The series of videos whose namesake has now received over 5500 views in its first month of publication is continuing on with a new short video featuring parochial vicar of Our Lady of Visitation parish, Fr. Marc Soellner.
Father Soellner was ordained in May 2012 and spent his first year as a priest at Holy Trinity in Coldwater, OH. Now back in his hometown, Cincinnati, he sits down to talk about his decision to enter the seminary and give God the chance to work through him.
“As our Lord told us,” Fr. Soellner says, “’there is no greater gift than to lay down one’s life for a friend,’ and that is what priests do.”
The entire series can be found HERE and please share these videos widely in your social network!
Today’s Vocation Story comes from Sean Wilson, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who is currently first year of Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati, OH. Sean is a son of Emmanuel parish in Dayton, OH.
I grew up in Vandalia Ohio which is about 15 minutes north of Dayton. I went to public school until college. I have two brothers one is 18 months older and the other is 2 years younger; so, I am a middle child.
Since we didn’t go to Catholic school my brothers and I went to CCD at our parish, Emmanuel, in downtown Dayton. I think we were taught pretty well; my mom taught the third grade CCD class, and if you ask her today who her worst student was in class she will tell you it was me. The son that is studying to be a priest was the worst student she has had in her 15 years of teaching. I remember one time getting up while she was teaching and turning off the lights in the class room and I remember another time I was yelling really loud; I acted really badly, but somehow God got through me.
As I got a little older, I became an altar server and, though I think I had thoughts of becoming a priest before, our pastor always asked us to think about the possibility. I listened to him mention it over and over again for years, but I don’t remember feeling like I was supposed to be a priest during all that time. That thought didn’t come until much later.
The summer after I graduated from high school, I had the opportunity to go to Rome with my High School Latin class; it was an awesome trip! I think it was here that I really fell in love with Jesus Christ and His Church, seeing all of the beauty in the Church really struck me deeply. So when I got back I told my mom that I was thinking about being a priest, but I was going to the University Read More
Today’s vocation story comes from Matthew Leiser, SJ, a member of the Society of Jesus in his third year of formation with the order. Matthew was introduced to the order through the Jesuits at St. Francis Xavier parish in Cincinnati, OH.
Since a fifth grader I first felt a gentle invitation by the Spirit to consider religious life. I remember begrudgingly attending a family retreat that my dad dragged myself and my three siblings to. It was there while playing freeze tag with the other kids that I felt a tug on my heart. I simply can’t explain it anymore then a strong feeling of peace that stopped me dead in my tracks and made me think about Jesus and in sequence the priesthood.
Quite startled at the prospect of being a follower of Christ as a fifth grader I could not come to fathom the practicality of such a call. This would remain true Read More
Today’s vocation story comes from Sr. Cecilia Taphorn, CPPS, a sister of the Precious Blood. She currently serves on the leadership team of the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton, OH and is a daughter of Nativity parish in Cincinnati, OH.
I grew up in Pleasant Ridge and went to Nativity grade school staffed then by the Sisters of Mercy. I think the my religious vocation began when I had a Sister that taught me in the sixth grade and who also taught me piano lessons. She was a very happy and kind person and left a huge impression on me.
After I graduated from eighth grade, I went to Regina High School in Norwood, Ohio, where the Sisters of the Precious Blood taught and lived in the convent attached to the school. I had many wonderful sisters for my classes, but my business teacher had a major influence on me. She, too, was very happy, kind and had a special way of acknowledging me. She went out of her way to talk to me and took an interest in my social life. As far as I can remember she never talked to me about being a sister.
I was a typical teenager. I was active in sports, went to parties, and was having fun. I remember walking to Nativity Church with my mother for daily Mass during Lent and to other devotions at the church. As a family we prayed the rosary each night. I had a feeling that I might have a religious vocation, but I didn’t want to enter the convent.
My mother taught me by her example that unless a person does what God wants, one will never be happy. Of course, I wanted to be happy, so every night in my senior year I prayed, “Lord, help me to want what you want.” I don’t think I ever mentioned to anyone about saying that prayer each night. Yes, God did answer my prayer.
In April of my senior year, after the sisters drove a carful of us girls to visit the Precious Blood Sisters’ motherhouse in Dayton, I knew that I wanted to become a sister. To see the sisters as truly human and happy was of utmost importance to me. Those two qualities assured me that I would not lose my individuality or my joy and love for life.
I entered the community the following August, 1959. In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati I taught at Precious Blood School in Dayton, Ohio from 1969-1971. I also served as the principal of St. Joseph School in Wapakoneta, Ohio from 1971-1978; Bishop Leibold School in Dayton from 1979-1986. Since then I served 18 years as Pastoral Associate at St. Mary Church in the Diocese of Columbus. I have tried to share God’s love in a personal way and to be a caring and life-giving presence. I am very grateful to God for calling me to serve the Church as a Sister of the Precious Blood. They have been not only happy but very rewarding years. I am now serving in a full time leadership team with the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton.
What are the activities/careers that most interest you? Did you know that religious brothers, sisters and priests hold a job in nearly every career field? Have you thought of the possibility that you may be called to something more as a teacher, or nurse, or engineer?
Click here for more Vocation Stories.
Today’s vocation story comes from Jeff Stegbauer, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in his second year of college seminary studies at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary on the campus of Marian University in Indianapolis. Jeff is a son of St. Susanna parish in Mason, OH.
About six and a half years ago, while I was in the seventh grade, God began nudging me toward the seminary. It all started after I served for my older brother’s Confirmation. I went up for a picture with Bishop Moeddel afterward and asked, “I held your mitre hat thing during the Mass, may I have a picture with you?” Bishop Moeddel then surprised me by immediately handing me his crosier and placing his mitre on my head for the picture. Later that day, my grandma saw the picture and immediately proclaimed, “Oh Jeff, we’ve never had a pope in the family before! You can be the first!” I laughed with her, and didn’t think much of her outlandish statement.
Over the next few years, I realized that God had other plans. There was never a BAM moment, but rather small thoughts and nudges from God. Pope was soon replaced with priest in my thoughts. I became more aware of how at home I felt at church, on mission trips, and with youth ministry. All throughout high school I remained open to where God wanted me to God, but I remained hesitant, very afraid. I didn’t want to rush into the seminary because it was all I had known. So this led me to dating a girl for all of my sophomore year. However, throughout the relationship, I realized that I was running away from God through prolonging the relationship. I was using the relationship as an excuse to not spend time listening to God. Because of this, I discerned that we needed to end the relationship, so I would be able to spend some time re-centering my life on God’s plan for me.
The final two years of high school pointed me towards the seminary. Happiness and peace were key. When I was discerning the priesthood, life wasn’t easy or simple, but it made more sense. Also, life was definitely more happy and peaceful. When I rejected the call and ran, life was confusing, difficult, and frustrating. Over time, I noticed this pattern and knew I had to trust it and take the next step. So, with the support of many family and friends I visited Bishop Simon Brute’ College Seminary and fell in love with it. I needed to enter the seminary to try and eliminate any doubt; thus, to properly discern God’s call with the help of the formation staff. To see if the God is calling me to the priesthood or not.
Throughout my freshman and half of my sophomore year of seminary, God has been confirming His call. There is a sense of belonging, peacefulness, and happiness that lies within the walls of the Seminary Castle. I remain in the seminary to more fully learn how to have complete faith and give my life over to God. This past semester, the seminary has aided me in trying to filter out the messages from God that seem to be pointing me towards mission work through the context of the priesthood. Over the summer, while I was in Belize, someone asked me why I feel called to the priesthood, without hesitation I responded, “To bring the Eucharist and the other Sacraments to those in world who do not have a priest.” This energy and excitement behind this statement seemed to be God nudging me once again. Currently, I am afraid of where God may be taking me, but I am mostly scared of the unknown because I have no idea where God is pointing me. But, as I have found out through entering the seminary, God’s path will lead to peace and His love. So for now, I am left to pray, listen, and become a stronger Catholic man.
Have you had experiences of conflicting voices in your discernment journey? How have you navigated through those competing options? How has your relationship with Christ helped you to determine what was of God and what was not?
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Today’s vocation story comes from Sr. Carolyn Marie Betsch, CDP. Sister Betsch is a sister of the Congregation of Divine Providence in Melbourne, KY. She is a daughter of Assumption in Mt. Healthy and is currently serving as Principal of Our Lady Star of the Sea Elementary School in Solomons, MD.
When I got into the 5th or 6th grade, I started to stop by the church after our Girl Scout meetings. Sometimes the Sisters would be in church with their arms extended in the form of a cross. Later I realized that they were praying. Silently, I felt a connection…
In the Spring of my 8th grade, I joined a group of girls who were Read More
Today’s Vocation Story comes from Mark Berwanger, a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is in his first year of seminary studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Mark is a son of St. Andrew parish in Milford, OH.
I first felt called to the vocation of the priesthood when I was a young man through grade school at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton/St. Andrew. At the time I would talk about desiring to become a priest, inspired by the positive models of good and holy priests I either served for or knew as friends of the family. I wrote often that when I “grew up” I wanted to be either a priest, an author, or a teacher. Throughout high school Read More
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