TEC AND VOCATIONS
To The Priesthood
Scroll down to view the many stories and testimonies of men who have answered the call...
...To the Priesthood
How TEC is Impacting Vocations at St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
In the November Communicator, TEC Episcopal Moderator Most Rev. Roger L. Schwietz, OMI, Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, shared how TEC was influencing vocations during his 2006 visit to Rome:
“At one point I was talking with one of the seminarians at the Pontifical North American College. When I mentioned TEC and my visit to the Council for the Laity, he explained, “I know TEC! I have made a TEC retreat and helped with others. In fact, it was on my TEC retreat that my vocation to the priesthood was awakened.” This young man reminded me of why I am grateful for TEC and the privilege to be a part of the Movement.”
Similar testimonies such as the one Archbishop Schwietz heard in Rome are also being found among the seminarians at St. John Vianney in St. Paul, Minn., where TEC Founder Fr. Matthew Fedewa is now on staff. These seminarians credit their TEC experience with helping them to say “yes” to God’s call to enter seminary and the priesthood. Here are some of their stories:
- “TEC played a crucial role in my faith conversion. Growing up in the Catholic Church always seemed like something my parents, religious education teachers and priests did. I was merely a passive observer, wondering why people would care so much about God or the Church. Through my TEC experience, this all changed. I was inspired to seek out Christ and His Church which eventually led me to discern entering seminary. In looking back on my TEC experience, I can see many seeds planted in my faith that are beginning to grow at seminary. My first experience of Adoration took place at a TEC retreat. I also began to read my Bible seriously for the first time because of a talk given by a man who is now a brother seminarian. And, I heard the first call to the priesthood while on TEC. I can see a connection between these events and our daily prayer routine at St. John Vianney: daily Mass, holy hour, rosary, Liturgy of the Hours and our constant search for God’s will. What a blessing to be a seminarian in our beautiful Church!
~ Benjamin Hadrich, Diocese of Duluth, Minn.
- “My vocation began while I was serving as a youth minister; growing more in love with Christ and His Church. But, it was through TEC that I began my discernment to the priesthood. In December 2001, I went on SEA TEC #7 in Juneau, Alaska. TEC taught me how to live the Paschal Mystery and follow Christ’s example in dying to myself, rising to new life in Him and being His disciple. TEC initiated the first spark in my heart which became a flame burning with the desire to serve Christ and His people through the priesthood. TEC also helped me grasp the true work of a priest -- service. As a member of the wheat team, I served those on retreat without experiencing any direct reward. This has only strengthened my desire to follow the priestly call.”
~ John Burger, Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska
- “TEC was the definitive turning point in my faith. It was on this retreat that I was able to see the very beauty of the Church and make the internal decision to turn my heart to the Lord. It was a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, and showed me what I was living for.”
~ Andrew Mulloy, Diocese of Green Bay, Wis.
- “In November 2005, I attended Central Minnesota TEC and it was a tremendous experience. Although at that point I was already planning on entering the seminary, TEC did give me greater insights into the spiritual life, which helped guide my decision and reaffirm it. Thank you very much, Fr. Fedewa, for your continued witness to the wonderful life of the priesthood.
~ Peter Hughes, Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.
- “I attended Omaha TEC #232 my junior year of high school. I went with my girlfriend for what I thought would be a fun weekend with some decent prayer. My actual TEC experience was much deeper than that, though. The healing and grace I received, along with entrance into the TEC community, opened my heart to hear God’s call which brought me to seminary. I still keep in contact with my bothers and sisters from TEC; a program designed to glorify Christ.
~ Joseph Spargo, Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.
- “I went on a TEC retreat as I was preparing for Confirmation, and it had a significant impact on my decision to enter the seminary. The priest who was leading it, Fr. Peter Williams, had just been ordained and was really fired up about Christ and the priesthood. He also invited me to come with him and some other young men to Team Vianney here at the seminary. It was through this experience beginning at my TEC retreat that ledme here.”
~ Justin Shay, Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.
- “Although I have not attended a TEC retreat, a priest whom I know very well went on one and entered seminary soon afterwards. He has now been a priest for almost eight years and has been a real model of holiness and priestly fidelity to me as a child and during high school. That makes Fr. Fedewa like a spiritual grandfather to me. Many thanks to Father’s witness to the Gospel of Jesus.
~ Matthew Marshall, Diocese of LaCrosse, Wis.
- “While my vocation did not start with TEC, it was influenced by it. I will never forget that December 2003 TEC, when Fr. Scott Carl asked me if I had ever thought about the priesthood. Through my involvement with TEC, I had found an apostolic zeal for bringing teenagers to Christ; but I pushed the thought of becoming a priest to the back of my mind. During the next few years, I continued to pray and work on TEC weekends. Eventually on my February 2005 retreat, I had an hour of Adoration and decided that I would not leave the chapel until I knew whether or not to go to seminary. I decided to deal with the question about the priesthood later. Within minutes I knew what I must do. I have now been at St. John Vianney for three semesters. I thank God for bringing me to seminary and for TEC which led me here. I pray that the Lord is calling me to become a priest and I think that He is.
~ Matthew Schaefer, Diocese of St. Cloud, Minn.
- “I attended Wichita TEC #78 and #90. Although TEC was not the primary reason I entered seminary, my first weekend was a significant time of conversion and building of a strong Catholic community of friends. Without TEC, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
~ David Voss, Diocese of Wichita, Kan.
- “I am a proud TECite from Central Minnesota #413 in Little Falls, Minn. I made my TEC after my first semester in seminary. On that weekend, I received the courage to speak before crowds from “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). ~ John Knopik, Diocese of St. Cloud, Minn. “I’ve had the privilege of experiencing Wichita TEC #100 a couple of years ago. Attending TEC was a great opportunity for me to allow Christ to come into my life and work in me. I was considering joining seminary before the retreat, but the encounter with Christ certainly directed my heart more intensely toward it.”
~ Eric Nichols, Diocese of Wichita, Kan.
Compiled by Fr. Matthew Fedewa; edited by Mary Lovee Varni (c) April 2007 TEC Conference Communicator
Called to Give God My Whole Life
“I made a TEC in northeastern Wisconsin in the spring of 2005. This retreat was very influential to my own journey of faith because it was there that I had my conversion. TEC has much to do with who I am today. It is indescribable to me how that three-day experience moved me to undergo so complete a change. I went from having little interest in Christ and His Church to wanting to devote my whole life to these very interests one year later. Also, following the Agape meal, a strong thought crossed my mind: “You should become a priest.” This hit me like a fly ball coming in from left field. Becoming a priest is something I had never even considered before. To have it enter my mind so suddenly was a bit frightening to be honest, and I responded accordingly by ignoring it. But, this thought soon returned a few days later, and was recurring more and more frequently over the summer months. I finally realized it wasn’t going to leave, so I began meeting with my parish priest, Fr. John Girotti, to discuss what was going on. He was my first spiritual director/counselor, and helped me to discern God’s call in my life. TEC has played a significant role in my life; and is a big part of why I am here as a seminarian today.
~ Ryan Stark, seminarian, St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. (Originally from Anchor of Hope TEC, Diocese of Green Bay, Wis.)
Answering God's Call to the Priesthood
“As a high school junior, I went on TEC for a weekend away with some friends. Never did I expect I would come out of TEC thinking about the priesthood! About two years into the minor seminary at St. John Vianney, I still wasn’t sure about my vocation. I was certain, however, that I was supposed to be in the seminary.
So, on another TEC weekend after my second year, I was with my table during the Go Day chapel visit. We were upstairs in the rectory where there is a phone. There was no one else in the house except for us. When it came my turn to pray, I simply asked God, in front of everyone, if He was calling me to be a priest. Immediately, the phone rang three times and stopped. As you can imagine, everyone got wide-eyed, jaws dropped and then we started laughing! I asked and God called! I have been a priest for over two years now and love it. I will be forever grateful to TEC for helping me encounter Jesus Christ and answering His call.”
~ Fr. Jeremy Kucera, pastor of St. Edward Church, Minneota, Minn. (Riverbend TEC, diocese of New Ulm, Minn.)