SEMINARIAN EDUCATION IS SUPPORTED BY THE CATHOLIC CHARITY FUND APPEAL

Getting to Know Your Seminarians: Nicholas Whitaker

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Learn more about the Office of Vocations at catholicpriest.com

Get to know a little more about the men you are praying for as they continue to prepare for the priesthood.

Age: 19
Year of Study:
 1st Philosophy
Home Parish: :
SS. John & Paul Parish, Coventry
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in my hometown of Coventry, where I first became involved with my local parish. I was born into both an Irish and Italian household — my father is Irish and my mother Italian. I attended public schools and eventually graduated from Coventry High School earlier this year. I started thinking about the priesthood towards the end of my sophomore year of high school but never took it seriously until my junior and senior year.

What does the word “vocation” mean to you personally?
To me, the word “vocation” is a calling from God. This is a direct call from our Father in which it will lead us to eternal splendor with the Lord. God never pressures us, therefore we must constantly be listening to his call and let his will be done for he knows far more than we could ever comprehend.

How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
Just like any other seminarian, my discernment continues. Nevertheless, I’ve always had a passion for helping people. Early on I thought that my calling was medicine. When I was 18 I earned my EMT-Basic license and worked part time for an ambulance company. However, I did not feel that I was getting a sense of fulfillment in what I was doing. I began to drift away from my faith during my early teen years. After many trials and tribulations I turned back to God. I started going to Mass every week and eventually everyday, sometimes twice a day until the pandemic hit. A very wise and knowledgeable priest showed me the true meaning of what it is to be called to serve God. During COVID this calling to do something more with my life was getting stronger than ever. After much prayer and time with the Lord I finally decided to meet with the vocations director for the diocese and I was formally accepted into the seminary by Bishop Tobin in April of 2021.

What is something that readers may not know about what it is like to be a seminarian?
In my experience so far, many people believe that seminarians are in constant prayer and always studying. While academics and prayer are necessities, seminarians do a lot for their own parish communities along with serving the homeless, being active in youth ministry, giving back to the community and much more. On the other hand, some people may be surprised at how much formation a man must go through to become a priest. Men must be willing to answer God’s call and formation certainly does not happen overnight.

What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood?
I would emphasize the meaning and constant need for prayer, while also making it known to them the importance of active listening. One of the hardest things to do is to simply just listen. Cast all of your fears, burdens and anxieties on the Lord and he will lighten the load of the cross that we all must bare in life. Above all, simply pray!

How do you feel we can best support seminarians?
The best way to support seminarians is through the power of prayer. Pray that we may become more like Christ in every way possible throughout our discernment.

Who do you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
During my reversion, I came to admire St. Anthony of Padua and even took his name as my confirmation name as he was know for being a great preacher. I prayed and still continue to pray to St. Anthony constantly for his intercession and that I may one day preach the Good News and have it resonate in the hearts of those who had the privilege of listening to St. Anthony himself. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my grandmother Nancy who is my biggest fan and supporter. As a registered nurse for more than 50 years, she knows firsthand what it is like to be called to service. My grandmother has never given up on me no matter how big my dreams and aspirations were. Also, as a faithful Catholic and pious woman she is constantly offering prayers not only for myself but for my brother seminarians as well.

Favorite hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself?
I very much enjoy playing, composing and listening to music along with reading. I like to play sports as well, such as hockey, golf, football and baseball. If my schedule permits, I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family. Growing up with Italian grandparents, I’ve learned to speak both Italian and Sicilian while improving my culinary skills at the same time.

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