Meet Seminarian Kevin Miller
St. Nicholas, Wilkes-Barre
Year of Study:
Pre-Theology I at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary,
What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to Diocesan Priesthood?
I’ve felt a call towards Diocesan Priesthood ever since I was twelve years old. I was an altar server at Holy Saviour Parish in the East End section of Wilkes-Barre. A number of good priests, most notably Father John Green, Father John Albosta and Father Robert Burnett, encouraged me to listen carefully to that “still, silent voice within” that often indicates the movement of the Holy Spirit towards any vocation in life, be it single, married, religious or priesthood. This ‘voice’ became more pronounced all throughout my high school years, particularly through my continued involvement as an altar server, lector and catechism instructor, as well as through my participation in the diocesan Chrism program at Fatima Center. I’d have to say that the single biggest factor in my on-going discernment was Father James Nash from St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke, who at the time I knew as Mr. James Nash, my English teacher at Coughlin High School. He taught a course on the Bible as Literature that I took my senior year, and this course helped instill in me a love of the Word of God that I’ve held dear ever since. The year after I graduated from Coughlin, Father Nash retired from teaching and entered Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, now Pope Saint John XXIII Seminary, where I presently study. Even though it would take me another thirty-two years to eventually enter the seminary, Father Nash’s encouragement, personal example, and love of the Church were truly ‘lights unto my feet’ to always stay open to the possibility of priesthood. What Blessed (soon to be Saint) Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said certainly rings true to me, “God writes straight with crooked lines.”
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
Having sacred time and space to genuinely grow in holiness and deepen our relationship with God is a privilege. As Father Don Williams, Diocesan Director of Vocations and Seminarians, once so beautifully told me, “the most important thing we do in the seminary is endeavor to become as close to God as possible.” To have this unique opportunity to grow in faith, hope and love before the Lord is something I will be forever grateful for and will humbly cherish no matter where God leads me in life.
What is the role of prayer in your life?
Prayer is the lifeblood of any Christian, even more so a seminarian. One of the most important factors of any good relationship is open, honest and frequent communication, and prayer is how we communicate with God. The centerpiece of every day for me is the Hour of Great Mercy: 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. I reserve that hour to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross and the Passion Prayers of St Bridget. I always leave the chapel with a sense of peace and gratitude for having reflected on the wonder of God’s infinite mercy towards us. I attend Mass and pray the Divine Offices in community or privately as the daily schedule dictates while praying five or more decades of the Rosary throughout the day. For me, prayer is the fuel that keeps the fire of the Spirit inside me burning brightly.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, walking, weightlifting, watching Notre Dame Sports of any kind, and certainly just kicking back to relax.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about a vocation to Diocesan Priesthood?
Having spent four years as an undergraduate with the wonderful Jesuits at the University of Scranton, I learned a great deal about Ignatian spirituality. One of the central aspects of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is the idea of magis, the Latin word for “more” or “better.” As Christians, we should always seek themagis in all that we do, most especially in our relationship with God and each other. Anyone considering the call to priesthood should prayerfully consider each day in the spirit of magis how we answer the following questions: What have I done for God? What am I doing for God? What MORE can I do for God? Then listen for God’s direction in the still quiet voice of the heart.
Posted by Diocese of Scranton Vocations blog