Hello, my name is Brent Podliska. My home parish is St. Leonard’s parish in Madison. I attended Catholic grade school. Some ways that I have been involved in my parish is by being an altar server, helping with our parish’s annual fall festival and other various parish activities, and then when I was older I became an (EMHC). After sixth grade, I transferred to St. Francis Catholic high school in Humphrey. Throughout high school I was very involved with a variety of different Catholic youth retreats and conferences. I had my start at a retreat in our diocese called JC Camp it is for incoming freshman in high school and I highly encourage all to attend. This is where the spark of my faith was first started and I began to build a relationship with our Lord. As you go through school, I would encourage you stay as involved as you can with Catholic youth events. We have some excellent faith opportunities in our Archdiocese. After JC Camp, then came Quest, TEC, Steubenville, and going to Washington D.C on the March for Life to advocate for being Pro-life.
Through some of the retreats that I was a part of, I was able to find a community of other young Catholics passionate about following our Lord. It was also through several individuals that I met at these retreats that have been very encouraging and supportive of me in my discernment of God’s will for me.
For longer than I like to admit, God had placed it on my heart that he is calling me to the Priesthood. However, this was the last thing that I wanted to do in my life. Looking into my future, I could see myself doing several different things, but the Priesthood was definitely not one of them. It was probably the last thing that I wanted to do. However, as all high school seniors do, I had to come to a decision in what I was going to do with my life. After being very involved in retreats throughout high school and continuing to grow in love of God I definitely wanted God to be a part of my future. Because as a man once said, “to settle for anything less than the will of God for your life will not bring you Joy and will not bring you peace”. I began to accept that in order to find the purpose and meaning of my life I must accept not my will, but God’s will. Once I opened my heart to God’s will, things began to fall into place easily and I talked to Fr. Roza (our vocation director) about going on a seminary visit to Conception Seminary in Missouri. Once I finally accepted God’s will and opened my heart up to him he has lead me and blessed me in so many ways already through my acceptance as a seminarian.
As I go forward into beginning seminary I look forward to what God has in store for me. And as another of my favorite quotes says I know that “God will never lead you where his grace cannot sustain you” to those discerning God’s will for their lives I would ask you the question that I needed to ask myself. What does your heart tell you? Be not afraid. My last advice to you is that you will always keep an open mind and an open heart to God and his plan for you.