Meet a Seminarian

College 2011-12

+ Class of 2014

+ Class of 2015

+ Class of 2016

+ Class of 2017

Class of 2014:

Max MillerDiocese of Belleville, Illinois

 2013-2014 Head Sacristan

Hello everyone, my name is Max Miller and this is my second and final year at Cardinal Glennon College.  I belong to St. Liborius Parish in St. Libory, Illinois and study here as a seminarian for the Diocese of Belleville.  I’m very excited to begin my second year with this program, as I have been fortunate enough to be welcomed back as a senior.  There is no greater gift than being allowed to discern a vocation to the priesthood here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  I firmly believe that this difficult time for the Church in the United States, and in the rest of the world, allows us a fruitful opportunity to be formed into men who will seek to live the example set down by Christ and stand as a bulwark against the Evil One and his agents in this world.  May we be inspired by the exemplars of the Church to stand together against all her enemies.

"Persecution has come upon us, right honorable brethren, and persecution in the severest form. Shepherds are persecuted that their flocks may be scattered. And the worst of all is that those who are being treated ill cannot accept their sufferings in proof of their testimony, nor can the people reverence the athletes as in the army of martyrs, because the name of Christians is applied to the persecutors. The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers." – St. Basil the Great

Patrick RussellArchdiocese of St. Louis 

My name is Patrick Russell and I am in my fourth and final year at Cardinal Glennon College studying for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.   I am a proud member of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in St. Charles and a graduate of Duchesne High School in 2010.  

I have truly fallen in love with Christ during my time at the seminary. These past three years, I have learned a great deal about myself. I am constantly blown away with what I learn both in and out of the classroom.  I really enjoy studying the Liturgy and the history of the Archdiocese. One thing that has always played a key role in my life is the support and love I experience from my friends who I love and pray for constantly.  My goal is to make sure people know that they are loved by Christ and to be a catalyst for that love in the image of Jesus Christ.

During the summer, I enjoy my job at the Office of Youth Ministry an office of the Catholic Youth Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I work as the Assistant Events Coordinator.  I am always ready to serve wherever needed.

This final year at Cardinal Glennon College brings with it harder classes and greater self-knowledge. I would not still be in the seminary if it were not for the spiritual support of the faithful. I ask that if you are reading this that you offer a prayer for me to our Mother.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you may his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.  May he look kindly upon you and give you peace" -- Numbers 6:24-26

George StaleyArchdiocese of St. Louis

 2013-2014 Executive Council President

My name is George Staley, and I am in my fourth year at Cardinal Glennon College as a senior. I am from St. Clement of Rome Parish in St. Louis County. I was homeschooled for eight years, attended St. Clement of Rome Grade School for one year, and St. Louis University High School for four years. I am truly blessed with two amazing parents, and I am also the oldest of five siblings in my immediate family.

Looking back at my discernment in grade school and high school, I think that the time spent in prayer before our Lord exposed in the Blessed Sacrament was one of the most powerful influences on me in deciding to go to the Seminary. Although I certainly had fears about entering the Seminary right out of high school, I realized that I was losing nothing in giving at least two years to honest discernment. As I reflect on that decision now, I know that God has given me even more than I could have possibly imagined! God has showered so many blessings on me, and my desire is to give my life completely in service to Christ and His Church. Please pray for me that I may be faithful in doing His Will!

Please also continue to pray for vocations and for our community through the intercession of our Blessed Mother. She certainly has led me to Her Son, Jesus, and I pray that she may lead many other men and women who feel a call to the priesthood or religious life to Him, too. You will be in our prayers! Thank you very much, and may God bless you this day!

“Lord, may Your most just, most lovable, and most high Will be done, be fulfilled, be praised and exalted in all things forever. Amen.”

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Class of 2015:

Andrew AuerArchdiocese of St. Louis

2013-2014 Executive Council Vice-President

My name is Andrew Auer, and I am a junior in Cardinal Glennon College studying for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.  My family resides in South St. Louis County where we are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi where I attended kindergarten through eighth grade before moving onto St. John Vianney High School where I graduated in 2012.

Before entering the college, I maintained many ill-conceived notions of seminary life, which was often times a hindrance in my discernment during high school.  I will testify, however, that I have been blessed abundantly in God’s providential hand guiding me here.  Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is a place I can call home, where my many brothers in Christ pray, study, and live in union with the Heart of Our Lord, even during sporting events.

Please pray for my continued discernment in pursuit of the holy priesthood, and be assured of our many prayers for your salvation and that of the world!

David FarelArchdiocese of St. Louis

2013-2014 Infirmarian

Hi, I am David Farel, a Junior in the College. Almost all my life, I have been a member of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in South City (the Greater St. Louis area), and in 2011, I graduated from SLUH. I  have six little brothers, a mom, a dad, and no pets. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, good conversation, and reading, especially literature and philosophy.

Zachary GriffithDiocese of Knoxville, Tennessee

My name is Zachary Griffith and I am currently in my third year at the seminary. I am studying for the diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee. I was born in Charleston, South Carolina but I have lived almost my entire life in East Tennessee. My home parish is St. Mary’s of Johnson City, and I went to four years of Catholic grade school there before we moved a little further out and couldn’t make the travel daily.

I began to consider the seminary very seriously in high school, but I was also considering the military; after praying on it I decided on the seminary. I thank God every day for that decision, I believe that I have become a vastly better man for it and will continue to try and improve myself.    

Alexander HernandezDiocese of Knoxville, Tennessee

Hola, mi nombre es Alex Hernandez. I am studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Knoxville Tennessee. I entered seminary straight out of high school and am a third year college student in Cardinal Glennon College. My home parish is Our Lady of Fatima in Alcoa, and my family is from the island of Puerto Rico. Some of my favorite saints include the Virgin Mary, St. Peter, St. John, St. Paul, St. John Bosco, Cure de Ars, and St. Francis. My favorite prayer is the Rosary, followed by the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  If I could pick a super power it would probably be omnilinguilism, which means I would be able to understand any language in the world. 

Haydn HollowayDiocese of Belleville, Illinois

Hello, my name is Haydn Holloway, and I am from the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. On this, my third year of discernment I would like to encourage men to not be afraid to try seminary if they feel they are being called! These have been wonderful years for me and I am certain they could be the same for anyone who feels they should discern the priesthood.  I know that I am looking forward to another year of discernment with my brothers! God be with you!

Bill Holmes, Diocese of Belleville, Illinois

My name is William Holmes, from Saints Peter and Paul Parish in the Belleville Diocese.  This is my first year at Cardinal Glennon College.  My family is me, my mother, and one older sister.  My sister is married, and is the mother of the three children whom I adore.  

Despite being raised Catholic, in my teenage years I stopped attending Mass and very rarely practiced my faith.  In High School I went through a low period of depression.  While trying to deal with this, I rediscovered my love for the Church and became a regularly practicing member again.  Faith played a large role in getting over own personal problems, and I responded by becoming more involved in the Church by taking part in our Parish choir and serving as an RCIA sponsor for my brother-in-law.  Despite my renewed faith, I was caught completely by surprise when I began to consider a vocation to the priesthood.  It was something that I had never once thought of before.  Up until that point I had been focused on my love of history and attending college with the goal of becoming a teacher.  I approached a priest who was our associate pastor at the time, and made inquiries about the priesthood.  However, at that time I was unsure of the sacrifice of not having children, and I decided it might not be for me.  Yet the thought stayed in the back of my mind, and I continued to ponder and pray over it for the next few years.  As I considered this new possibility however, I went about it by studying the history and teachings of the church more extensively, and in particular I read the writings of some of the early Church fathers and theologians.  All of them were academically interesting, but nothing really drew me in until I read the Confessions of Saint Augustine.  Reading the story of how far he fell in his early life was an amazing contrast to the success of his later life as a Bishop.  More than anything else, Saint Augustine’s life is what truly made me consider the priesthood seriously.  

After that I decided to go ahead and apply to attend the seminary through the Diocese of Belleville.  I look forward to the coming year’s studies, and to continuing my discernment.

Anthony MersmannArchdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas

2013-2014 Gaud Master

Hello, my friends! My name is Anthony Mersmann, and I am a Junior in the college. I am studying for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, but I can easily call this seminary my home. I grew up with a wonderful family; I have two loving parents, five older sisters, two older brothers and a younger sister. Three of my siblings are married, and I have seven amazing nieces and nephews. 

I have been looking forward to and praying about the priesthood since I was very young. Even though God was wonderful to me and made it clear that I should look into the priesthood, I would not be here without all of the support and prayers from my family and parish.

I went to the public schools in Eudora, KS growing up. My home parish is Holy Family in Eudora.  My favorite books - so far - are Joyful Beggar, a biography on St. Francis of Assisi  and The Story of a Soul by St. Therésè of Lisieux.

I have been in this seminary for over a year, and every day makes me happier and more fulfilled than the one before. I cannot imagine myself doing anything different right now, because nothing is better than doing what God asks!

My prayers are with you in your discernment!

Arick MiddekeArchdiocese of St. Louis

2013-2014 Vocations Commissioner

Hello, I am Arick Middeke, a seminarian studying for the great Archdiocese of Saint Louis.  I am the second oldest of five boys in my family.  Without a doubt, I owe much to my parents for raising me and my brothers in the Catholic faith. We have been parishioners at Saint Joseph Parish in Cottleville my whole life.  Throughout high school I spent so much of my time up at church that it came to be like a second home to me.  Between youth group, a few jobs with the parish office and maintenance, daily Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, volunteering, and other activities, I came to truly fall in love with the Church.  By getting to know my parish priests pretty well, I began to see the priesthood as a very possible calling.  I admired their understanding of the faith, their willingness to serve others, and their joyful spirit.

When I first visited the seminary for a discernment retreat my freshmen year of high school, I felt a sense of relief when meeting many other guys who shared the same admiration and curiosity about the priesthood.  I couldn't help but come back to the seminary all the time for retreats and other events because I felt so at peace there.  I then discovered that I also experienced that same peace during any time I spent participating in the life of the Church, especially when kneeling before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  After much prayer, I knew that I was being called to discern a life of total service to Christ in His Church as a priest.  God has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined on my journey thus far and I cannot picture myself being happier anywhere else.  I humbly ask for your prayers as I continue to strive to do His will.

As is the case with most of my brother seminarians, I accredit my vocational journey both to the heart of Christ and to the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.  She will always remain in my own heart as a perfect example of love, obedience, peace, humility, and purity.  Our Lady, Cause of our Joy... pray for us!

Anthony RitterArchdiocese of St. Louis

2013-2014 Executive Council Secretary-Treasurer

Hello, my name is Tony Ritter.  I belong to the small but vibrant parish of St. Joseph’s in Josephville, Missouri and am studying for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  I have been blessed with two loving parents and one loving sister (who is currently enrolled in Fort Zumwalt North High School).  This will be my second year in the college, and, as a junior, I am looking forward to starting my courses in Philosophy as I study for the priesthood.

I began to love the priesthood at a very young age.  I remember imagining myself as a priest as a fourth grader and writing a first homily.  My middle school and high school years were somewhat of a struggle for me spiritually going to a public school, but with the help of Jesus in the Eucharist, frequent daily Mass, and quiet prayer I was able to rediscover that God was directing me to the seminary. 

I owe a great deal of thanks to the seminary programming for it has helped me to grow immensely as a Catholic and as a human person.  It is wonderful to be back.  There is truly no better place to discern the priesthood.  Please pray for my brothers and me as we continue to discover the vocation the Lord is calling us to.  St. Joseph, spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us!

"Whatever I shall have to do or suffer in this miserable life, I intend that it be proof of love for my God, so  that living, I shall live only to love, and dying, I may die in order to love more still." - St. Joseph Cafasso

Kirby RustArchdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky

Hello! My name is Kirby Rust. I am from the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky and this year I am a junior in the college program here at Cardinal Glennon College Seminary.  I grew up just outside of the small town of Bardstown, Ky., which is the Bourbon Capitol of the World, with my two parents and four siblings.  I attended St. Catherine of Alexandria Academy in New Haven from K-8 followed by Bethlehem High School for the next four years.  After graduating from Bethlehem High School I attended the University of Louisville as an education major for a year in which I applied to the Archdiocese of Louisville and to the college program at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.  I am extremely excited and grateful to Our Lord and the Archdiocese of Louisville for giving me the opportunity to study and discern for the Holy Priesthood.  I ask for your prayers as I begin my first year of Philosophy and be assured of my prayers for you and the entire Church.  Peace!

"He took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His. He took it not to overturn it but to fill it." --St. Ambrose of Milan

Maxwell WilberArchdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas

2013-2014 Master of Ceremonies

My name is Max Wilber and I am currently a junior at Cardinal Glennon College. I am studying for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. I hail from Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, Kansas and graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. I come from a terrific family consisting of my loving parents, my older sister and my younger brother.

This last summer I was privileged to live at Curé of Ars in Leawood, Kansas. I was blessed to live with 5 different priests, each of whom showed me a terrific aspect of the priesthood.

If you are reading this please offer a prayer to our Blessed Mother to watch over and guide me this year.

“We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.” ~St. Louis Marie de Montfort

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Class of 2016:

Daniel BelkenDiocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

2013-2014 Liturgical Music

My name is Daniel Belken, and I am a sophomore in the Cardinal Glennon College program this year. I am studying for the diocese of Springfield- Cape Girardeau, I live in Farmington, Missouri, and my home parish is Our Lady, Help of Christians in Weingarten, MO. I am the son of Mike and Cyndi Belken, and am the oldest of six boys, the youngest being about 6 months old now. Some of my favorite things to do include: playing the organ, working on computers, working on the farm, and visiting with my family. My discernment is going well, and I feel the call of Jesus to the priesthood beginning to become stronger.

My favorite line of scripture was written by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, which is: "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2). One saint that has particularly inspired me as of late is St. Joseph, as he was the father of the Christ Child, and shows me how to be a father to, God willing, the Church one day. Please continue to pray my brothers and me, that we hear the voice of God, and where he wants us to go.

Jacob BrockArchdiocese of St. Louis

2013-2014 Kitchen Coordinator

Hello my name is Jacob Brock and I am a sophomore in the college program at Kenrick Glennon Seminary. I attended De Smet Jesuit High School and am from Assumption Parish in South County. I have been discerning since I saw the video Fishers of Men on a retreat. In my first year I greatly grew in my faith and my discernment. I spent the summer working for the Office of Vocations with a few other seminarians. We went on various retreats talking to teens who had questions about vocations and were possibly looking to join the seminary or religious life. I am very much looking forward to what another year may bring. 

Joseph DetwilerArchdiocese of St. Louis

Hello, my name is Joseph Detwiler and I am a sophomore at Cardinal Glennon College.  I was born and raised in St. Louis with my parents and six siblings and I attended Queen of All Saints for grade school and DeSmet Jesuit High School following that.  I was all set up to enter the seminary after high school until, the summer following my junior year, my sister and I were in a horrific car accident.  She sustained major injuries to her legs and feet while I was injured from the waist up.  She needed numerous metal rods and skin grafts to repair her legs, while I had major trauma to my head and brain.  Upon arrival at Children’s Hospital I was placed in a medically induced coma for two months, and after that I remained in the neuro rehab program for another two months.  With all of our injuries, our chances of survival were unknown, to say the least.  However, we have both made miraculous recoveries that even many doctors cannot explain.  God has taken me through some trying times, but I learned so much from that struggle and grew in many ways that I believe will help me with my discernment.  St. Jude was a powerful intercessor for me, as my family began praying to Him when it seemed I was a “lost cause.”  Oddly enough, after my four month stay in the hospital I was discharged on October 28; the Feast day of Sts. Simon and Jude.  Please pray to St. Jude to help me in those tough times and pray to Our Lady to lead me to Her son.  Thank you so much for your prayers.

Greg Siemer, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hello, my name is Gregory Siemer. I am a sophomore in the college but this is my first year in the seminary. My home parish is St. Monica in Creve Coeur, MO. I attend elementary and middle school at St. Monica. After graduating in 2007, I went to Christian Brothers College High School and, after completing my courses there, I went to Lindenwood University in 2011 for two years. 
My vocation journey started during my time on an Awakenings retreat at Lindenwood, when I realized that the only person in the way of my vocation was myself. So I asked God if priesthood was what he wanted from me. I did not get a yes or no, I got a call to the seminary. After just one week here, I saw that this is the place for me and that God has something he wants to tell me. Whether it is a true vocation to the priesthood or not, I am very happy to be here.
I am grateful to all those who have helped me through my discernment process, whether they knew it or not. Especially, I want to thank my parents and the parishioners of St. Monica for creating a wonderful Catholic environment to grow up in. I ask for prayers for myself and for my fellow brothers here at the seminary.

Tylor StarkeyDiocese of Knoxville, Tennessee

2013-2014 Transportation Commissioner

Hello! My name is Tylor Starkey and I’m starting my second year at Cardinal Glennon College, studying for my home Diocese of Knoxville, TN. It has been an immense pleasure being here in St. Louis and I am excited to be starting another year of study and prayer. In my time here, I am reminded often of Blessed Mother Teresa when she said “Holiness is not a luxury of the few; it is simply a duty.” In my time here I hope to grow in holiness and my service to God so that I may be, Lord willing, a better shepherd of God’s people.

Jacob WesselArchdiocese of St. Louis

2013-2014 Apostolic Life Commissioner

     Hello, I am Jacob Wessel and I am excited to be studying for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I grew up in rural Missouri as the oldest of five. Over the years, I have experienced both Catholic grade schooling and gradeschool/high-school homeschooling. Looking back, homeschooling through high school was a great blessing in my life. I got to become very close to my siblings and parents while learning to love my Catholic Faith. 
     This past summer, I spent at home with my family and had a good time catching up with them while camping and fishing. I worked as a baseball umpire in Troy and as a mower/handyman at St. Gianna. It was a joy to learn to find God in the everyday home life again. I also enjoyed participating at Mass and being an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister at my home parish of St. Gianna. Through this holy ministry,  I was able to see deeper into what the life of a priest is all about. I am excited to be in priestly formation for St. Louis and I hope to be able to serve the people of this wonderful Archdiocese in the future.
      Well, now that you know a little about me I humbly ask that you please keep my brother seminarians and me in your prayers.

God bless!

“I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master.”~St. John Vianney

Class of 2017:

Mitch Baer, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Greetings!! My name is Mitchell Baer and I am a freshman studying for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I am proud to be a member of St. Paul’s Parish as well as a 2013 alum of Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, MO. My family consists of my parents, two older sisters, an older brother, and a brother-in-law. In my free time, I enjoy many activities ranging from watching a great Star Trek episode to taking a brisk jog. Most of all, however, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Growing up in a strong Catholic family, the idea of the priesthood was never far from my mind. I recall, even as a young child, being drawn to the Church. Toward the end of middle school and freshman year of high school, I began to feel more and more drawn to the idea of becoming a priest. I tried to visit the seminary many times in this period, however, I was a wrestler and tournaments filled my weekends to where I could hardly make it to the seminary retreats. It was not until second semester of sophomore year that I was able to make it on a Come and See retreat at the seminary. When my parents came to pick me up on the Sunday of the retreat, I was convinced God wanted me to be his priest. A few weeks after this retreat, I was not so sure. As time went on, I spent more and more time around the seminary and befriended many of the seminarians. During one of the seminary retreats, I was sitting in adoration having difficulty praying and then suddenly, I knew (once again) God was calling me to be his priest.

Since that time, I have grown tremendously in my prayer life. Some of my favorite devotions are to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Padre Pio, and Our Lady. My prayer this year is that I may discover further the graces that result from surrendering myself into Christ’s hands, without reserve.

“His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you’” – John 2:5

Cole Bestgen, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hello, my name is Cole Bestgen, I graduated from Eureka High School in 2013.  I am very blessed to have two loving parents who support me in my studies and all my endeavors, I also have three lovely sisters, one currently studying nursing at Franciscan University, and the other two are currently keeping up the Bestgen name at the great Eureka High School, and, of course, it would be impossible to forget my crazy three year old brother Gus.  I am a proud member of St. Alban Roe parish in Wildwood where, since kindergarden, through the faithful example of our Priests, I have fallen in love with the sacraments and the priesthood.

I am currently a freshmen studying for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and am very excited to see what God has planned for me in my next 8 years of studies before, God willing, ordination.  I first started to think about the priesthood in the fifth grade after attending my first Kenrick Glennon Days.  After that my love of the Church and the priesthood grew.  Although over the seven years since my first Kenrick Glennon Days I have gone back and forth on the idea of entering the seminary, I now know that this is where I am called to be, to grow in my faith, and continue to discern His Divine Will.  The idea of “Pastoral Care of Souls” was always an aspect of the priesthood that stood out to me.  Ever since the first time I saw the video Fishers of Men a line from it has always struck me: “It is the priest who brings the soul home to God”.  

 Please keep my brother seminarians and me in your prayers, that we may come to know and love His will, and God willing, be granted the grace one day to bring souls home to Him.

Tom Buford, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hello, my name is Thomas Buford but I usually just go by Tom. I graduated from Timberland High School and I am from the parish of Immaculate Conception in Dardenne Prairie. After graduating from high school last May I entered into the Cardinal Glennon College program as a freshman. I am greatly looking forward to starting all of my classes and to beginning seminary formation.

Greg Clever, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hi, I am Gregory Clever and I am a seminarian from the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I am currently studying as a freshman in the college. Last May, I graduated from De Smet Jesuit High School in the Class of 2013. My home parish is the wonderful St. Joseph’s in Cottleville. I am blessed to be one of nine kids, with four brothers and four sisters with two loving parents. In my free time, I am an avid reader of books, especially religious and WW II books. I also enjoy playing most, if not all sports, and I am on the KGS soccer team. I also like to play board games especially Axis and Allies. Most of all, I like to spend time with friends, and to watch Cardinals baseball. 

My vocation was the culmination of quite a few things. Most important were being involved with my Youth Group. I also served Mass quite a lot. I came on most, if not all, the retreats at the seminary. I think the most important thing for my vocation was getting to know the seminarians, and learning how they lived. I have been discerning for quite some time now, and I hope to spend the next years finding out God’s calling for me in life. As Cardinal Dolan says in his book Priests for the Third Millennium, “Take your time! Wait! Get ready! Years of preparation are essential if you are to be an effective apostle.” I hope to take this to heart, and patiently find God’s calling for me.

I would like to close by thanking the people who have helped get to this point in my life. My parents and grandparents have been wonderfully supportive and helpful. They have guided me to where I am today, I am very grateful for it. I would also like to thank Bishop Rice, Msgr. Callahan, Msgr. Cronin, Fr. Martin, Fr. Post, Fr. Jay, and Fr. Schroeder who have been shining examples to me of what it means to be a priest. I also would like to thank John Schneier, Deacon Tom Vordtriede, Deacon Ryan Weber, Deacon Connor Sullivan, and the entire seminary community that have all helped show me how to be a better Catholic, and have been  wonderful friends. Also thanks, to Tim McMillin and my whole Youth Group who have been very supportive of my vocation. Finally, I would like to thank Zac Povis who is the biggest reason why I am here. Please keep my brother seminarians and me in your prayers as we continue our discernment. Thank you all, and God bless.

Robbie Lawson, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hello, I'm Robbie Lawson. I come from Holy Trinity Parish in St. Ann and graduated from Duchesne High School in 2013. I am a great lover of the arts, especially music, which I believe can be an expressive prayer said when words are not enough. As my band director said, good music can tell a story without words.

I can say it is a blessing to be here at Kenrick-Glennon with my brother seminarians, who push me to deepen my faith by providing examples of what  more I can be doing for my God and His Church. I feel at home here and I know that, for now, this is where God wants me to be. Even after just a few days here, I have come to know the rest of the seminarians as brothers, and I hope to get to know everyone else even better than I do now.

I have a few people to thank for getting me this far, including my mother for always looking out for me and the kind parishioners at Holy Trinity for all of their prayers as I discern my calling toward the priesthood. I would like to give special thanks to the priests at Holy Trinity for guiding me along. I also give my sincerest thanks to Msgr. John Leykam for helping me prepare both physically, by making sure I had everything I needed, as well as spiritually by reminding me to "take my discernment one day at a time."       

I have been discerning the priesthood for some time now. I remember when the thought first struck me; I was in second grade and Msgr. Leykam had come into the class to hand out crosses on string as a gift for all the school children. I remember seeing how happy he made everyone and how happy he was to be there with us, at that moment I did not fully understand what a priest did but I knew one thing, I wanted to be like him and make people happy like he does. The years went on and I learned more and more about what a priest does and it made me want to be one even more. My mother thought it was a phase and that I would grow out of it, but here I am, ten years later, working toward the priesthood.         

I truly love God and His Church and wish to serve them for the rest of my life, even if the priesthood is not my call, I will serve my Lord and my Life, my Light and my Love for He is all these things to me and without Him I am nothing.

I ask you all to please pray for my brother seminarians around the world and for me, that we discern God's will and let that will be done in our lifes.  

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” 
― Mother Teresa
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” 
― Mother Teresa
“Happiness is not a destination, it's a method of travel.” 
― St. John of the Cross

Jack Ruzicka, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hello!  I’m Jonathan Ruzicka, but I prefer to be called “Jack” for short.  I am a freshman at the College Seminary, and I am studying for the fabulous Archdiocese of St. Louis.  My home parish is Immaculate Heart of Mary in South City and I am a proud alumnus of St. Mary’s High School.  I am absolutely thrilled to be here at the Seminary.  After all, I’ve been wanting an application since my sophomore year of high school (although it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t receive one then).  A friend of mine once said to me, “You have no qualms about being goofy.”  I find this to be true, and I am just fine with that!  I thoroughly enjoy being able to share a good laugh with everyone I meet.  As Mother Teresa said: “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”

I am so excited to continue my discernment here at the seminary.  Though I haven’t been here long, I am beginning to see some significant improvements in my prayer and how I’m growing in community with my brother seminarians.  It is truly a blessing to be here.  I found comfort in Fr. Horn’s welcoming speech when he read to us what Our Lady of Guadalupe said when she appeared to Juan Diego: “Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold?”  I was brought to the brink of tears at these words.  So I humbly ask of you to keep all of the seminarians and me in your faithful prayers.  Prayer is a powerful thing and it can work wonders for us.  Thank you and may God bless you!

“O search me, God, and know my heart.  O test me and know my thoughts.  See that I follow not the wrong path, and lead me in the path of life eternal.” – from Psalm 139

St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us!!

Jacob Schlueter, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Hello, my name is Jacob Schlueter and I am a seminarian for the great Archdiocese of St. Louis. I am a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie and attended DeSmet Jesuit High School. Upon my graduation from DeSmet, I entered into Cardinal Glennon College program at Kenrick-Glennon seminary as a freshman. 

I can honestly say that this is where I believe God is calling me to be. Just after a few days of being here, I have sensed a deep peace within my heart which has calmed all anxiety. After reflecting about the past, I can say the thought of potentially being a priest entered my life at a very young age. My mother would occasionally say around the house how I "would make a wonderful priest". At the time I simply ignored it as the wishful thinking of a loving mother. But, God sent many more things into my life which would ultimately guide me to the Seminary and ultimately, God-willing, to the priesthood. When I was in 3rd grade, two relatives of mine, both of whom I was very close to, perished in a car accident. My mother, using her motherly wisdom, decided that I should meet with a parish priest to discuss the situation in order to understand it better in light of the Truth of the Christ. From that discussion I developed a strong respect for the nature of suffering and how, when united to the ultimate suffering of Our Lord, it has redemptive properties. Then, around the end of my junior high career, I encountered many social struggles. At this time, I decided to meet with a parish priest to discuss the situation and, again, our Blessed Lord helped me through this difficult time in his compassion. It was through these times of great suffering that I had a great attraction towards the priesthood, for the priest is not simply a priest, but a priest victim, says Venerable Fulton Sheen in his book, The Priest is Not his Own.

The next major step in my discernment was when I was at DeSmet Jesuit High School. While there, a close relative of mine invited me to partake in Kenrick-Glennon Days as a junior counselor. I decided that I would do it since at the time I was very strong in the Catholic Faith and thought that priests seemed like pretty cool people. Little did I know that assisting at that retreat the summer before my senior year would lead me here. 

I ask that you all pray for me and for all the other seminarians as we continue towards the goal of following Christ's Will for us, and I would like to thank all of my family members, priests, friends, and brother seminarians who have encouraged me on this journey!

"He keeps hidden the times, the moments, the causes of all things, and when the time is right He brings forth all things from the secret treasure chest of His wisdom, which penetrates all things irresistibly and disposes all things sweetly." ---St. Thomas More

Dean Wheeler, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas

 Hello, my name is Dean Wheeler and I am a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. I am currently a college freshman at Cardinal Glennon College. My home parish is St. Pius X in Mission, KS and I graduated from Bishop Miege High School in May 2013. My great family is made up of my mother and step father, along with my 3 younger siblings (2 girls and 1 boy).

            Looking back, I can see many signs in my life that could possibly point to a priestly vocation, but I did not seriously consider seminary until my sophomore year in high school when I attended a retreat with the former vocation director of my Archdiocese. High school presents us all challenges, and in the midst of it I began to realize that our faith is very sound in logic and reason, something the secular world cannot claim. After many seminary visits and fruitful conversations with the great seminarians of my Archdiocese, I applied to seminary and have received many blessings since then. I greatly look forward to my seminary formation, and I ask that you keep me in your prayers!

“And so I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)

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