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The gift of our seminarians

‘It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you.’
-- John 15:16

Seminarians for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, Tylan Ricketts and Jacob Schneider, took time to answer some questions for the Southwest Kansas Register. Due to an SKR computer error, seminarian Juan Salas did not receive the questions in time to respond by deadline. The SKR will include his remarks in the next issue.

Jacob Schneider
Jacob Schneider was born in Great Bend, the son of Bob, a mechanic, and Kathy, a nurse. He has one sister and four brothers.
Southwest Kansas Register: When did you first feel the call to enter the priesthood?
Jacob: I guess you could say when I was a kid, but I really think I began to realize that God might be calling me to be a priest in college. It took really three  years  until  I filled out the ap-
plication for seminary.

SKR: Who influenced you along the way?
Jacob: A whole array of people. Father [Ultan] Murphy, Father Ted Stoecklein. My family definitely; many people from my parish and even an athletic director when I was officiating in college.
SKR: How did your families react to your decision to enter the priesthood?
Jacob: Very supportive and proud of me.
SKR: What did you imagine seminary would be like? Is it different than you imagined?
Jacob: Before entering seminary I did not really know what to expect, but I had no idea how much God would allow me to grow and come to love Him more more through seminary life. Seminarians are normal guys. We have Army Rangers, engineers, farmers, all-Americans, school teachers, doctors, police officers, musicians, and a guy whose major was industrial arts. I recall a conversation I had recently when I told a few people this and the comment was made that we sound more like a group of super heroes, and that we should get actions figures made! I advised against this but keep your eye open.
SKR: As you go through seminary, have you recognized any misconceptions about seminary students, or those seeking the priesthood, that you would like to dispel?
Editor’s Note: See Jacob’s answer to this question in a special column.
SKR: Can you name something that you look forward to in your priesthood?
Jacob: Hearing confessions and offering the Mass.
SKR: What do you think will be one of the primary challenges?
Jacob: A challenge that I believe I will face in the priesthood, in the words of a spiritual director at our seminary, is “to bring love to a loveless world, and to bring heart to a heartless world”. If one looks at the direction that our society is heading, this statement is not an exaggeration. But what goes with it is not despairing in situations that you can not do anything to help. One must never despair. If one were to look at the culture and look at the power they lack to change it, this could lead to despair very easily. We must always have, hold, and grow in hope in a Loving, Merciful God. One must never loose sight of Him who is our purpose for living. Making sure that this is never from my mind I believe will be a challenge.  
SKR: Can you describe one of your favorite things about attending seminary?
Jacob: The food! In all honesty I find a lot of comfort in knowing that every guy out here is struggling down the path of holiness. We are all trying to hear God’s call for us in our life. Another thing that is very special and rewarding is the atmosphere of the seminary is unique. The Liturgy, prayer, and the classes take on a different connotation than anywhere else.

 


Tylan Ricketts
Tylan Ricketts was born in Garden City and reared in Sublette. He is the son of Chris and Diana Ricketts, who own a lumberyard in Sublette. He has five younger brothers.
Southwest Kansas Register: When did you first feel the call to enter the priesthood?
Tylan: When I was very young, about 5, I first “felt” the call to enter the priesthood. When I was a senior in college, I first “heard” the call.
SKR: Who influenced you along the way?
Tylan: My former pastor, Father Emil Dinkel, influenced me in my early years. My Spiritual Director in college, Father Meinrad Miller, also influenced me. My grandparents, Marlyn and Alice Morrison, were also big influences in my vocation.
SKR: How did your families react to your decision to enter the priesthood?
Tylan: They were very supportive and excited for me to do what God wants me to do,  even  if
certain ones don’t exactly understand it fully.
SKR: What did you imagine seminary would be like? Is it different than you imagined?
Tylan: I went into the seminary expecting it to be like a college, only with the added elements of supporting the spirituality that I never got at Benedictine College. In a sense that was true. But what I didn’t imagine was that the seminary not only supports spirituality, but actually encourages us through holy obedience and through various other aspects of seminary life, to take up the difficult task of striving for sanctity, for the sake of souls.
SKR: As you go through seminary, have you recognized any misconceptions about seminary students, or those seeking the priesthood, that you would like to dispel?
Tylan: Just because we’re in seminary doesn’t mean that we are holier than the average person. We still struggle and fight with our own problems. In fact, it is because we struggle with our problems that we are able to help others with the struggles they face. It is like Hebrews 5:2 says, “He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness.”
SKR: Can you name something that you look forward to in your priesthood?
Tylan: Bringing the grace of God and reconciliation with Him to my parishioners, through the sacraments.
SKR: What do you think will be one of the primary challenges?
Tylan: As we “progress” in history, our culture starts to think less of living a virtuous life, and is starting to put pressure on Catholics to reject the truth and accept instead the values which the world approves of. It will become harder for anybody to speak the truth anymore, and if one of the primary roles of the priest is to do so, it’ll become a big challenge of the priestly life.
SKR: Can you describe one of your favorite things about attending seminary?
Tylan: Being among a great group of guys who have a common interest: growing deeper in love with Jesus and with the people we are going to serve. (We have arguments in the seminary as to which diocese is really the best…almost everyone agrees that that diocese is Dodge City).  But, as much as I love seminary, I look forward to serving the Dodge City diocese with all my heart, and growing to love Jesus more and more with the people of the diocese.







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