Luke Helbling

Theology I
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
George Mason University
Saint Patrick Catholic Church

What did you do prior to entering seminary?

I served as a campus missionary for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) for two years. One year in Connecticut and another in Massachusetts. My time with FOCUS was truly transformative and provided a wonderful environment for me to start discerning. I look at all that the Lord has done in, with, and through me in the past couple of years and I can't wait to see how He will use my time in seminary. 

What influenced your decision to apply for seminary entrance?

It was very simple for me. Once I realized the possibility that God was inviting me to discern the priesthood I was filled with excitement and joy and there was a gradual increase in desire. I knew that proper discernment would require further action than the more passive reading and questioning I had been doing and it was clear in my second year of mission that the next step was applying for seminary. 

Why do you want to be a priest?

To reveal who God is and create opportunities to live in relationship with Him. The priest is able to do this in a couple particular ways which really excite me. Most substantially in the Eucharist, Jesus humbly gives himself to us and makes himself radically available for relationship. In another way God reveals himself through his priests in unique and personal ways even through the broken humanity of the priest. 

What are your favorite pastimes?

I enjoy the outdoors whether it's a walk, hike, bike ride, or rock climbing. I enjoy reading or exploring different topics or interests that friends are passionate about (usually with them). 

What is your favorite quote?

"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor." - C.S. Lewis

Who is your favorite Saint and why?

Saint John Paul II. When I chose him as my confirmation saint, I didn't realize how much he would inspire me. Sure, we have a few things in common (like our love of the outdoors) which are fun to look at as encouragement, but learning about his character and his virtue are what really stirred up a devotion. I strive, hope, and pray to become more like him, particularly in his dignity and reverence for others, his great joy, and his zeal for shining the light of Christ into "the fear which darkens human existence" -- all of which poured forth from his deep prayer life. 

What advice would you give to a young man thinking about the seminary?

Approach discernment with prayer and patience: patience with God and with yourself. There will likely be excitement, joy, consolation, fear, anxiety, doubt, frustration, or any mix of emotions along the way. Hopefully our own weakness and inadequacy are revealed in the midst of all these things, reminding us of our total dependence on God and leading not to discouragement or fear but to a more complete surrender to his will for our lives. It's this prayerful surrender and trust that must be the foundation of any discernment. Learning how to see ourselves as we are, accepting that reality, and allowing God to transform us from one degree of glory to another is what it's all about, and it doesn't stop in seminary, so start practicing now. Our Father wants incredible things for us, we just have to ask.