Seminarians for the Archdiocese of Louisville have answered several questions posed by the Vocation Office to help parishioners get to know them. Let’s hear from Cole McDowell.
What is the most surprising thing
about being a seminarian?
The most surprising thing about being a seminarian for me is the support I’ve received from strangers and friends alike. At a time when the priesthood is often met with great suspicion, I have been overwhelmed by the prayers, conversations, cards and messages from people both within and outside of the church. This calling really helps to develop one’s understanding of the church as the people of God because everyone has a stake in who serves them as a priest.
What do you like most about
being a seminarian?
The thing I like most about being a seminarian is having a social support network of men who are discerning the same vocation as me — men who are confronting their own shortcomings, growing in their spiritual lives, offering themselves to God’s people, and striving every day to live in union with God. While we come to know God primarily through the sacraments, we also come to know God through one another, and being surrounded by so many holy, positive people is a significant grace in the discernment process.
What would you say to a young man trying to figure out his calling in life?
Do not be afraid to reach out to a priest or a vocation director to talk about the priesthood! One of the things that held me back before entering seminary was an unreasonable fear of being “roped in” or pressured to apply to seminary if I began talking to a priest about discernment. The priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville are very good about encouraging you and accommodating you in your discernment, but they do not try to force this vocation upon anyone. That defeats the point!
Is there any person or saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
I believe that the intercession of St. Augustine has been a great help to me in this process. I relate quite strongly to the story of his struggles — both moral and intellectual — and how he overcame them over the course of many years of rebelliousness, study and prayer. His prayers are a great resourcefor me because, in many ways, he has been where I have been.