August 3, 2015
The blessings continue as four men have recently been accepted by Bishop Kagan to begin priestly formation for the diocese.
Logan Obrigewitch, John Windsor, Grant Dvorak, and Jacob Bennett will enter the seminary this fall bringing the total to 28 men studying to be priests for the diocese. Western North Dakota has one of the highest numbers of seminarians per capita in the nation. With this blessing of quantity comes great responsibility of forming quality men into priests.
While these four men are preparing to start on their journey, Seminarian Doug Krebs is nearing his goal. Krebs will be ordained a transitional deacon in Rome in October, the final step on the path to the priesthood before his ordination in 2016 at the Cathedral in Bismarck. He wants the good people of the diocese to know and trust that the men are in good hands in the seminaries that the Bishop has chosen for their path.
“When someone gives themselves to God they are being formed into a good person,” Krebs says. “I look back on my six years in the seminary and know that my life has been truly transformed.”
Krebs is spending his summer on assignment with Fr. David Richter at the parishes of Linton, Hazelton and Braddock before returning to Rome for his final year of formation. Cardinal Dolan will come to St. Peter’s Basilica to ordain him and his 60 classmates deacons. He is excited to have a big group of supporters of friends and people of the diocese who will attend his ordination.
“It’s getting more real, that’s for sure,” Krebs notes. “This is a pivotal moment confirming that we’ve committed the rest of our lives to God and to the priesthood. One of the biggest aspects for me so far has been the friendships I’ve formed with the guys in seminary. Those bonds are strong and it’s great to be welcomed by others you’ve looked up to and have others in formation look up to us.”
Seminarian Jake Magnuson is on the opposite end of the path from Doug Krebs, continuing in his second year of formation this fall. He entered the seminary right out of high school, completing his first year (College I) this past year at St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Magnuson looks forward to going back after a summer spent living at home with his parents and helping out at his parish — St. Therese, Church of the Little Flower in Minot. “This seminary in D.C. is newer, set to begin the fifth year of existence, and it’s smaller than most,” Magnuson says. “There will be around 50 guys there this coming year and I’ve really enjoyed building personal relationships with others since there are so few of us.”
He says that being located in Washington, D.C. presents great opportunities for the seminarians to attend special Masses and celebrations, mentioning the March for Life event this past winter. “I’ve had the opportunity to develop in spirituality and prayer like never before in my life,” he explains.
Seminarian Nick Vetter will also be at St. John Paul II Seminary in D.C., a year ahead of Magnuson. He’s spending his summer living in residence at the rectory in Linton and helping Fr. David Richter where needed. He’s also working on his family farm during the week.
As Vetter enters the College III level, he says the most rewarding aspect of formation thus far has been his spiritual formation. “Learning different types of prayer, attending daily Mass and making a daily holy hour has brought about so much fruit,” he explains. “This has led me to know Christ as a real person who only wants what is best for the individual.”
Vetter is anticipating many things this year including a visit from Pope Francis at the seminary in the fall. While the Pope’s visit is certainly a big deal, he’s also excited about strengthening his relationships with God and with others.
“I look forward to progressing in my relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father,” Vetter says. “Along with growing in this relationship, it’s a joy each year growing in fraternity with the Bismarck diocese seminarians.”
All of this growth and progress that seminarians experience wouldn’t be possible, Magnuson and Vetter say, without the support of the people of the diocese.
“We, the seminarians, are very thankful for the generous support. We know people are praying for us even without us asking,” Magnuson adds. “We’re very grateful for their contributions, but most importantly for their prayers. I know it helps me get through tough times knowing we have such a strong force behind us at home."