The Priesthood is a Life Worth Living
A Vocation Story by Sam Severance, Diocese of Columbus
I began thinking about the priesthood in eighth grade. I received my Confirmation that year, and had a theology teacher who challenged me to know the faith in a deeper way and provided a glimpse into the history of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Those planted seeds began to sprout and take form in high school, and I whole-heartedly started to consider the priesthood. Admittedly, as a teenager, the thought of the priesthood made me a little nervous. In my young mind, priests were unusual. They did not have wives or children and they chose to live outside the “norm.” Thoughts like these quickly made me disregard a future as a priest. I decided instead to focus on sports, hoping that the thoughts about the priesthood would subside. They did, for a time. But the Lord was still working on my heart.
I attended college where I played baseball but struggled to find an academic major. My focus was centered on sports and schoolwork was often an afterthought. During my junior year, I was required to pick a field of study. I surrendered to our Lord, who I knew was still asking that I attend seminary. He guided me to choose philosophical studies, with the help of a Catholic professor whose son had discerned the priesthood years earlier. This made him familiar with the process of priestly formation. Ultimately, philosophical studies would help my transition into seminary.
Shortly after, something else needed my attention. In 2018, I was diagnosed with a cancer called Osteosarcoma and, as a result, had my lower right leg amputated. I learned many lessons from this experience, two are worth mentioning. The first – I need God in my life and I am nothing without him. The second – the priesthood is a life worth living. Along with my family, my parish priest accompanied me throughout this period in good times and in bad times, which helped me to see the profound impact a priest can have on a life. After completing treatment, I returned to college to finish my degree and baseball career. I graduated in the spring of 2019 and entered seminary that fall.
My time at the Josephinum has been such a positive experience and has been blessed by many people. I have been able to grow closer to our Lord and continue to hear His call to the priesthood. I pray that my gratitude to those who support my vocation is reflected in my future priesthood.