Meet the Men: Senior Edition

We asked our graduating seniors the most important thing they’ve learned at SJV. Here are the life-changing lessons they’ve picked up along the way:

Mason Abbott | Lansing
Being honest about how one feels, what one’s thoughts and desires are, and bringing this to the Lord has helped me learn how personable the Lord is and how much He wants to be part of all aspects of my life.




Elias Budke | St. Paul & Minneapolis
To trust God as my Good Father and to surrender my discernment completely to Him.





Derek Damasco | Chicago
I have been drawn from a disposition of fear and cowardliness of heart to a radical confidence in God’s love for me. He loved me first, and I cannot express the deep peace, joy, and freedom He has given birth to in my heart.




Peter Davis | Joliet
I can’t do everything. I frequently had to say “no” to certain opportunities at SJV in order to say “yes” to other good things the Lord was leading me towards.





Jeffrey Davlin | Grand Rapids
I am a beloved son of the Father Most High. The Father is well-pleased with me, not because of anything I have done or not done, but because I am irrevocably His beloved son.




Matthew Giorgio | Sioux Falls
God loves me as I am, and I won’t grow any closer to Him by trying to pretend I’m something I’m not. I can be honest with Him about my sins, joys, desires, and fears and trust that He will help me grow in whatever ways I need to.




Christian Howlett | St. Paul & Minneapolis
Difficult times and suffering are an invitation to draw closer to Jesus who offers us special graces during those moments.





Brian Johnson | Omaha
Jesus has become enough for me, all I want and all I need. I am free from so many fears and worries, and because He has given me such compelling desires to live for Heaven, I feel an exhilarating freedom to truly live for Love.




Joseph (Seppe) Kelly | Lansing
Docility and humility. Our vocation is not about us, it’s about giving the greatest glory to God the Father. Once we realize our lives are not about us, we can begin to be formed into the men God wants us to be.




Brady Martinez | Sioux Falls
After three years of immersion in this school of God’s Love and conquering Mercy, I feel empowered to embrace the reality of suffering humanity – both within myself and others – with great confidence in God’s power to make all things new and to heal us.




Jack Massmann | St. Cloud
Prayer needs to be central in and for everything I do. SJV has helped me to begin cultivating the foundation needed for a priestly life: commitment to prayer, fraternal charity, intellectual wonder, and a desire to labor for the salvation of souls.




David Rabaey | New Ulm
To let my relationship with God—not my personal qualities—be the source of my internal security. That identity is always tested most when I’m feeling down on myself, but now I’ve learned to go to the chapel with whatever’s troubling me and suffer the pain before God.




Kyle Rohan | Green Bay
During my two years at SJV, I have been blessed to be a friend, a mentor, a big brother, a teacher, a facilitator for encountering Christ. I believe that all these things are working together to form in me a heart that looks more and more like the heart of a spiritual father.




Dominic Schoenle | Lansing
Less and less, I need to rely on myself, and more and more, I need to rely on Him to provide me the strength. He knows what I need because He’s made me for a specific call, and I will be happiest if I do that.




Matthew Sell | St. Paul & Minneapolis
To interact with others in a more meaningful way. I have been able to have good conversations with friends and family that go beyond surface level and actually allow for human connection.




Alexander Thiel | Chicago
Growth in self-possession and a confidence in who I am and who I desire to be. Here, I have been given a space to make a clear, thorough discernment and primed to respond with a generous heart.




Jack Tyrrell | St. Cloud
Whatever happens to me, whether pleasant or difficult, helps me grow towards God and is aimed at my happiness. Because of seminary, I have a better attitude of acceptance and peace about life.




William Ulmer | Lansing
I have fallen in love with God at SJV. No other gift could prepare me better for the next steps in my life.





Kyle Wozniak | Omaha
SJV has prepared me for my next chapter by showing me the heart of the Father, giving me a model for my own future fatherhood.





Peter Zabinski | St. Cloud
1) What it looks like practically to live close to Jesus every day. 2) How to shift from a mindset of boyhood to fatherhood: how to stop thinking merely about myself and start thinking for others.

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