We reached out to St. Jude Catholic Church’s very own Nic Wilson for an update on his path to priesthood. Nic provided some great comments on hearing the call of God, the seminary process, and some of the big challenges he’s faced so far.
We will share these in a series of four posts so be sure to be watching the parish website and our Facebook account. Below is the first one!
Let’s start here…
Nic, can you share how you knew God was calling you to be a priest?
My time at Peoria Notre Dame High School was essential to hearing God’s call to go to seminary. At PND, we had to complete 100 hours of service in order to graduate. I chose to serve at a nursing home in Peoria, and when residents would die who I had befriended, it caused me to think seriously about how I was living and what came after death. As a result, I started going to Eucharistic Adoration, praying the Rosary, regularly going to Confession, and attending daily Mass. I was also invited to start serving Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Peoria, and there I was able to spend time with seminarians and priests and see the joy they had in following Christ.
While at PND, I was also a member of the robotics club, and though I enjoyed the designing and building the robot, I found that I was most concerned for the souls of my teammates. As I continued to grow in my prayer life and thought about how the priest cares for souls, my desire for priesthood grew. While attending Emmaus Days, the diocesan vocation retreat, after my junior year of high school, I talked to our vocation director at the time, Monsignor Brownsey, about becoming a seminarian. He told me to get to know St. Therese of Lisieux, and later that summer he gave me an application to seminary. During my senior year of high school, in addition to reading St. Therese’s Story of a Soul, I also read many books by Venerable Fulton Sheen and Father Michael Gaitley. This spiritual reading, in addition to regular prayer, solidified my commitment to entering seminary.
Entering seminary is no guarantee that God is calling one to the priesthood, but it is a time of more intentional discernment of the priesthood. At Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary (IHM), I was blessed to have challenging courses in philosophy, excellent priests to help form me in virtue, great opportunities for service at nursing homes, schools, prisons, and most importantly, a schedule of daily prayer consisting of Mass, the Rosary, the five hours of the Liturgy of the Hours, and an hour of mental prayer. Over the course of my four years in college seminary, I found myself growing in joy and peace as I lived the way of life provided by the seminary and as I worked during the summer in the archives of the diocese and teaching Totus Tuus. As a result, as I continue in formation, I feel confident that God is indeed calling me to be a priest.