My path to seminary:
During college and upon first moving home it cannot be said that I was living a very Christian life. As time went on there were many opportunities that allowed me to become more involved with community and church. By the time I was finished with college I was already farming with my dad. When I moved home we decided to build a feedlot on the place I was living. Things were going great and I really felt that I was doing what God wanted me to do. I kept getting more involved in the Golva community and the my parish of St. Mary’s. Some protestant friends of mine asked me to attend a bible study and I reluctantly agreed. Right away the Word of God intrigued me and I was lit on fire. It happened that I truly began to experience the “living Word of God.” I began to have a prayer life and see the Lord working in my relationships and every day ordinary things of life. My life was changing. The way I approached work became radically different in that truth and love influenced what I did and how I did it.
One thing led to another as I pursued questions I had about our Catholic faith, and I was asked to help co-teach a CCD class. After praying about it I thought, what better way to learn it than to learn so as to teach. During that year a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel was opened in Beach, and after attending the Mission that was held in order to institute the chapel I decided that I could give the Lord one hour of my time on Wednesday nights after CCD class. The priest who gave that Mission planted a seed that I remembered at my first hour of adoration. He said, “The first thing you can do before our Lord is offer him your life. After all, we just want to be happy, and we are never truly happy until we are doing what the Lord wants.” During adoration I said, “Lord, I give you my life, I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I just want to be happy.” Towards the end of the year I had strong feelings that I wanted to become a permanent deacon. Around this same time Fr. Tom Richter gave a vocation talk in Golva one Sunday. Immediately following the Mass a gentle, faithful elderly woman who thought I would make a great priest confronted me. I rejected the notion and told her that I was going to become a deacon. She smiled and said, “that’s nice, but I’m still not going to take you off of my prayer list to be a priest.”
From this point life for me would never be the same. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was at a real low point in my life. I continually asked God what He was up to and what he wanted me to do. As part of my involvement with my parish community I was on the parish council and we had a retreat where Fr. Austin Vetter was going to speak to us. We were having supper and Deacon Don Nistler introduced me to Fr. Vetter. As Deacon Don was telling him about me and my plans to become a deacon someday, Fr. Vetter leaned back in his chair, looked at me and asked; “why don’t you just go to seminary?” After a whole litany of reasons about how I thought that I was doing what God wanted me to do and how I had all these responsibilities to our farm and feedlot. He said, “Oh, just sell it all, become one of us it’s not so bad.” That very night after the conference I was out baling straw and couldn’t stop thinking about seminary as a real option, or rather, the real thing God was asking me to do. That night I knew deep down that this was something I had to pursue. No matter what I did the thought just didn’t leave me.
Since the thought never left me I talked to my parish priest, Fr. David Richter, who helped me understand and set up a meeting with the Vocation Director, Fr. Tom Richter. Now it was time to tell mom and dad. They knew that I wanted to be a deacon and that I wanted to take over the family business, but this was a surprise. When I told them, my dad told me he would support anything that I chose to do and my mom just cried. I later found out that she was mad at God and me because she thought she was loosing my dad and I at the same time. This is an interesting story in itself because my mother was Lutheran and has since entered fully into the Catholic Church.
When I met with Fr. Tom Richter he encouraged me to attend a Live-in weekend at Cardinal Muench Seminary, so I went. The first thing we did was attend a Penance service where I went to confession and unloaded years of baggage. From that point the whole weekend was complete peace and clarity for me. I knew without a doubt that this was what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to be. My family made plans to get out of the business. During that time between making the decision and entering seminary I had the opportunity to spend those last months with my dad before he died. It was a very blessed time for me.
Looking back now is so different because God has been so generous in showing me how He has worked through my life. Up until the Live-in weekend I had some anxiety about leaving everything to go to seminary because I truly believed that God had set me up with the opportunity to farm and run a feedlot, and He did. It was because I had the opportunity to farm with my dad and run the feedlot that I had the freedom to say yes to what God was really calling me too. What wasn’t so apparent then is very clear now. Praise God! I’ve never been happier, even when I was happy doing what I loved to do.
>> Photos of Adam's ordination to the transitional diaconate