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Seminarian John Strong

rsz_0pwqq24_eydhzalxjbvlsrh-gdkrphm4xedpue7rna0Seminarian John Strong

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Lafayette, IN

1. What is your parish of origin?

I was born and raised in the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette, Indiana.

2. What were the largest influences in your discernment?

There are many influences in my discernment to the holy Priesthood. I would, nevertheless, have to start with the perpetual pull that I have on my heart for Priesthood. This ‘pull’ or ‘tug’ on my heart has given me a deep desire to serve the Church through this absolutely necessary vocation. So, first and foremost, the perpetual ‘tug’ on my heart that has been given to me by the Lord is my largest influence to my discernment.

Another large influence in my discernment has been my love of the Church. I love everything about the Church. I love the people. I love the Mass. I love the Sacraments. I want to spend all of my days in service to the Church, and spend all of my hours bringing people into union with the Bride of Christ. The sacramental life that a priest administers is the grace that allows the People of God to live a Christian life. I feel a deep desire to bring people the Sacraments and expose this to the sacramental life.

3. What programs, events, parish groups, etc. impacted your discernment?

Many programs, events, parish groups, etc. impacted my discernment, but none so much as the Knights of the Holy Temple. Through the grace of God, I, along with seven other young men, started a chapter of the Knights of the Holy Temple at the Cathedral in 2005. During my high school years in the Knights, I was able to grow in many ways. I was able to develop my leadership skills. I was able to grow spiritually through a close proximity to the Eucharist during the Mass, as the Knight’s primary duty is to serve at the Mass. Among other things, I was also able to discern that I would want to spend my life this way – in service to others and in bringing others to Christ.

On top of the Knights, I have also had the privilege of sponsoring two men to Confirmation, and three men in the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation) process. Through my experiences with these great friends of mine, I was able to grow in many ways, where an increase in prayer was my most profound growth. The people I sponsored taught me a lot about my abilities; they deepened my desire to service, and they helped me to understand, to a fuller extent, my desire to bring people into the Church.

Through prayer, the guidance of others and my experiences within ministries of the Church, the Lord is guiding me into my vocation: a vocation to His Holy Priesthood. Please pray for me as I continue this journey in seminary.

4. What Priests were influential and why?

There have been many priests in my life that have been very influential to my discernment to Priesthood – for the sake of time, I cannot mention them all. With that said, the first Priest that was influential in my discernment was Fr. Timothy Alkire. While in school at St. Boniface, I was able to grow close to him. He showed me that Priesthood is a joyful and good life. That example still reverberates with me to this day. The next Priest that has had a significant influence in my discernment has been Fr. Brian Doerr. I met Fr. Brian at my oldest sister’s wedding, and I got to know him very well when I was in the Knights of the Holy Temple at the Cathedral. I have received a lot of support in my discernment through him. As a matter of fact, he is the first priest to mention the idea that I might have a vocation to the holy Priesthood. The next priest that has had a significant influence on my discernment is Fr. Christopher Shocklee. During my early years of college at Purdue, Fr. Shocklee would talk to me – in person, on Facebook, on the phone, etc. – and support me in my discernment of the holy Priesthood. He continues to be there for me, as I will occasionally ask him to help me solve a philosophical or moral conundrum. The final priest that has had a significant impact on my discernment is Fr. Jeffrey Martin. His faith has always been an example to me of absolute trust in the Lord. He has helped me through a lot, and I really appreciate all of his support as he has helped me through the application process of applying for seminary. Thank you, Lord, for bringing these great men into my life!

Count on our prayers, John!

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September 1, 2013 · 7:46 PM