Name: Mark and Peggy Wilson, parents of Sean Wilson
How many children are in your family? Are all members of your family Catholic?
We have three children, all sons. Yes, we are all Catholic.
Were you raised in a Catholic family? How has that affected your support of your son?
Mark’s family converted together when he was in the third grade. My family was also Catholic. Knowing the great need, and truly loving and respecting our parish Priests, has surely helped us to revere the possibility of having our son become a Priest.
Now that your son is a seminarian, how have your feelings about his vocation developed or changed?
It is still very early in his formation. I just hope for Sean that his training will be thorough to prepare him for this important vocation. Catholic layman and others who see him in the black familiar suit and white collar, will look to him as a teacher to help them on their path to God, as an authority on Church history and law, as a counselor, and especially as one with near perfect moral character. That’s a lot to ask of a human being. Sean asks everyone he meets to pray for him; this I believe is inspired by the Holy Spirit. I trust in God’s Divine Providence for his life.
What has been the biggest positive surprise that has come from your son being called to the priesthood? What fears do you have for him?
The biggest surprise so far was driving up to the Bishop Simon Brute “castle.” There is somewhat of a mote, turrets, rounded hallways, and well, it is a castle. Sean is 6’4″ and the rounded doorways are only about 6′ 2″. What a change those walls must have seen from the quiet cloistered nuns to the current residents. It is really a great facility.
How has his call affected your family life? How has it impacted your own relationship with Christ and the Church?
My husband, Mark, works at the University of Dayton, and our first son, Joshua, attends there as did Sean last year, so for our family Indianapolis is the farthest away anyone has lived. We are used to seeing each other often and enjoy each other very much, so the separation is a little sacrifice. I feel closer in my relationship with Our Blessed Mother. In many apparitions she referred to Priests as her special sons. I am sure she is watching over Sean and the other seminarians and praying for them as well.
As a priest, your son will never have a wife and children of his own. Likewise, you will not have the joy of loving grandchildren from him. What have been your thoughts regarding this issue?
If all three of my sons were called to the Priesthood, I would feel three times more blessed and happy than I am now. Not having grandchildren from our son is a sacrifice, but God is always more generous to us by far than we can ever be to Him.
What things about his home life do you think helped inspire your son to be open to God’s call? What advice would you give to a parent who wants to encourage their son(s) to consider priesthood as a real possibility for their lives? What would you say to those parents who might strongly oppose their son becoming a priest?
We have to give great credit to the Emmanuel Parish Priests, Fr. Lee and Fr. Kenney and the thorough teaching of their CCD program which Sean stayed in through 12th grade. As a family we prayed every night beginning when the boys would crawl up to the side of the bed, too young to walk. I would give this advice to young parents, start praying together when your children are babies and it will never be an awkward time. I only wish we had been more diligent as they got to be teenagers, but it is never too late to start again. Also I think it helped to frequently discuss religion topics and to watch EWTN. If I met parents who might strongly oppose their son becoming a priest, I would encourage them to pray, pray, pray before they discouraged their son. This is almighty God’s turf, and it doesn’t seem wise to discourage anyone that He has picked for His team.
What examples of priests have been inspirational to you and to your son?
Fr. Lee Sciarrotta and Fr. Frank Kenney (retired) are/were the priests at Emmanuel. They are both so fantastic that Sean is at least the eighth seminarian (and there are a least 4 sisters) to come from the parish during this time. These priests uphold the full truth of the Catholic Church with every sermon, and both serve with generosity and contagious cheerfulness. “By their fruits you will know them.” I need say no more about the incredible place these men hold in our hearts and our thankfulness to God for bringing us to that church. It has made a world of difference to our family.