Hello. My name is Joshua Heywood. I was born and raised in Omaha and am the oldest of five kids. I was homeschooled from 5th to 12th grade and graduated in 2017. My family belongs to St. Peter parish. I love the architecture, the sense of Sacredness, the Latin Mass parts, the Sacred Music, the celebration of Mass Ad Orientem, as well as the guidance of several outstanding priests.
My first thought of becoming a priest was in first or second grade. Fr. An Duy Phan was visiting my class and I thought it would be amazing to be like him. Many years have passed since then and the priesthood has always been on my mind. I am drawn to the priesthood by the celebration of the Sacraments and the desire to help people get to Heaven. My vocation story is not elaborate, just a gentle, persistent nudging by the Lord in my spiritual life. My spiritual life began with my parents, who wanted me to have the best education on the Catholic religion. They found books in order to teach me at home. In addition to learning about the Catholic faith, my family practiced it. My mom took us with her to daily Mass and to Confession every two weeks. My family also began praying the Rosary every day. This formed a strong foundation that I clung to when I began to take my faith in my own hands. When I began high school, I was able to attend a Catholic homeschool faith-sharing group which allowed me to talk about my faith and challenged me by setting spiritual goals. I have been able to spend hours in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and have read many spiritual books. By growing in my own relationship with the Lord, I felt called to attend seminary and discern the priesthood. However, I sometimes doubted this calling; other times I feared I did not have the skills to become a priest. In these moments I have learned to trust in the Lord, for He can do all things. Regardless of where God leads me, I desire to put the Lord first in my life.
In the fall of 2017, I will be attending Conception Seminary College. I am looking forward to growing closer to the Lord and trying to follow His Will for me. I am also excited about bonding with my fellow seminarians.
In my spare time you might find me playing the piano or guitar, reading books, solving Rubix cubes, running, biking, swimming, camping, or playing video games.
If you or someone you know may be discerning the priesthood, I encourage you to put God at the center of your life and enter into a relationship with Him. This is your primary vocation and only through it will you discern the Will of God. Develop a good prayer life, frequent the Sacraments and allow Him to act. Remember that you are God’s instrument and, no matter how unqualified you are, He will work through you if you let Him. Also, I highly recommend reading “To Save A Thousand Souls” by Fr. Brett Brannen. He covers many topics on understanding the seminary and priestly life and how to discern.
May God be praised now and forever!