In the heart of Rome lies the Pontifical North American College (NAC), a beacon of spiritual formation and dedication, where seminarians from across the United States prepare for the priesthood. This institution is not just about theological education; it's a journey of transformation, where young men learn to serve as Christ did, embodying His love and sacrifice.
Deacon Josh Hill from the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, and his fellow seminarians share a common mission: to serve the people of God. Their formation at NAC is rooted in community, prayer, and service. Whether it's in the hallways, during meals, or out in the bustling streets of Rome, their focus remains steadfastly on God.
For Deacon Zane Langenbrunner of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend, Indiana, the priesthood was a concept learned from his pastor back home. However, seminary life has expanded his understanding, emphasizing the importance of community and shared service. This sense of brotherhood among seminarians fosters a deep connection with Christ and with each other.
Chukwuma Odigwe from the Archdiocese of Washington highlights the seminary's holistic approach to formation, where every aspect of daily life is an opportunity to encounter God. This intentional focus on the divine permeates their studies, interactions, and even meals, cultivating a lifestyle centered on faith.
Peter Fairbanks, also from the Archdiocese of Washington, views his preparation for priesthood as a "training of the heart," aiming to align more closely with Jesus, the high priest. This spiritual journey is about embodying Christ's sacrifice and love, becoming a bridge, not an obstacle, to Him.
Fr. David Hulshof, the Director of Apostolic Formation at NAC, emphasizes the priest's role in configuring himself to Christ. He draws from Scripture, highlighting Jesus' actions at the Last Supper and His command to serve others as foundational to their mission.
Msgr. Thomas W. Powers, Rector of NAC, stresses the necessity of bringing Jesus and His Gospel to a world increasingly deafened by distractions. The seminarians' dedication to their vocation amidst societal challenges is a testament to their deep faith and commitment to answering God's call.
Through various apostolates, the seminarians engage directly with the community, from serving refugees to teaching children about their faith. These experiences not only allow them to apply their theological knowledge but also to witness the transformative power of service and compassion.
As they prepare for priesthood, these seminarians embody hope, service, and faith. Their journey at NAC is a profound preparation for a life dedicated to serving God's people, ensuring the Church is led by holy, prayerful, and joyful priests. In their hands, the future of the Church looks bright, rooted in a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a fervent desire to serve His people.
Anthony Johnson is a filmmaker at the EWTN Vatican Bureau and is Senior Video Producer of the office's Projects Incubator. He is from San Jose, California and a graduate of Gonzaga University where he studied both Classical Civilizations and Broadcast Journalism. He joined EWTN as a Video Editor in 2017 for the "Vaticano" program, and still contributes to the program while working on a variety of multimedia initiatives and documentaries in Rome.