Preparation for ordination took a more concrete step for two Phoenix seminarians.
Both are coincidentally headed to the Pontifical North American College in Rome come August, but it was a June 10 Candidacy Mass that sealed the move. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted admitted Nathaniel Glenn and Gabriel Terrill as candidates for priestly ordination during Mass at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
The idea of candidacy comes with high drama and harsh rhetoric during an election year, the bishop quipped.
“Whoever agrees to be a candidate for ordained ministry today is enlisting in a far more important battle,” he said, although one that was largely hidden until now.
In the Church, candidacy is a time when those who have been privately discerning the diaconate or priesthood makes a public proclamation of their intention to prepare for ordination, the bishop explained.
“To promise to prepare to be a priest is a promise to listen,” the bishop said.
The young men promised to continue a rigorous study for the priesthood and ongoing conversion as they strive daily to live according to the Gospel. The bishop said doing so would help them “know more truly their constant need for the mercy of God.”
Glenn, whose home parish is Corpus Christi in Ahwtaukee, said the candidacy step signified an affirmation that he and diocesan leaders feel he is being called to the priesthood. It’s something the St. Mary’s High School alum has discerned the last five years, largely at Catholic University of America Theological College in Washington D.C.
He described it as an opportunity for studies, prayer and overall environment to discern where God is calling him to serve. Glenn, the middle of three boys, said seminary provided him a real clarity of identity and a sense of peace that came with it.
“Seminary has taught me at the same time my dignity as a child of God and my vocation as a man of God to serve the Church,” Glenn said following a reception celebrating all 30-some seminarians for the Diocese of Phoenix.
Terrill, whose home parish is St. Mary Magdalene in Gilbert, will spend the summer serving at Holy Cross Parish in Mesa. He called candidacy the first big step toward toward priesthood.
“It’s like that official declaration that I intend to continue my studies,” Terrill said.
He was excited and humbled to take that step. The last several years had him living in a bit of a bubble as Terrill embraced the pillars of formation: pastoral, intellectual, spiritual and human.
“I’ve grown in ways I haven’t been able to see up to this point,” he said.
Terrill looks forward to the unknown for the remainder of his formation.
“I know the good things He’s put my way, even in the challenges,” Terrill said.
His sentiment echoed perfectly a line from the rite of admission: “Trusting the Lord in whom they put the hope of faithfully pursuing their vocation, they say with the Prophet, ‘Here I am, send me.’”