We are excited to announce the latest video for our Buckeye Vocations YouTube channel. This time we were able to sit down with Deacon Jarred Kohn who was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate on April 29, 2017 and is about to enter his final year of seminary formation before being ordained a priest. In this first video he talks about his discernment journey and gives us some great advice on how to deal with doubt in discernment. Enjoy!
For those who would rather not watch the video, the full transcript is below.
Full Video Transcript:
Where do you call home?
My home parish is St. Mary in Philothea, which is up in the Coldwater Cluster which is in Mercer County or “God’s country” as we like to call it back home.
How long have you been in the seminary?
Well, I think it would be 7 or 8 years depending on how you count. I started in 2009, which would be 8 years, but I did take a year off after my freshman year, just [sic] discernment can be tricky.
So, why did you decide to leave?
I didn’t actually decide after my freshman year that, “Okay, this isn’t for me; I need to take a year off,” or whatever. My intention was, at the end of that year, to come back. But I was working somewhere and I had to be there at 4:45 in the morning which meant that, I never really got to daily Mass, that often. But it was also at 4:45 in the morning so I wasn’t dedicated enough to do Liturgy of the Hours and pray the Office of Readings or morning prayer that I now promise to do everyday but at the time it wasn’t necessarily a requirement. So, my spiritual life, kind of, you know, wasn’t as important at that time. And as a result of that I think I began to waver. Also, kind of, entering seminary I never intended to go to college after high school, so it was a difficult year to adjust to academic life, to life in the city; all these different factors (being away from my family), all kind of hit me the summer coming back.
So what happened next?
I called the vocation director at the time and he said, “Take a year. Do what you need to do.” So, I called the rector at Brute College Seminary and he was also very supportive. So I began working and my summer job eventually transferred into going back to a welding career which meant working third shift. That was actually pretty nice for the spiritual life in a way because I could get home early in the morning, go to morning Mass, do my morning prayer and office of readings, then go to bed. Then I’d wake up, and was able to do evening prayer, night prayer and all that stuff, so it kind of got me back into a rhythm. Once that started happening, then all of a sudden God began speaking again like, “Hey, what about seminary?”
What other ways did you develop your prayer life?
As I mentioned, going to Mass more frequently. I was pretty much going everyday but, you know, that isn’t necessary and perhaps isn’t even practical for everybody, but going as often as you can, even during the week. But then also, frequent confession was also a big thing. It helps us to clear out the obstacles that are keeping us from the Lord and helps us also to examine what is going on in our heart and kind of flood out what is our self-will and what is our sinful nature and sort out what is that part of us that is naturally attracted to God. Then there is private prayer. I feel blessed in growing up in a country parish because still to this day, we have 24 hours a day that the church is open so to spend that private time with the Lord in the blessed sacrament has always been a source of, you know, has always been the most important part of my spiritual life; the opportunity to spend that time with Lord has always been that key.
How do you deal with doubt in discernment?
You know I think it’s an important aspect of taking on the diaconate and priesthood but it’s also an element that can make guys waver, it’s that realization that, “I’m not worthy of this.” Which is true! But it’s also not yours to take on. It’s really Christ who is really taking you into his life and his own ministry. It is not something you can simply posses by your own merit. I’m never going to be a good priest because I’m Jarred; I’m going to be a good priest because I’ve allowed Christ to take ownership of my heart and I’ve taken ownership of his and so we have that mutual relationship. So without some recognition that I’m a flawed human being and in some ways I’m also a goofy and quirky guy but somehow Jesus is still calling me to this and calls other guys who are all different and he wants to speak through each one of our personalities to the people of God and wants to, you know, draw the entire world to himself. It’s just crazy. It’s awesome!
The month of March is National Women’s History Month and two years ago a group of women religious had the fantastic idea to take some of that month to highlight the great history and influence of consecrated women in the history of our nation and of the Church! This year, on March 8-14, 2016, please celebrate with us and your parish National Catholic Sisters Week!
At www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org you will find the history and purpose of the week, you will find resources to help you get involved in the week, and links to events that are happening across the nation to honor religious sisters.
For more inspiration and bulletin materials, go to www.sisterstories.org. There you can share your own note of gratitude for a religious woman who impacted your life, you can read the vocation stories of several women who have found their joy in following God’s will to give everything as a religious woman, or you can read more about sisters who have had great influence over the years.
As we enter National Vocation Awareness Week starting this weekend, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our newest seminarians for the 2015-2016 school year! Because of the prayers of the faithful throughout the Archdiocese, this class has tied the largest incoming class of seminarians in the past 30 years and we pray that the Lord continues to bless this Archdiocese with more young men who are willing to surrender their entire lives to the will of the Lord and that he leads them by his grace to the Holy Priesthood for which he made them.
New College Seminarians: men who are taking undergrad courses at a 4-year university while participating in seminary formation
New Pre-Theology Seminarians: men who have graduated from a 4-year university with a degree in something other than Philosophy or Theology. The church requires that men have been grounded in philosophy before moving onto the study of theology. In addition to that, this time of pre-theology is also a time of spiritual preparation for major seminary.
New Major Seminarians: These men have all the required philosophy courses and are ready to begin graduate studies in Theology.
To learn a little more about all 53 of our current seminarians, go to the Meet the Seminarians page and see what they have to say about what drew them to the seminary in the first place and what advice they can give on how to deal with struggles in prayer.
Vocation Awareness Week is coming in just three weeks! During the first week of November, the entire nation will be celebrating the gift of priestly and religious vocations to the Church as well as remembering the great need and gift the vocation to marriage is to raising saints. During this year for Consecrated Life it is a great idea for young people to see what it means to be a religious brother or sister and some of the religious communities that serve our Archdiocese have made it possible. At this link you will find videos of various lengths for many religious communities that serve both in and around the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Check out the descriptions and find a couple videos that will work for your classroom, prayer group, or youth ministry.
Another series of videos has just come to our attention and they are well worth your time: Consecrated in Cleveland. This series of videos explores the many different aspects of the life of one who is called to the consecrated vocation. The videos feature two women from orders present here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the would make a very nice study for Vocation Awareness Week or any other week of the year that fits your home or classroom schedule.
For more Vocation Awareness Week information, click here.
The Vocation Office is proud to present a brand new video on life in college seminary! This video features many of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati seminarians who are discerning their call to the priesthood in college seminary at Bishop Simon Brute in Indianapolis and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. The men tell of the joys and struggles of college seminary life while the video artfully shows moments of everyday life. It is a beautiful testament to the formation a young man receives in the seminary while he is discerning God’s will for his life.
Featured in the video are the following seminarians. Please keep them and all our college seminarians in your prayers:
Come check out the college seminary with us:
We thank USDigital Partners once again for the production of this wonderful video.
This Saturday, April 25th at 11:00am, Bishop Joseph Binzer will ordain to the diaconate seven men who will serve the Archdiocese as transitional deacons. It is with great pleasure and excitement I present them to you. Please keep these men in your prayers as they continue their studies and formation to become priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2016.
Mr. Tim Fahey
Our Lady of Good Hope, Miamisburg
Tim is the son of Thomas and Helen Fahey and comes from a family of four boys. He and his twin brother are the oldest in the family. Tim came to the seminary after spending two years with the United States Air Force Academy. He loves the outdoors. He enjoys camping, hiking, rock climbing, fishing and photography.
It was his experience with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students at the Air Force Academy that ultimately helped him to discern his call to the seminary.
Mr. Matthew Feist
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Anderson Township/St. Thomas More, Withamsville
Matt is the son of Steven and Debra Feist and comes from a family of 4 children. He is the oldest with a younger sister and two younger brothers. Matt studied at Franciscan University in Steubenville and worked for four years before entering the seminary. He enjoys sports, cooking and traveling.
Matt discerned his vocation through Eucharistic adoration and spiritual direction.
Mr. Christopher Geiger
St. Susanna, Mason
Chris is the son of Timothy and Theresa Geiger and is the oldest of 7 children with 4 sisters and 2 brothers. Chris studied at the University of Cincinnati before entering the seminary. He loves playing all manner of sports and reading.
Chris discerned the priesthood through personal prayer in Eucharistic adoration and through the encouragement of several people in his life to think about it.
Mr. Alex McCullough
Sacred Heart, Cincinnati
Alex is the son of Daniel and Kelly McCullough and is the middle child of three. He has an older sister and a younger brother. Alex studied at Christendom College and taught in a small, Catholic school for two years before entering seminary. Alex enjoys playing music, reading and sports.
It was the example of joyful priests that first made him want to be a priest and he discerned his call to the priesthood through study of the Catholic faith, prayer and the encouragement of his parents.
Mr. Eric Roush
St. Monica-St. George, Cincinnati
Eric is the son of Philip and Susan Roush and is 3 of 4 boys. He and his younger brother are the only Catholics in his family and Eric came into the Church in 1999 while studying at Miami University in Oxford. After graduation, Eric earned his Masters of Theology degree at Xavier University and worked in admissions there before entering the seminary. Eric enjoys reading and playing frisbee golf.
Eric discerned his call to the priesthood through much prayer in Eucharistic adoration and through the example of many holy and joyful priests.
Mr. Jason Williams
St. William, Cincinnati
Jason is the son of William and Theresa Williams and is a native of Massillon, OH. He is the second child of 6 (one miscarriage) with one older and one younger brother, and two younger sisters. After graduation from high school, Jason entered the Navy and went on to join the Legionnaires of Christ with whom he began his formation toward becoming a priest. Upon the completion of his philosophical studies, Jason discerned that he was called to diocesan priesthood and entered studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary the following Fall. Jason enjoys running, music, playing piano and organ, hiking, fishing, rock climbing and reading.
Jason began discerning his vocation to the priesthood during his time with the Navy after he made a personal commitment to his faith. Through this commitment and the encouragement of others, he has pursued his vocation.
Mr. Sean Wilson
Sean is the son of Mark and Margaret Wilson. He is the middle son of three boys and is a graduate of Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN. Before entering seminary, Sean spent one year at the University of Dayton studying Mechanical Engineering. Sean enjoys reading and playing all sports, especially soccer.
Sean first began thinking about his call to the priesthood during his experience at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany and during his trip to Rome and Assisi following his Senior year of high school. Through daily prayer of the rosary and the liturgy of the hours, Sean has come to know more clearly his vocation.
Today we are excited to announce the launch of our latest installment in the Gift of the Priesthood video series. “Parents of the Called” hits an entirely new population and explores a different viewpoint than the previous videos. In fact, we feel it is a viewpoint that you may not be able to find anywhere else!
This latest video opens with Fr. Kyle Schnippel describing just why this particular video was important for us to make. “Before any man is a priest, he is a son, a son in a family, a family into which God places him for a distinct reason,” says Fr. Schnippel.
“[Experiences in this original family life begin] teaching him the lessons of sacrifice, of love, and of compassion long before seminary life and the priesthood form him in these things.” He goes on to say that some parents “can become nervous about what the future holds for [their son]” and so we offer the wisdom of parents who have seen the Gift of the Priesthood in their own lives.
We interviewed the parents of two priests and one of our seminarians asking them to discuss what it means to them to have a son being called to the priesthood. What was their reaction when their son told them that he was thinking about entering the seminary? What effect has it had on their son’s life? What advice can they give to parents of sons who are discerning this vocation? All of these questions and more are answered beautifully by these three couples in a 7 minute video that you will wish won’t end.
Many thanks to Tom and Sharon Schnippel, Tim and Teresa Geiger and Jim and Mary Beth Bedel (pictured above from left to right) for their willingness to share their wisdom and great love they have for their sons. Additionally, we would like to thank Archbishop Schnurr for his continued support of this project and US Digital Partners for producing yet another stunning video.
For the rest of the series, start here.
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