing others as well as knowing Love Himself.

I look forward to attending seminary at St. John Vianney in St. Paul, MN in hopes that this new found passion will continue to be nurtured and grow into the fullness of a vocation. I have been encouraged by the true brotherhood and masculinity that I have seen exhibited by the men at the seminary and like them, I hope to become more molded into the image of our loving Savior. For any man even remotely considering the call of the priesthood I would highly encourage you to come and see life at the seminary. Do no succumb to the pressures and the ignorance of this passing world. In the end the only thing that matters is God. Either you have Him or you don’t. “The LORD is a warrior, the LORD is his name” Exodus 15:3. As I see more of life in this world I begin to see that it is truly a battle. As I go into seminary I know that I will be trained for the battle more effectively there than anywhere else. No matter what my vocation ends up being I know that my years in seminary will prepare me to b e the man that God created me to be; A man who does not give in to apathy, sloth, sarcasm, selfishness and pride but by the grace of God, a man who is Love’s servant above all else. A man that will not be bought or corrupted by the ways of the world but who stands and is willing to testify to the light in the darkness!

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Joseph Sund – Theology IV
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

My name is Joseph Sund. My home parish is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in northwest Omaha. I am the youngest of four of Jerome and Mary Jo Sund. I graduated from Omaha Northwest in 2005 and began studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha majoring in Management of Information Systems for five semesters. In the Fall of 2008 I entered seminary at Conception and graduated in May of 2011. I am currently studying Theology at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.

I began to hear God's call to discern the priesthood near the end of my first year of college, in which I attended a TEC retreat and found a great comfort in prayer and relationship with Christ. After that retreat, my faith was reignited and I began attending Mass regularly and soon began frequent adoration and attendance of daily Mass. Around this time I was invited to begin working as a volunteer in youth ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann. There I witnessed a great and strong faith amongst the teens, which enlivened my faith all the more. This was a great source of deepening of my prayer life, in which I frequently was encountering Christ's gentle guidance. Around Christmas of 2007, I was praying in the chapel at St Elizabeth Ann and received the invitation of Christ with a great joy and consolation. Shortly after I contacted my parish priest and then began the application process.

I started seminary with much worry. I did not know what to expect. At Conception I found a great fraternity, where I was able to trust the men I was studying with for a common cause. I spent three years at Conception. During this time I studied Philosophy, which I ended up enjoying much more than expected. I received great spiritual direction to deepen my relationship with Christ, and also received formation to help me become a well rounded Catholic gentleman. During the summers and breaks I was able to continue to stay active volunteering in youth ministry for my parish and in the Archdiocese, as well as working various summer assignments.

If you believe Christ is calling you to discern the priesthood, my advice is to be not afraid. Our Lord does not call us to something he will not provide for. The attendance of daily Mass and a devotion to prayer are essential to discerning God's call. Do not be afraid to talk to your Pastor or Fr. Hoesing about the Priesthood.

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Conor Bopp - Pastoral Year 

Hello! My name is Conor Bopp, and I am from St. Peter parish. I attend Kenrick School of Theology but this year I am taking a pastoral year. My father and mother are Dan and Lauren Bopp, and I have two older siblings: my brother, Daniel, and my sister, Shannon.

My siblings and I attended St. Cecilia’s grade school, after which I went on to Creighton Prep for high school. Prep was challenging for me, academically, but not so much that I couldn’t get into the college of my dreams, Thomas Aquinas College. 

TAC was something of a Catholic immersion program for me: my family and previous schooling had provided a basic understanding and love for God and the Church, but at the College I was thrown headlong into studies of Augustine, Aquinas, and Aristotle; discussions on ethics, predestination, and the miraculous Sacraments; and, for the first time in my life, I could attend daily Mass, in either the Novus Ordo or Tridentine forms. All of this disposed me toward hearing God’s call in my junior year. Unfortunately, I didn’t act on my calling, preferring to date until the end of senior year; but the seed had been planted in my soul. 

College had deepened my love of learning, so I moved to Phoenix during the fall of 2012 to work as an assistant teacher in a public charter school, with my hopes toward a distant professorship in philosophy. It was like culture shock: to move from a Catholic institution, where every day was ordered toward love of God and living out my faith; to work at a job that took religion as secondary to education and a topic to be tactfully avoided in the classroom; it required some adjustment on my part. 

I prayed for God to show me how to preach without words, but “there came in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was wearied, not being able to bear it.” (Jer 20:9) The desire to speak my faith was persistent, but it wasn’t until I went from Confession to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament that I was filled with joy and peace, and I knew that God doesn’t want only my words and deeds, but my entire life. I left Phoenix at the end of the semester to apply for the seminary, a process that I started as soon as possible. 

My advice to anyone discerning a vocation, whether it be religious, married, or single life, is this: trust in the Lord. His patience, love, and wisdom are infinite, and His plan for you, though it may seem slow to unfold, is greater and more beautiful than anything you can imagine, and He will win out over any discouragements the Devil throws at you. Attend frequent Confession and Mass, and allow God to make you His good and faithful servant.

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Nicholas Mishek – Theology III
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

My name is Nicholas Mishek and I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Omaha. I was born and raised in Omaha and I graduated from St. James/Seton Catholic School, Creighton Prep High School, and I went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha for one year. My home parish is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Omaha. My parish has been a wonderful part of my faith formation. They have been blessed by wonderful priests and people who encourage vocations and their youth group is an incredible program that brings teens closer to Christ.

God's call to me was, like most, a quiet call. He called me slowly through others’ examples and moving my heart closer and closer to His will. I was not into my faith when I was younger other than in religion class, God was just an acquaintance. It was not until a good friend, who is now a priest, gave me the push I needed to get involved with my parish youth group and frankly get involved with God. That was just the first step though, I had to continually grow in my relationship with God and there were times when I did not know where I was going or what to do. Even though I was growing in my faith during my high school years I was still holding something from God, my trust. I did not know how to trust God with my life, what was He going to do? What would I have to change? I was scared but I did not want to admit it, so I put it into the back of my mind. I tried to discern God’s call by myself but something was missing, God. It was only after spending time with Fr. Hoesing and FOCUS that I knew God wanted me to follow him fully and that path right now is heading towards seminary.

After several years of seminary, I am overwhelmed with gratitude because of all the work God has done and is continuing to do in my life. Now that I am in Theology, I am starting to see the great foundation the Lord has given me in my college years and how every aspect of my life, emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual are coming together and being conformed to Christ. Every day I realize how much I cannot be a priest on my own strength. I need God's Grace, his Love, and his Mercy in order to be His priest and every day He shows me the depths of His Love.

For those who might be thinking about priesthood or God’s call in general, take it one day at a time. God will lead you to your vocation all you need to do is to grow closer to him through prayer and living your faith. Trust is key and building that trust takes hard work, it won’t just come to you. Listen to the God’s movement in your heart and then act on it. God loves you and wants the best for you, keep moving forward and take it one day at a time.

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Scott Schilmoeller – Theology III
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Hi. My name is Scott Schilmoeller. I am from St. Gerald’s parish in Omaha, NE. I have spent most of my life in the Omaha metropolitan area. I attended grade school at St. Gerald’s grade school and middle school at St. Joan of Arc. My high school years were spent at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School. After graduating from high school in 2006, I attended two years of college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and two years at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

While attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln I became acquainted with the group FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students). Not only did I find that people my own age practiced their faith, I soon began to take my faith life seriously as well. I joined a bible study and went on some mission trips. I found the true joy that I was looking for and I couldn’t get enough. My senior year of college I lead a bible study and a few mission trips.

I discovered that my true passion in life is loving Christ and bringing his love and joy to others. After much prayer and discernment I decided to apply to the Seminary. After being accepted I had a chance to meet all the seminarians for the Archdiocese. There is an amazing sense of brotherhood and fraternity among the seminarians. I am just beginning my years as a seminarian. I pray that I will be able to follow God’s will throughout my life.

Some hobbies of mine include playing basketball, running and swimming.

For anyone who is thinking about joining about the priesthood, Know that God has a plan for you. He doesn’t want you to be unhappy or afraid. Following God is the most fulfilling thing you can do in life.

"For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the LORD," plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." – Jeremiah 29:11

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Scott Watts - Theology III

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

My name is Scott Watts, I am a convert to Catholicism, having been confirmed five years ago at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha, NE.

The only child of a military family, I spent much of my life traveling around the country. I was born in Honolulu, HI, and went to high school on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Much of my family however, is from or currently lives in the New England area. Before my conversion, I worked as a firefighter, professional musician, salesmen, translator, andeducator in music and foreign languages on both the east and west coast as well as in Nebraska.

As the grandson of a prominent Southern Baptist minister, the importance of growing in a relationship with Christ was strongly emphasized. Although my parents did not regularly attend Sunday services, I was encouraged to cultivate a more profound relationship with Christ and found a growing desire to develop in my faith and understanding of Christianity which led me to explore a wide variety of protestant churches before finally coming home to the fullness of the faith as a Catholic.

Even during my time in RCIA, a sense of being called, an invitation, a draw to the Catholic Priesthood has been a very prominent facet of my prayer life, only growing stronger over the years. Having moved to Maine in the summer of 2009, I continued discerning God’s vocation for me while in conversation with the vocations office in the Diocese of Portland. A year later I began my studies in philosophy at Providence College in Rhode Island for two years as a seminarian under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Portland at Our Lady of Providence Seminary.

Although the draw to the priesthood has only grown, my discernment has led me to return back home to the place where I was first drawn to the Catholic Church and first began to discern a vocation to the priesthood. Having completed my studies in Rhode Island, with a B.A. in Philosophy from Providence College, I am delighted to be back in my adopted home of Nebraska, and to continue formation as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Omaha. 

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Christopher Demers

Christopher Demers – Theology II
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary 

My name is Christopher Demers. I was born in Omaha, and I lived there until I was five-and-a-half years old. My family then moved to Columbus where we lived for 15 years. While no longer living in Columbus, it is my privilege to continue studying for the Archdiocese of Omaha, and I continue to claim St. Isidore in Columbus as my home parish.

 Prior to entering the seminary, I studied diesel technology at Central Community College in Hastings, NE. For two summers during and after graduating from this program, I worked for a rural John Deere Dealer as a technician.

 My discernment process started, well, I’m not sure where. I can remember a priest mentioning something about it when I was an altar server years ago. My dad asked me about it in high school, but at the time, I did not think I could do or would like some of the things a priest does; plus I was scared that I would not do it right or would mess up. Eventually I heard someone say something like: thoughts come from somewhere, they have to be put there. In my third semester at college, the thoughts related to the priesthood got really strong. After talking with my pastor, I called Fr. Hoesing, the Vocation Director.

 Since entering seminary, I have really grown in all aspects of life: character, academic, spiritual, and apostolic (or ministry). This is a lot of what happens in seminary. It has been a great opportunity to grow to be my fullest self, enabling me to serve wherever God is calling me, whether it turns out to be priesthood or another vocation. If you think God may be calling you to look at Seminary, relate any fears to Him, He will be with you the whole way!

 In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies, reading, visiting family, and exercising.

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Taylor Leffler - Theology II 
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary 

I was born and raised in West Point, NE and had the gift of Catholic education from kindergarten to 12th grade at Guardian Angels and Central Catholic. I struggled with my faith very much in junior high and high school. My life began to change when a woman started LifeTeen at our parish. For the first time, I experienced the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the mercy of Jesus in the sacrament of reconciliation.

For most of my life I wanted to be an airline pilot. During my senior year of high school, I considered the priesthood for the first time. A friend insisted that God didn't give me all these gifts so that they could be locked up in an airplane for the rest of my life; He wanted me to share them with His people.

After high school, I studied Aviation at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and flew airplanes about every week. That year I started going to Mass every day, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, going to adoration more often, and getting involved with FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students). The next year, I entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Two years later I spent a semester studying in Rome. The next year I had the privilege of spending a Spiritual Year with the Companions of Christ in St. Paul, MN before beginning my theology studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.


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Patrick Moser – Theology II
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Hello. My name is Patrick Moser. I am the fourth of seven children born to my parents, Edward and Sandy Moser. I enjoy working on the farm, reading, and spending time outdoors. I am from St. Teresa of Avila parish in Clearwater, NE, which is a small parish in a small community consisting mostly of farm families, and our priest is currently Fr. Jim Kramper.

I don’t remember exactly when I first thought about being a priest “when I grew up,” but I remember thinking I might be “(something)…or a priest” a few times in grade school. I attended high school at Pope John Central Catholic in Elgin, NE, but I did not feel a call toward the priesthood at that time. After graduating high school in 2006, I attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanized Systems Management. I began to feel God tugging me toward the priesthood in my final two years of college, but I fought my call for a while, using various excuses to justify my resistance. One year after graduating college, I finally talked to my parents, then to Fr. Kramper, and then to Fr. Hoesing about entering the seminary. I entered Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO in the Pre-Theology program in 2012 and am now in Theology I. I enjoy the opportunity to grow in my faith and apply the study of Theology to my prayer and daily life, as well as the brotherhood I share with the other seminarians.

For any men considering the priesthood, particularly if you are afraid of where God might be leading you, my advice to you is to talk with your parents or your parish priest about your call. I was afraid of what my family, friends, and other people might think of me, and that I wasn’t “good enough” to be a priest, but after discussing these topics with the people close to me, I learned that these fears were fairly common. I also realized that God will always give you the ability to do whatever He asks of you, so do not be afraid. As St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” May God bless you as you follow your call.

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Padraic Stack – Theology II
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Hi, my name is Padraic and although my home parish is St. James in Omaha, Nebraska, I haven't always lived in Omaha. I was born in New York and shortly afterward moved to Texas, then to Massachusetts and finally to Hastings, Nebraska, where I finished high school.

After high school, I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I studied Architecture and Civil Engineering. Before my last year in school, I was hired as an intern for an architecture firm in Omaha, and upon graduation they hired me as a full-time employee. I was chasing after what the world told me would bring success and happiness, but found myself feeling lost and unfulfilled. Then God reached out to me and told me that he had something better for me; I finally listened. I was led to St. James parish where I went through RCIA. At the Easter Vigil in 2010, I received all three initiation sacraments and found myself filled with a peace and joy I had never known.

Through much discernment and great spiritual direction, I found myself being led to the vocation of the priesthood. I quickly realized that in order to fully discern this call I needed to go to seminary. This Fall I will begin seminary at Kenrick-Glennon and am excited for the education and formation I will receive. Having already met the other Omaha seminarians, I am also excited for the friendships and fraternity that will grow in the years to come.

For anyone discerning their vocation, I encourage you to spend time in prayer with the Lord, present in the Blessed Sacrament. Ask the Lord for the grace to conform your will to His and find a good spiritual director to help you discern God's will. Also, frequent the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation; there you will find yourself in communion with God and can more readily and accurately hear and answer His call.

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Paul Blum – Theology I
St. John Vianney College Seminary

Greetings from Paul Blum. I was born in Schuyler, Nebraska and that has been my "permanent residence" my entire life. My parents are Doug and Renee Blum. I have an older sister Breanne and a younger sister Sarah. My home parish is Divine Mercy. I attended District 24 (The Pink School) for my elementary education and I graduated from Schuyler Central High School in 2010.

As an elementary student I went to CCD, but I never got too involved in my faith. However, I do remember arguing with my Protestant peers at the Pink School. My mother reminds me of the parent teacher conferences where my grade school teachers told her that I was going to become a Priest. I would get angry when they would tease me about that, so I want to say that was my first thought on seminary and Priesthood.

During High School I was involved in Schuyler's Life Teen program here and there. I thought I was "too cool" for the program. I did attend all but three of the Life Teen retreats, and I remember sharing that I felt God was calling me to the Priesthood, which again made me angry. Before we graduate, Life Teen has a Mass for the graduates, and at that Mass Fr. Jerry Leise challenged me that Antonio was at Conception and that I could do better than UNL, which I think he was talking about going to a Seminary. I ignored that and started dating by the end of the summer instead.

I went to UNL and stayed with the bare minimum of my faith, and was not involved with the Newman Center until my Sophomore year. I attended a discernment retreat with the Archdiocese, went on the March for Life in DC, and on a Spring Break Mission Trip with the Newman Center. I started attending Daily Mass during this time and I spent more time in prayer and Adoration. During this time God gave me the graces to be more open to Seminary.

The summer of 2012 didn't make my calling any clearer, but being able to be a Totus Tuus Missionary was the greatest experience of my life. God really worked through me, and is continuing to do so. He's been helping me to notice these graces, especially through the summer.

Now, I will be attending St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. I look forward to the formation I will receive there. I am told that it helps you to become a holier and better man. That is what God wants and also what I want. I can't wait to be able to learn Latin and to learn more about our God and Creator.

If anyone has the tiniest feeling that they are being called to a Priestly Vocation, don't think about becoming a Priest, instead talk to a Local Priest. Then call Fr. Paul Hoesing (I promise he isn't scary) and talk to him about seminary. Take tiny little steps, and pray about applying to seminary. If we look too far ahead into the future there is too much that is unknown. The unknown gives anxiety and fear a chance to creep in. A wise friend once told me that he lives life like the ending of the Hail Mary, "Now and at the hour of our death." Worry about now and the current hour. Let God worry about the rest. Life is just so much easier that way!

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Bill Cremers – Theology I
Conception Seminary College

Hello everyone! I am Bill Cremers from St. Anthony's parish in Columbus, NE. My parents are Jim and Marlene Cremers, and I have one younger sister, Carly. I grew up in Columbus and attended St. Anthony's Elementary School and Scotus Central Catholic High School, graduating in 2011. From there, I attended Conception Seminary College in Northwest Missouri and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy in 2015.

I grew up going to Mass every Sunday and learning about my faith, but I did not truly dive into God's love for the Church until I attended JC Camp, a four-day youth retreat, before my freshman year. I had many questions about truth throughout junior high, but the camp began a process of discovery that will continue for eternity. This four-day retreat opened my eyes to what God was doing in my life, and I went back as a junior counselor the next four years.

People always said I would be a good priest, but I never paid attention to the call until my second JC Camp. There, I had a feeling that God was calling me to say "yes" to something, but I was afraid it could be the priesthood and pushed the thought away. This feeling happened my next year at the retreat and made me even more fearful, but then I went to a Steubenville youth conference in Springfield, MO, a few weeks afterward and encountered something beautiful. Seeing the procession of thirty priests awakened a new desire in me, and I responded to the vocations call at the end of the conference.

Another crucial event in my discernment was my visit to Conception Seminary College in Missouri in April 2010. This event made entering the seminary right after high school a real possibility, and the peace, community, and prayerful environment of the school appealed to me. My four years there was a tremendous blessing, giving me solid character formation, incredible friendships, and a deeper relationship with the Lord. My summer activities have included living at St. Bridget's parish in Omaha while working at Catholic Cemeteries, teaching Totus Tuus twice, and attending the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University. Now I am at Kenrick Seminary, where, God willing, I will study until ordination in 2019.

In my spare time, I enjoy listening to music, playing guitar and drums, reading, surfing the Web, spending time with friends and family, and praying.

To those considering attending seminary, I ask that you place your concerns completely in God's hands. Pray, "Lord, help me to want to do what You want me to do." Go on retreats and seminary visits to see what this awesome environment is like, and talk over your concerns with a spiritual director.

Please pray for me as I embark on this journey, and may God bless you abundantly!

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Zachary Tucker

Zachary Tucker – Pre-Theology II
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

I was born in Minnesota, but have called Omaha and Christ the King parish home for the vast majority of my life. I discerned my call to enter the seminary and begin studying for the Archdiocese of Omaha during my time as a missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), and I am looking forward to attending Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis as a first year Pre-Theologian. If you are considering applying to seminary, or you believe God may be calling you to His Priesthood, I encourage you to be open and to know that you are not alone. The brotherhood among the men of the Archdiocese of Omaha is strong, and we are praying for you.

In Christ, 

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Paul Floersch

Paul Floersch – Pre-Theology I
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Greetings! My name is Paul Floersch and I am 22 years old. I grew up in St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, attended Creighton Prep high school, and recently graduated from Benedictine College. In all these places, I have met wonderful priests, brothers, and nuns. These individuals have been beacons of light in my life, and I will be forever thankful for their wisdom, joy and direction.

The key phrase I would use to describe my own discernment is "gradual but constant." I never had a great epiphany, though one of those would have been eagerly welcomed! Instead I would say that my discernment journey could be described as a consistent trail of miniature epiphanies filled with countless conversations, books, friendships and, most especially, prayer.

Because of its uniqueness, the priesthood has always captured my curiosity. It is a vocation that in the eyes of the world seems like nothing more than a heavy cross. When I was young, I thought as the world does. However, as I grew older and got to truly know priests I realized these men were, at their core, filled with joy.

Consequently, I would not describe my desired vocation as "taking one for the team," but more properly, as unfolding a great gift personally presented to me by Christ. I greatly look forward to uncovering God's will for me as I begin my first year of seminary as a Pre-Theology student at Kenrick-Glennon in the Fall of 2015.

Of course, my journey toward Christ cannot be explained without mention of a few of my favorite things (the following list is incomplete and always will be): my family, soccer, good books, patterned sweaters, fishing, the Grand Canyon, tasteful movies, rocking chairs, and the rush of finding quality music.

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Spencer Leffler - College IV
St. John Vianney College Seminary

I am Spencer Leffler and I will be a sophomore at Saint John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’m from West Point, Nebraska and my home parish is St. Mary’s. I started my discernment in July of 2010 and I’ve loved every minute of it.

The youth conference, Steubenville, was a huge push into my discernment. During that adoration in a stadium with over three thousand people, I heard a small voice in my heart. It wasn’t a boom of thunder or a roar of a fire, but a very subtle, a very gentle voice saying to me, “I love you, will you follow Me?” I said yes, and it seems like every day, He is calling me to love Him in many different ways.

My brother, Taylor Leffler, is a seminarian of our Archdiocese as well. He just completed his studies at SJV and will be starting his spirituality year. Having a seminarian as a brother has its up’s and down’s, but if he wasn’t my brother; I wouldn’t be the same man I am today. He has introduced me to the life of a seminarian and for that I am grateful.

Since Taylor has been in seminary, I have visited SJV about thirteen times and every time I go there, I feel like I’m at home. I’ve sat in on many classes and I can’t wait to start school. I wish I was this excited about school five years ago! I hope I can stick to the study schedule as best as I can.

For anyone thinking about the priesthood, religious life, or anything concerning their vocation, the most important thing for you to do right now is to pray. Have a conversation with God and tell Him about your life. He wants to speak to you, but you have to let Him in.

Peace in Christ be with you all! 

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Phillip Novotny - College IV
Conception Seminary College

My name is Phillip A. Novotny. I am 36 and about to enter my 2nd year of seminary as a junior at Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO. My 1st year in the seminary was great, but also a great change as I was a carpenter for almost 15 years prior to entering.

I am the youngest of 5 born of Joseph & Maureen Novotny. I grew up at Mary Our Queen parish in Omaha, NE. There I attended school, joined BSA Troop 448, and attended the high school youth group for all 4 years. I was told numerous times by many of my friends that I would make a great Priest. A few adults asked me very seriously if I had given thought to the Priesthood. I answered honestly and said that I was considering it. But I suppose the truth is that I did not know then what it really meant to “consider a call to the Priesthood.” So it was on par with the idea of serving in the armed forces for me.

I discerned this very prayerfully a few times while I was in college and honestly did not feel called. I did not realize that so long as one is not living out vocational fulfillment one must continue to pray for vocational fulfillment.

Retreats are a big part of my life. I had my 1st concrete lived experience with God (& countless other experiences) while on retreat. I strongly recommend that everyone take advantage of the plethora of retreat programs in the area. They are truly a great place to grow in relationship with the Lord our God.

I met someone I now call my sister on retreat and she challenged me to learn my faith. I always loved being Catholic, but never as much as I did after reading The Lamb’s Supper by Dr. Scott Hahn. This opened me to true discernment. I soon learned how to listen in prayer for the voice of God (which is not done with the ears). While in the convent of St. Katherine Drexel in Philadelphia during exposition of the Eucharist, I received the message on my heart to take up adoration regularly. And so I have. On that same pilgrimage I heard a holy priest say that every man is called to fatherhood. The question of vocation is this: to what kind of fatherhood is he called? I later heard 3 priests in the same night say, “I found I could no longer discern priesthood outside of the seminary.” We have all received the universal call to holiness; and God has a specific vocation He desires for each and every one of us. Where is God calling you? I pray you will take up regular adoration as I did so that you might “Seek His Face.” (Psalm 27) & hear His voice.

 In the words of St. Padre Pio:  “Pray.  Hope. Don’t worry.”

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Matthew Soltys

Matthew Soltys - College IV
St. John Vianney College Seminary

I am originally from Hastings, NE, but moved to Omaha when I was 4.  We moved to St. James and have been there ever since we moved.  I love St. James, it is a big parish but I feel at home in it.  St. James feels like a second family.

At TEC between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I began to feel the possible call to seminary.  While at UNK, I was blessed with an amazing Newman Center and the opportunity to work Totus Tuus.  These helped me to discern that I was indeed called to seminary.  So, here I am!

I am excited to begin seminary life.  I like how St. John Vianney is on the University of St. Thomas campus and provides for great fraternity and spiritual growth.  I am expecting seminary life to be similar to life in a college fraternity, but with Jesus as the center of everything.  Being a part of a fraternity at UNK, I am super excited about this.

When discerning, I found it most helpful to be reassured that just because you go to seminary doesn’t mean that you’ll be a priest.  Seminary is for the discernment of that call.  Spend some time before Jesus is the Blessed Sacrament, and be open to seminary, I’ve never met anyone who has been disappointed or regretful of time spent in the seminary.

I enjoy reading, writing, running, baseball, and playing all sorts of games.  I try to follow the Kansas City Royals as best as I can.  Lately, I’ve found ultimate Frisbee to be a great game that I enjoy a lot.

In Christ through Mary,

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Mauricio Tovar – College IV
Conception Seminary College

My name is Mauricio Tovar Quintanilla and I am originally from Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas, Guanajuato, Mexico, where I lived most of my life until coming to the United States at the age of 17. Currently I am a citizen of the United States and live in Rogers, NE.

I belong to Divine Mercy Parish in Schuyler, NE. This parish is very active because they have two beautiful churches: St. Augustine and St. Mary that make a community united in faith. Apart from being a member of the parish, I also served as secretary of the Hispanic ministry. In a city where over 60% of people are Hispanic, there is a great need for evangelization.

My call to the priesthood began when I was 15. God has been preparing me to say "Yes" to do His will and not mine. The last two years I have spent in discernment and pastoral work in the parish of Divine Mercy. Every day I thank God for this wonderful opportunity to put into practice and action His Holy Gospel, and for showing me the right and clear way of my vocation.

My expectations for my seminary in Conception, MO, are to grow and persevere in personal and community prayer, prepare academically and fall in love more each day with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In my spare time I enjoy reading and watching movies about the Super Saints of our Catholic Church, playing guitar, spending time with my friends and talking to my parents and siblings who live in Mexico.

Dear men of God, if our Lord Jesus is calling you to discern the priesthood, you just have to say "Yes" and open the door of your heart for His greater glory. Seek the help and guidance of your pastor and always know that you can talk to the vocation director of our archdiocese.

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Connor Kerschinske - College III
St. John Vianney College Seminary

My name is Connor Kerschinske and I am in College II at St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am a lifelong parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha. I went to St. James/Seton School from kindergarten through eighth grade and Creighton Prep for high school. After graduating from high school, I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Tulsa for one year, where I further discerned God's will for me to enter seminary.

I had always kind of thought about the priesthood, but while I was in high school, I put it to the back of my head. That started to change my senior year of high school, when I got rather close to one of the Jesuit scholastics at Prep. He got me thinking about the priesthood again, and by the end of my senior year, I was fairly certain I would end up in the seminary at some point. However, I put off applying to seminary and went to the University of Tulsa to study Chemical Engineering. While I was there I became very involved with the Newman Center, as well as with FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students), and I began leading a FOCUS bible study my second semester. At Tulsa, I grew a lot in my faith, and developed a much deeper prayer life. After feeling the call, I took a leap of faith and applied.

Seminary life has been fantastic! Being around a group of guys attempting to grow in holiness does a ton to help me grow in holiness. Also, the communal prayer time is such a blessing. If any of you are considering seminary, bring it to prayer, and trust in God's plan. 

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Eric Koch - College III
Conception Seminary College

Hello everyone! My name is Eric Koch and I am the son of Jim and Tana Koch and the oldest of eight children. I was born in Seattle, Washington, and lived there until 2002, when we moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 2003, my parents decided to teach me at home, and we joined the Catholic Homeschool Association of Omaha. I enjoyed being active in Boy Scouts and other activities with the Omaha Catholic homeschoolers. For three years of high school, I was enrolled in Seton Home Study School, and I graduated this year. I am very grateful to my parents for teaching me and witnessing to the truth of the Catholic faith by their lives. I have been a parishioner at St. Peter’s in Omaha for three years and I have benefited greatly in my spiritual life because of the reverence and beauty of the liturgy at St. Peter’s. For four years, I have worked at Fareway Food Stores in Council Bluffs and I enjoy playing the piano, acting in musicals, fishing, and gardening.

Ever since I went to my cousin’s ordination when I was ten, I have had a desire to become a priest. During high school, I got very involved in politics, but at the end of the day, I felt like Jesus was calling me to the priesthood. My desire to become a priest clarified and increased as I went to Adoration and at quiet moments after Communion, and especially on a youth group trip with the St. Peter’s Youth Group and during the two Steubenville Conference trips sponsored by the Archdiocese of Omaha that I attended. As I thought about my future, I realized that all I really wanted to do was to do what priests do: teach, celebrate the Mass, hear confessions, and give up my life for others.

I first made a visit to Conception Seminary College in Missouri. While I was there, I received a great gift of joy and peace, clarity of purpose and a feeling of “this is it, just what I’ve been looking for!” I applied and was accepted to study as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2013. I am excited to continue my formation at Conception through prayer and study. If you are a young person who is discerning your vocation, my biggest advice is to trust God and have the faith of a child. God will do the rest.

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Kyle Loecker - College III
St. John Vianney College Seminary 

Hi, I am Kyle Loecker from O’Neill. My home parish is St. Patrick’s, and I graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 2013. My community has been blessed with generous souls, a vibrant youth ministry, and excellent pastoral leadership over the years. Liturgically, I was an altar server, Eucharistic minister, and lector. In high school, I played sports, acted, and was on student council.

I typically spend my free time in a number of ways: being with family, hanging out with friends, cooking/baking, watching movies, exercising, and private (or community) prayer. I have always had a passion for the outdoors whether it be hunting (duck, pheasant, deer, turkey, etc.) or fishing (walleye, bass, catfish).

Interest in my faith sparked when I was eleven years old. I was in the fifth grade while my family went through some difficult times. I remember actually PRAYING for the first time, and make no mistake about it…God began to work in my life. As I grew older, other challenges were endured with a peaceful faith and trust in the Lord.

Eventually, the time came for me to make the decision of what I wanted to do after high school. As I pondered over this, certain phrases from The Great Pope John Paul II popped into my mind. “Do not be afraid,” and “Cast into the deep.” I said ‘Yes’ to God, was accepted to seminary, and now attend Saint John Vianney College Seminary.

As people of God, we are called to live IN the world but not be OF the world. I like thinking,  If I am not a ‘Jesus freak,’ then I am someone else’s freak.  He has called men from all walks of life, and if God calls you, look into it and PRAY about it. Trust the movements of your heart and visit with someone—preferably a priest or even a seminarian. I would be glad to visit with you as well.

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Charlie Jarosik

Charlie Jarosik - College II
St. John Vianney College Seminary

Hello! My name is Charlie W. Jarosik and I belong to St. Stephen the Martyr parish in Omaha. I was born in Kearney, Nebraska, but my family has moved a few times around the mid-west. Since we came to Omaha we have never left! My parents are Kevin and Deborah Jarosik, and I am the second oldest of two brothers and three younger sisters. St. Stephen the Martyr is the largest parish in the Nebraska with over 13,000 members and they have been very gracious and welcoming community ever since we have moved here in 2002.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when I felt that the Lord was calling me to discern priesthood, but rather a culmination of events that have lead me somewhere quite beautiful. Throughout my youth I had always been intrigued by the man in the colorful robes that I saw every Sunday, and more and more I yearned to learn more. I eventually become an altar server and then a Eucharistic Minister at Mount Michael Benedictine where I attended for my high school education and graduated in 2014. The Benedictine monks did have a lot of influence on my spiritual life, but even then I felt I was not sure if the Lord was calling me to be a priest.

I attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and studied Management Information Systems at the Peter Kiewit Institute for my freshman year of college. I also was an intern at Alvine and Engineering during my first year at UNO. It soon became apparent that working with technology didn't ever seem to be enough. I kept feeling as if there was so much more I could do to help people, and these words kept being re-echoed in my head "Come, follow Me," Jesus said "and I will make you fishers of men." Mt 4:19. Over the last year I had the opportunity to do mission work with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Sisters for Life in New York City and Connecticut. I also received the opportunity to attend the SEEK Conference in Nashville, TN, and I receive so much advice, prayers, encouragement but most importantly, love. It was when I peered into the heart of those who had very little that I saw that what they and the world truly needed was love that what was not limited and bounded by circumstance. I realized that what people truly need is the infinite love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am expecting that seminary will be filled with fraternity, counsel, intimacy in the sacraments, study, prayer, but also love in so many ways. This community is where I believe the Lord desires for me to learn more about His Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but also to learn more about His will for love in my life.

I am excited to begin auditioning and possibly singing in Schola Cantorum, play guitar and piano, study new languages and cultures and to possibly even discover new things as I am always open to try.

For those discerning a call to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, I would encourage you to remember the words of our Lord and that Saint Pope John Paul II always reiterated during his papacy "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isaiah 41:10. Sometimes the only way to truly discern is to apply and at least attend seminary. Even as I leave I am not sure of the Lord's will, but what I do know is that I trust Him and that His will is for my joy as well as yours. To quote a favorite poet of mine "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." – Robert Frost

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Daniel Strecker

Daniel Strecker - College I
St. John Vianney College Seminary

Hi, my name is Daniel Strecker of St. Bonaventure's Parish in Columbus, and a graduate of Scotus Central Catholic in 2014. I then spent a year a Central Community College (CCC) in Columbus, and majored in Secondary Education English. Columbus has been blessed with a strong Catholic community whose blessings continue to grow. In the past I've served the church in being an altar server, and being a Eucharistic Minister.

I've always had a fascination of the priesthood. When I was in elementary school, before I even received first communion, I enjoyed "playing church". I would set up a table as an altar, wear a blanket like a chasuble, read from a bible like it's my Roman Missal, and use chips and grape juice as the Eucharist. I have one younger sister named Emma who would be my "altar server" and my parents Bret and Linda would be the only members of my congregation. Even though I never truly felt called to the priesthood until high school, the vocation has always had my interest.

I began to understand the realness of God's love the summer after my eighth grade year when I attended a Jesus Christ Camp, and it was there my relationship with God really began. The succeeding summer I was able to attend a Steubenville Youth Conference for the first time, where the possibility of being called to Priesthood became first apparent to me. Junior year of high school I took my only college visit which was to Saint John Vianney Seminary. I was sure that that was the place God called me to be. Shortly after my return I gave into the doubt and uncertainty of whether I was limiting myself of other opportunities. From that point on I looked at as many careers as possible, I even went as far as sitting down with an Army Recruiter. I chose CCC to continue singing and acting. While I was there I found a love for English and Literature but, I wasn't at peace with majoring in it. So with spiritual direction from many people close to my heart, I came to the realization that it was when I felt called to Seminary that I felt the most peace.

For anyone else discerning priesthood or any other vocation, don't worry. God has you right where He wants you and loves you at this current moment, and will guide you where He needs you to be. More importantly, pray. In the opening of our hearts in prayer, God is able to do beautiful things.

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Juan Jose Gonzalez
Juan Jose Gonzalez - College I
Conception Seminary College

May God be praise in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharistic" My name is Juan Jose Gonzalez Lara. I am a normal teen saved by Jesus and loved by Mary. By the grace of God, I was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1996. There I complete two and half years of formation in the Minor Seminary of the Diocese of San Juan de los Lagos. This time in my life was like living closer to Heaven. 

In 2010, my family immigrated to Omaha. My adopted Parish is The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary-Our Lady of Guadalupe at South Omaha. I believe the Divine Master started is calling me to be closer to him and to discern the vocation to the Holy Priesthood, since my early years. As a kid, I remember I always played as priest, and even celebrate the "Holy Mass". 

It was so much love to God stuff, that since 2005 I had been an Altar server. By now, I am involved in different groups at my parish: Charismatic Renewal, Formation in the Faith Program, Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament during the night, Devotion to the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, two different Youth Groups and Liturgy. However, I will leave those groups when I enter to the seminary in January 2015. I expect to have a great time at the seminary and be closer to heaven once again. 

The activities I most enjoy and love are: reading, make rosaries, preach at retreats, hang out with friends and spend time with the family at church. For the moment, I am a seminarian living in family, because I am going through chemo therapies to kill lymphoma in my body. I believe cancer is a blessing in my life, and truly I thank God for it. 

I encouraged all those young man who feel the call to discern the vocation of Priesthood, to do so! As well as, I invite them to open the door of their hearts and life to God, with the hope that it's worthy and it will be a great time of many blessings.

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Adam Pinkelman

Adam Pinkelman - College I
St. John Vianney College Seminary

Hello, my name is Adam Pinkelman and I will be attending Saint John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Growing up I lived in the small, modest village in northeastern Nebraska called Bow Valley, and my home parish is Holy Family Parish of Cedar County Nebraska. The start of my vocational discernment is a little nebulous, and for the most part escapes me; however in the present God has and is continuously reassuring me that this, Seminary and ultimately the Priesthood, is in fact the mold which He designed for me.

The very thing that I hold accountable for my desire and admiration of the possibility of becoming a priest is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In my early teen years I became more and more aware of just how sinful I truly was – and yes still am. Regardless of this newly found brokenness, I did not want to stay in the stagnant lifeless water that is sin itself; rather I went looking for something or someone that I can truly call upon in my many times of tribulation. Like most people, the Sacrament of Reconciliation scared me more than anything; soon, though, I learned to trust the man who sat in the little room in the place of Jesus with all of the "disgustingness" that had built up on my soul. The forgiveness and peace of the sacrament reigned supreme and even more powerful than the guilt, which sometimes had enveloped my very heart. It was then that talked to my priest about his vocation and his discernment, and the answer came to me: that I am indeed called to be a priest and servant of The Holy Trinity. I began to delve deeper and deeper into this Faith, and I began to try to better attune myself to the voice of God.

And so I can finally begin my travels with Christ this fall at SJV. I am completely enthralled by and excited for the brotherhood that comes with Seminarian life, and I know that I will grow in my Faith and deepen in prayer. I know that I am in for quite a long, and sometimes tedious, journey; but I can say with the utmost certainty that at last I am home; at last I have found peace!

Keep in mind that I know nothing about the true workings of God and how His plan for the lot of us will unfold; however I do know this: If you are being absolutely truthful with yourself and God, keeping nothing under the shadow of fear and lying, you will have the power to listen with open ears and an open mind; and truly that is all we need! We should not distract ourselves with illusions of grandeur because I dare say we will not do great things in the beginning of our journey. All we have to do is listen.

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Noah Spagnotti

Noah Spagnotti - College I
Conception Seminary College

Hello, my name is Noah Spagnotti, and I attend St. Patrick's Parish in Fremont. I'm the oldest of five children. I was homeschooled until my senior year when I went to Metro Community College in Elkhorn. I spent most of high school discerning and anticipating entering the seminary. When the time finally came, I decided to give the Lord a chance. It's a blessing to finally be here!

Growing up I was constantly learning about God and my faith. My mother would read the Bible to us every day, and we would have regular discussions about faith. It wasn't until the fall of my freshman year that I really began to view my faith as a way of life. I went to Adoration for the first time and had a powerful experience. It was then that I first heard the Lord placing priesthood on my heart. After that powerful experience I began to take regular holy hours and started to pray a daily rosary.

A year later I went to Totus Tuus where I met a seminarian and shared my desire to explore my vocation. Meeting the seminarians was crucial for me. It's a real blessing being surrounded by so many great guys striving to achieve holiness together. We are never alone in doing God's will. Visiting seminary several times was also very confirming. The visits allowed me to begin to experience the peace that God longed to give me there.

I don't know yet if I'm called to the priesthood, but I know I am currently where I'm called to be. My advice to anyone considering seminary is to regularly bring yourself to the Eucharist and allow yourself to listen to God. I can promise that you won't be disappointed.

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