Seminary snapshots

Categories: Around the Diocese

With 18 seminarians in priestly formation for the Diocese of St. Cloud studying in five different seminaries, there is sure to be a variety of personalities, dispositions and histories in the mix.

Some men enter the seminary right out of high school or while they are attending their first four years of college. These men enter at the college level, or minor seminary. After graduation, they move on to four years of theology at a major seminary.

Other men may discern their calling after they’ve completed college. These men enter what is called pre-theology, usually at a major seminary for two years and then enter four additional years of theology.

In honor of National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 1-7, The Visitor asked a handful of seminarians to send in a snapshot, “selfie” and/or a glimpse into their experience of seminary life.


Deacon Douglas Liebsch
St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul
Theology 4
Home parish: St. Mary of Mount Carmel, Long Prairie

The statue of St. Paul stands in the courtyard of the St. Paul Seminary. St. Paul is a fitting patron for us as we learn to be preachers and teachers of the Word of God, and allow the Word to penetrate like a two-edged sword into our own hearts.










troutDavid Trout
St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul
College 4
Home parish: St. Michael, St. Cloud

I am a senior at St. John Vianney College Seminary, and will be graduating this spring with a double major in Catholic studies and philosophy as well as minors in theology and psychology.

Seminary life at SJV is great! We have many weekly seminary events that we all attend, such as floor meetings, diocesan and fraternity brunches, and a community meal with entertainment provided by seminarians every Tuesday.

We pray morning and evening prayer together, along with Mass and an hour of adoration every day. We are very privileged to be located at the University of St. Thomas, as this allows us to participate in campus events, have classes with other college-age students and cheer on the St. Thomas football team.

My favorite part of SJV is the amazing fraternity that we have. There is a real sense of brotherhood here, and it is a very supportive environment to grow in virtue.

This picture is of the crucifix just outside the main entrance to St. John Vianney Seminary. It is the first thing that you see when entering SJV, and it was also right outside my window my first year here. It is a great reminder to me of why we are here: to know, love and worshipGod and to learn how to lay down our lives for Christ and his church.




atheyScott Athey
Pontifical North American College, Vatican City
Theology 1
Home parish: St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Cloud

St. Peter’s Basilica is a constant reminder that my vocation is a calling from God. We are all called to do the will of the Father just as Christ fulfilled his Father’s will. St. Peter, pray for us.









skajaThomas Skaja
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Seminary, Winona
College 4
Home parish: Annunciation, Mayhew Lake

Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary is located in the Diocese of Winona. Since 1948, IHM Seminary has guided young men from various dioceses throughout the Midwest in following God’s call to the priesthood. Located on the campus of St. Mary’s University, it is nestled in the beautiful bluffs of Winona. IHM Seminary forms men humanly, spiritually, intellectually and pastorally.

Our motto is “Ecce Quam Bonum,” from Psalm 133. It translates from Latin as “Behold how good and splendid where brothers dwell in unity.” I would say that IHM Seminary is not merely a house, but a home. Since the first day, IHM has always felt like home to me. It’s a place where genuine and virtuous friendships are formed — friendships that will last a lifetime.

At the end of the day, I recognize that everything that I have received from IHM is a gift from God. As a senior seminarian, I can’t help but to thank God for the formation, the faculty, the benefactors, the friendships and my family over the years. I have no doubt that IHM Seminary has prepared me well for wherever God leads me on this journey to the priesthood.