St. Francis Seminarians: Answering God’s Call 

My name is Austin Evans and I am in my first year of formation at St. Joseph’s Seminary College. I am the fourth of six children and I grew up as a Catholic on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My parents have always been very devout Catholics and made sure we made it to Mass every Sunday, even when I would be out of town for a soccer tournament, which was almost every weekend. I have always been very close to my siblings. The oldest four, including myself, all went to Mississippi State University and lived together for the two years I was there.

I had always wanted to be a priest, since elementary school, but it fell by the wayside once I got into high school. While I was studying at Mississippi State, I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling what God was calling me to do and was reminded how much I wanted to be a priest growing up, so I started thinking about joining the seminary. My second year at MSU, my parents moved to Flower Mound, Texas. While I was visiting at Christmas, I really felt the need to go to a discernment meeting. Bishop Olson spoke at that meeting and, through his words, I heard God calling me to go to the seminary. I started the application process right after and was accepted a few months later. I started my first semester this Fall.

Because my parents recently moved to Texas, and I was still attending MSU when they did, I am still relatively new to the St. Francis Parish. However, over the summer I did have the opportunity to attend on a regular basis and I felt right at home. I really enjoy the music and Father Flynn’s homilies.

St. Joseph’s has truly great formators and they have helped me tremendously to strengthen my bond with God and grow in holiness. Having daily community prayer and going to daily mass has really allowed me to focus on what is most important in life: following God’s will.

If there are any young men or women reading this, the best advice I can give you is to completely trust in God and surrender to his will. If you think there is even a slight chance God is calling you to be a priest, deacon, or nun, you should pray fervently to better hear his voice, and the best place to do that is at a seminary or convent. Just remember this: God’s will is much more important than your own, and He will not let you down.

Since deciding to join the seminary, I have felt at peace. True happiness is not gained from what you have or how much fun you have, true joy is only felt by following God’s will. I have been very happy since realizing my vocation. Once I got to St. Joseph’s, I have made more friends, made better grades, and felt much more fulfilled with myself knowing I am doing what God has asked.

This story was written by Austin Evans, Fort Worth Seminarian studying at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, and published in the December issue of the St. Francis Grapevine.