The Archdiocese of Louisville has 16 seminarians in formation for the priesthood this year. Though they are at different places in their journey, they are thriving, said Father Martin Linebach, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s vicar for vocations and director of the Vocation Office.
The young men represent 11 parishes in the archdiocese and attend five seminaries — St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Southern Indiana; Theological College in Washington, D.C.; St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore; Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati; and Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
Father Linebach is currently visiting the men in their seminaries.
“I try to stay in contact with them. They all seem to be doing well and thriving,” said Father Linebach, noting one young man said his seminary feels like a “second home.”
During his visits, Father Linebach said he meets with the seminaries’ administrators and then meets individually with the seminarians, who are in various phases of formation.
For example, Trenton Thieneman at Theological College in Washington, D.C., is currently in a rigorous philosophy program but “really enjoying it and appreciating it,” Father Linebach said.
Then there are five deacons — Deacons Michael Schultz, Van Tran, Yen Tran, Kenny Nauert and Matthew Millay — who are looking forward to their ordination to the priesthood, said Father Linebach.
Three of the young men are in their propaedeutic year, which is a preparatory stage with a rigorous program and schedule.
The propaedeutic year is “not focused so much on academics as it is on human and spiritual formation. From that perspective, there’s an intensity about it,” he said.
This preparatory year is valuable, he said, especially if the seminarian has little experience of the church.
“It teaches them how to pray and the value of living with a group on the same path,” he said. This year also gives them the “time and space” to focus on their strengths, limitations and areas for growth.
The propaedeutic year really prepares them to “excel in seminary life academically and from a sense of formation,” he said.
Father Linebach said that prayer is principal to vocations and that “it takes all of us” praying and “keeping an eye out for someone that might have a vocation” to the priesthood or religious life.
During Vocation Awareness Week, observed Nov. 5-11, the Vocation Office is inviting all archdiocese agency employees to attend a Holy Hour for vocations Nov. 9. For more information about vocations in the Archdiocese of Louisville, visit the website of the Vocation Office, louisvillevocations.com.