Fr. Travis Stephens (2012)

DcnWhat sort of Struggles or Brick Walls have you encountered? One of the hardest parts about being a seminarian is that people who are close to you do not always understand what you are doing. I think it is especially difficult for friends and family who are not catholic to understand why you are becoming a priest. In a sense, one must have a firm sense of security about what one is doing.

Where have you found Consultations? I have found consultation in from priests in my diocese, the vocation director, and the formation staff of my seminary. I have also found support from brother seminarians—both in my diocese and outside of my diocese.

What different areas have you found support? I have found support from my family. From the pastors that I have spent summers with and from parishioners in places that I have been in during the summer. Again, I cannot under emphasize the support that I have found from fellow seminarians.

How have you got through a lack of support? Whenever I feel that there is no support, I try to go to prayer. In prayer I am usually reminded of all the people who do support me—either vicariously through their prayers or those you are personally involved in my life.

How did you come to grips with giving up career? I think that this was one of the hardest things for me when I was making the decision to go to seminary. Although I was never professionally employed, I gave up hopes for that when I went to seminary. It was hard because it was a part of who I am. Furthermore, it was a good and noble thing to strive for; nonetheless, going to seminary was the better choice between two goods. I think God was calling me to go to seminary and study; so I am confident that the sacrifice was worthwhile. I would also say that having a vocation to the priesthood is not the same as having a vocation to seminary. Struggling with seminary life is not necessarily indicative of one not having a vocation to the priesthood.

What type of questions should those discerning be asking themselves? Becoming a priest is a lifelong commitment. And it is a commitment to being a public person. It is not a decision that can be made lightly. I think many young people may be apprehensive about making a commitment like this. Many young people may be wondering if they can really remain committed to priesthood for the rest of their lives. But in reality being committed to being a seminarian or a priest is a commitment that has to be renewed on a daily basis. In prayer, it is important to remember why one is doing this. Ultimately, it is because God has called you to this and you are responding in gratitude.

What have your peers perspectives been? Well I have experienced all types of reactions from friends when they hear that I am going to seminary. Some have been negative, others positive. For the most part, people are impressed that I am willing to make a lifelong commitment to priesthood as a celibate man.

Read more Discernment Testimonies

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January 17, 2013 · 1:08 PM

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