By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator  

As a teenager and young adult, Nick Wylie spent five years discerning life as a priest.  

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Forty young men gathered recently for a Come and See Weekend at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict. Nick Wylie, a seminarian for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, was one of the seminarians who worked one-on-one with those in attendance, answering their questions and hopefully easing their concerns. Photo provided by Nick Wylie

 

Two years into seminary life, Wylie is at peace, secure in his decision. The Ponchatoula native recently spent three days mentoring young men who are facing the same decision-making process as Wylie.  

Wylie was one of many seminarians who spent time discussing the life of a seminarian during a recent Come and See Weekend at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict. The weekend, which runs Friday through Sunday, provides an opportunity for young men who are considering priesthood to briefly experience life as a seminarian.  

Wylie admitted that the Come and See Weekend “was something I really didn’t know about” while he was considering the priesthood.  

“No one told me exactly what it was,” he said. “I wish I had come sooner.”  

Wylie, who earned a degree in kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University, originally had designs on post-graduate work studying physical therapy but scrapped those plans. Only months after graduating, he was walking through the doors of St. Joseph.  

“My freshman year at Southeastern I applied to go to the seminary but it didn’t feel right,” he said. “So I stopped the application process but it was always in the back of my mind.”  

Wylie admitted at the time he was experiencing a fear of not knowing if he was smart enough or holy enough for the seminary. Or even that he would fit in, which is why the Come and See Weekend is so important to dispel many of those some fears in  young men.  

“It’s a chance for guys to experience what life will be like as a seminarian,” he said. “They see how we live, they are able to participate in liturgy, prayer and other activities, including playing sports and attending mock theology and philosophy classes.  

“They can hang out and see there are normal people here just like in a college. This is a regular college, just more orientated toward faith with a different objective.” 

Wylie discussed his own experiences and how he was able to overcome his initial fears. He said upon meeting his new classmates, he learned they were just like him, just “regular, everyday people.”  

Through one-on-one interaction that is the message he and the other seminarians attempted to convey to the 40 people in attendance, including two from the Diocese of Baton Rouge.  

“Everybody has different ideas what (the seminary) will be like,” said Wylie, who is scheduled to graduate from St. Joseph in May and enter Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in August. “This kind of shatters in a good way what they thought.  

“It’s really evangelizing them in a way.”  

Wylie said his own vocations was re-energized by witnessing the vigor and zealousness of the young men during the weekend. He said it also reaffirmed why he was there and how far he has come during his two years at St. Joseph.  

While his last few months wind down at the abbey, he has his eye on his future at Notre Dame and ultimately ordination.  

“Sometimes I think why is (ordination) so far away?” said Wylie. “But it’s good that it takes a lot of time. We need the time to develop, to build on (our formation).”  

Wylie’s first inkling to the vocational life was in his teens. Although a lifelong Catholic, he said his hunger to learn more about his faith grew through a family friend.  

In doing so, he realized the priesthood is the “holiest way of life.”  

“I would read Scripture and Jesus would say ‘Come and follow me,’ ” Wylie said. “That is what I wanted. 

“We are just doing what God wants.”  

Prayer for seminarians 

Lord,  bless those preparing for the priesthood in the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.  

May their hearts overflow with love and generosity, as they grow in wisdom and faith. May their example inspire others to hear and answer your call. Guide them as they prepare for a life of service to your people. Sanctify our seminarians and fill them with your peace and joy as they prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Orders. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen  

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for us. St. Jean Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us.

Consider the priesthood. 

For more information, contact Director of Vocations Father Andrew Merrick at 225-336-8778 or vocations@diobr.org.