All seminarians have stories

Because he is a professional sports figure, Chase Hilgenbrinck’s decision to retire from soccer to begin studies for the priesthood in our diocese became a national and even an international story. We at The Catholic Post were not immune from borrowing on the sports celebrity interest. I can’t recall this newspaper giving so much ink and a front page location to the story of a new seminarian who has yet to report to school.

In fact, I can still hear the voice of one of my predecessors and mentors, Msgr. Robert G. Peters, saying The Post usually waits till ordination to feature seminarians because until then they can exercise the option to back out.

Mea culpa, Msgr. Peters. But this is a great story.

Yet we can’t talk about Chase without acknowledging that every seminarian — or religious postulant, for that matter — has a fascinating story of faith. And while speaking with Father Brian Brownsey, diocesan vocations director, we learned that anew as he discussed the 16 others who will enter seminary for the first time this fall.

There is Kyle Lucas, a member of St. Thomas Parish in Peoria Heights, whose brother Kevin was ordained a priest in May and now serves in Bloomington. There are five first-year seminarians who discerned their call while attending St. Robert Bellarmine Newman Center on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal. While most first-year seminarians are natives of our diocese, one — Delphinus Mutajuka — is from Tanzania and the nephew of Father Deus-Dedit Byabato, chaplain of OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center in Galesburg. What stories they all could share!

May Chase’s decision, and the publicity surrounding it, serve to foster interest, support, and prayers for all of our seminarians. For they all are uniquely called by God to serve Him, and hopefully one day, all of us. — Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief, The Catholic Post

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