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Twenty-five young men pursue path to priesthood

By Brianna Osborne

From Aug. 6 to Aug.9, the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City met at the Catholic Pastoral Center for fellowship, education and service before heading back to their respective seminaries for the school year. As the 25 young men prepared to return to the North American College in Rome, Italy, Saint Meinrad Seminary in Saint Meinrad, Ind., Saint John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colo., and Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo., they took the time to become better acquainted with the archdiocese they are called to serve.

The archdiocese welcomes two new seminarians this year: Martin Parizek, from Saint John Nepomuk in Yukon, and William Banowsky, from Saint Thomas More in Norman.

God willing, five men will be ordained to the priesthood on June 28, 2014. They are Christopher Brashears from Saint Joseph in Blackwell, Linh Bui from Our Lady’s Cathedral, Cristobal De Loera from Saint Charles Borromeo in Oklahoma City, Carson Krittenbrink from Saints Peter and Paul in Kingfisher and Timothy Ruckel from Epiphany in Oklahoma City.

Father Joseph Irwin, associate director for the vocations office, described the threefold purpose of Seminarian Days.

The first is fellowship.

“With all of them spread out at different seminaries, this is a time to be with each other,” Father Irwin said. “They get to know the new guys, and foster a sense of camaraderie and fraternity.”

Second is the chance to learn more about the archdiocese. On Wednesday, Aug. 7, the men visited Saint Patrick’s in Oklahoma City, went to Mass at Saint Francis of Assisi and had lunch at the Meerschaert house. In the afternoon, they toured the Heritage Room at the CPC. They also listened to a talk given by Father Paul Gallatin and Father Don Wolf. It was a presentation on Father Wade Darnall, one of the “heroes of the archdiocese,” said Father Irwin.

Finally, the seminarians participated in actual hands-on service. After splitting into two groups on Thursday morning, the seminarians went out to serve at Sister Barbara Joseph’s Food Pantry and at Catholic Charities.

The seminarians also had dinner with the archbishop and an evening gathering with priests from the archdiocese.

“It was nice that they got to have that time with the archbishop and feel welcome in his home. The priests’ gathering was also great—you get to know the people who you’ll be working with, probably for the rest of your life” said Father Irwin.

Deacon Carson Krittenbrink praised the structure of seminarian days, noting that Father William Novak, V.G., director of seminarians, effectively used the time to introduce them to the archdiocese. The seminarians met with staff members at the CPC, learned about the generations of priests who came before them and explored the institutions of the archdiocese.

“I didn’t know where Catholic Charities was,” laughed Deacon Krittenbrink.

“During our time at the seminary, we get to know the local diocese well, but we don’t get to know our own!”

Please pray for these young men, and for all those discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

Brianna Osborne is a staff writer for the Sooner Catholic.

For more information about seminary and the priesthood, contact the Vocations Office at 721-9351, or visit http://archokc.org/vocations/home.