Monday, April 7, 2014

WisStateJournal: The view from an 18-year-old 'almost-seminarian'

Last fall, Jose Flores applied to UW-Madison and the University of Dallas, thinking he might want to become a pediatrician.

But something nagged at the high school senior.

“I didn’t feel really content,” said Flores, 18, who lives with his parents and two brothers on Madison’s East Side. “I have an ambitious personality. I want to do a lot, and I feel very strongly I could work hard enough to become a doctor. But I thought maybe I need to be doing more for God.”

So in January, he called the Rev. Gregory Ihm, vocations director for the Madison Catholic Diocese. The two sat down and talked. The upshot: Flores has applied to the diocese to attend seminary this fall.

“No, I’m not certain that I will actually be ordained, but I do trust that God will eventually lead me to where I can be the best version of myself, either to a secular vocation, or a religious one,” Flores told several dozen people during an open house March 27 at St. Ambrose Academy, the Catholic school he attends on Madison’s West Side.

The talk was billed as a chance to hear from an “almost-seminarian,” a student title quite common at St. Ambrose. Since the school’s founding in 2003, around 20 percent of its Catholic male graduates have entered the seminary, though not all have chosen to stay through ordination, said David R.J. Stiennon, president of the school’s board of directors.
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