My name is Phillip A. Novotny. I am 38 and about to enter my first year of Theological studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. These last 3 years, spent at Conception Seminary College, have been a time of great fraternity, great change (as I was a carpenter for almost 15 years prior to entering), and great challenge.
I am the youngest of five born of Joseph & Maureen Novotny. I grew up at Mary Our Queen parish in Omaha, NE. There I attended school, joined BSA Troop 448, and attended the high school youth group for all four years. I was told numerous times by many of my friends that I would make a great Priest. A few adults asked me if I had given thought to the Priesthood. I was considering it. The idea and some desire for it has always been there since I could remember. I discerned this very prayerfully in high school and a few times while I was in college and honestly did not feel called to the seminary at that time. I did not realize that so long as one is not living out vocational fulfillment, one must continue to pray for that vocational fulfillment.
Retreats are a big part of my life. Among countless other experiences, my first personal encounter with God was on a retreat. I strongly recommend that everyone take advantage of the plethora of retreat programs available in the Archdiocese of Omaha. They are truly a great place to grow in relationship with all three Persons of our Triune God.
I have always loved being Catholic, but never as much as I did after reading The Lamb’s Supper by Dr. Scott Hahn. This opened me to true discernment. I soon learned how to listen in prayer for the voice of God (which is not done with the ears). One such instance of listening to the Lord came while in the convent of St. Katherine Drexel in Philadelphia during exposition of the Eucharist: I received the message on my heart to take up adoration regularly. And so I have. On that same pilgrimage I heard a priest say that every man is called to fatherhood. The question of vocation is this: to what kind of fatherhood is he called? I later heard three priests in the same night say, “I found I could no longer discern priesthood outside of the seminary.” We have all received the universal call to holiness, which is a call to Love; and God has a specific vocation He desires for each and every one of us. One’s vocation is simply the how God is calling that one to Love. Where is God calling you? I pray you will take up regular adoration as I did so that you might “Seek His Face.” (Psalm 27) & hear His voice.
In the words of St. Padre Pio: “Pray. Hope. Don’t worry.”