Hello, my name is Ryan Keisling. I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and at the age of two my family moved to Omaha, Nebraska. My family became very active in our parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton over the next several years. I was blessed to have two wonderful priests at my parish: Fr. Walter Nolte and Bishop Joseph Hanefelt. I was inspired at a very young age due to their influence, and thus my interest and desire to explore the priesthood began. As my family became more active in the parish, I too found opportunities to grow in my faith at a young age. I began serving as an altar server at Mass and found opportunities to pray and worship in the parish.
Toward the end of elementary school, I moved back to Pennsylvania, and then, a few years later, my family returned to Omaha, Nebraska. I quickly got involved in St. Elizabeth Ann’s youth group, Overflow, when I returned. In fact, I think I started going to the high school youth group before I was old enough. I attended Northwest High School in Omaha. I ran distance on the track and cross-country teams, participated on the student-council, and was involved in numerous other clubs and activities in high school.
After high school, I attended the University of Nebraska Kearney. I initially majored in History Education with a minor in philosophy. At UNK I was active in the Newman Center. Throughout my time at the Newman Center I developed wonderful relationships with fellow Catholics my age. These friendships helped challenge me to grow deeper in my faith as a young adult. Also during this time, I got to know Father Neil Hoch and Father Scott Harder who helped guide me as my call to the seminary matured. By the end of my sophomore year, I felt it was time to apply to the seminary. While it was hard to say goodbye to so many wonderful relationships, I felt at peace knowing that I was following the Lord’s call.
My advice to any young man discerning their call to the seminary is to take confidence in knowing that the Lord will always stay faithful and will never abandon you. I encourage all young people to take time in prayer, to spend time in front of the Lord through Eucharistic Adoration, and to seek guidance through their parish priests.