Each month, The Visitor invites guest writers to spotlight one of the ministries supported by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.
If you have been on a long hike, you know it is a very involved and challenging endeavor. There are provisions, equipment and proper clothing to buy and pack. Also, you usually have to plan your route and estimate how long you will be gone and how far you will travel each day.
Now imagine that your provisions, equipment and clothing are all provided for you, your route has all been scouted out beforehand, and you will even have people checking in with you along the way to make sure everything is going smoothly. This has been my experience with the diocese’s Vocation Office in my “long hike” of seminary.
The Vocation Office has been an incredible help to me in my journey as a seminarian, providing me with so much in the way of advice, encouragement and even financial support.
When I began seriously considering entering seminary almost three years ago, I had read a lot of information about the priesthood and the seminary, but I was unfamiliar with how to go about applying for the seminary and asking the diocese to accept me as a seminarian.
I ended up contacting our diocese’s vocation director, Father Scott Pogatchnik, and he was able to guide me through the process of discerning this call. Later, he was able to give his time to helping me through the process of applying as a seminarian. His prayerful support — and his willingness to patiently answer my questions and concerns — is a huge blessing to those of us studying in seminary and discerning the priesthood.
Since my entrance into St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, the Vocation Office has been an enormous help in my journey. Father Scott, Father Ben Kociemba, who is the associate vocation director; and Julie Jacobs, the Vocation Office’s secretary, have all been very supportive of my vocation and my discernment.
I remember one time in particular when Father Scott took time out of his day to visit me at school and take me out for breakfast. I was not yet in seminary, but he wanted to show his support and check on how my discernment was going.
It has also been an incredible blessing to have contact with, and updates from, the diocese when I am away at school. Even if it is just a simple email reminder about an upcoming event or due date, it is a reminder to us seminarians that we are in the thoughts and prayers of those in the Vocation Office and in our diocese.
As you probably are aware, a college education is not cheap, and the time commitment of seminary life and formation means that we are unable to have a job during the school year. The Vocation Office, funded in part by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, has been very generous with us seminarians in this area as well, providing me with financial assistance for my time in undergraduate seminary. This has been a big help to me. It is one less thing to worry about when I am in the midst of studies and seminary formation.
Given all the challenges and excitement of discerning a vocation, I am so very grateful to the Vocation Office to guide and support me on this incredible journey. I am sure I could not do it alone. Please keep the Vocation Office (as well as us seminarians) in your prayers.
David Trout has finished his studies at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul and will be entering his first year of theology studies this fall at St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.