Young men from Scecina visited Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary near the Marian University campus. Kevin Klaiber (right, back), Scecina theology teacher, planned the field trip, where they met with Father Joseph Moriarty '83, rector, (left) and Father Eric Augenstein (second from left), director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications
For a young man, a trip to a seminary is a practical experience that can help him discern whether he should pursue the priesthood.
For Scecina freshman theology teacher Kevin Klaiber, creating such a field trip for students was a personal mission, recently brought to fruition when he took a group of students to Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis. Klaiber wanted to open their eyes to life as a seminarian.
“This has been in my mind since the first day I came here four years ago,” said Klaiber. “I wanted to do more about vocations.”
Eight young men signed up for the fall trip, and Klaiber hopes to take a second group in the spring, as others are expressing interest.
“A lot of high school guys have a hard time seeing themselves going to seminary because they think that seminarians are extra holy or special,” explained Father Eric Augenstein, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
“Having them visit a seminary and meet seminarians who are not much older than they are shows them that they are very much normal guys striving to listen to God’s call. It makes seminary seem more real and accessible – they start to see that they might be able to fit in, if that is where God is calling them.”
The young men who made the field trip are: David Garner, Cole Garner, Cody Long, James Hentz, Sam Staufer, Nicholas Goldsworthy, Marcio Velasquez and Michael Young.
Father Eric, Father Joseph Moriarty, rector of the seminary and a 1985 graduate of Scecina; and Father Aaron Jenkins, Scecina’s chaplain coordinator, were present for the visit.
The Scecina students took a tour of the seminary; engaged in a discussion with Father Eric; celebrated Mass; and had lunch, said Klaiber.
“I think the kids were enthusiastic about the trip,” he said. “I think there’s some soul-searching going on.”
“The last thing they did was they got to act like seminarians,” Klaiber said. “They got to play ping-pong. They saw that (seminarians) just don’t spend the day in prayer and solitude. They have normal lives.”
Scecina sophomore James Hentz has been considering the priesthood or teaching as a vocation since he was in junior high school at St. Michael Catholic School in Greenfield.
“It’s great to be able to know how it looks to be a seminarian,” he said. “All these people are praying for you and are with you every step of the way.”
“I was happy to see that all these guys (from Scecina) are interested in exploring (the priesthood),” James added.
The Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary was established by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in August 2004 to prepare college seminarians for major seminary. It is located a mile from Marian University, where the seminarians take classes and engage in campus activities with other Marian students.
Father Eric says most important question a young man discerning a vocation can ask is: “Who is God calling me to be?”
“The priesthood is not a personal choice or decision – it is a calling from God, and it can be the most rewarding and satisfying life that you can have, if it is the life that God is calling you to live,” he explained. “So prayer becomes critical – getting in touch with God and spending time with him in prayer. And it also helps tremendously to be able to talk through things with a trusted mentor, a priest, or a spiritual director.
“I’m always glad to have a conversation or answer questions about the priesthood, seminary life, and how to listen to God’s call,” he added.