A Scripture verse that is one of my personal favorites and is my theme for my college seminary years is Matthew 7:21, “For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” My name is Daniel Williams and I am a fourth year college seminarian studying at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota for the Diocese of La Crosse.
This verse from Sacred Scripture reminds me daily to place my heart in the hand of Christ, our Redeemer and Eternal High Priest. Doing so gives us the opportunity to be guided in a direction that follows the will of He who is our God. My treasure is in that which is of heaven which can be shared with the people of God that I hope to one day serve as their pastor.
My path towards seminary began in my hometown of New Bern, North Carolina, where I attended Catholic school through Eighth Grade and subsequently participated in a Catholic home school program for my freshman year of high school before moving to Stanley, Wisconsin. While in New Bern, my parish priest, the late Monsignor James Jones, inspired me and encouraged me to look for the will of God as my guiding force in determining what path I should take in my future. I credit his compassion and guidance to my attending seminary, or at least considering the priesthood. He now is my intercessor in heaven.
I moved to Stanley in my freshman year of high school, where I began attending Stanley-Boyd High School as a sophomore and later graduated top in my class. During my high school years, I chose to foster the hint of priesthood by attending vocations retreats and seminary visits. During these events, the desire to do God’s will grew and so did the force pushing me towards seminary.
It was in a holy hour during the Threshold Retreat in Winona, Minnesota that was led by the diocese that I felt the call to seminary. In a definitive moment of peace, Christ gave me the ability and courage to respond with a full “yes” and make that final step across the threshold.
This past year was one of many graces. When I thought Christ had led me to the furthest bounds that I could reach, I was led further. With the love of our Blessed Mother Mary and divine guidance by the Holy Spirit, I have submitted further and further to our Eternal High Priest.
I feel this academic year will be one of great growth and further consolation and affirmation of a call to priesthood. With the love of the people of God, support of the many priests in my life, and my family and seminary brothers, I feel that Christ has placed me in this moment for a specific reason, which is to know, love, and serve Him in the best way I can possibly do so.
I appreciate my home parish’s, All Saints’ (Stanley, Boyd, and Cadott, Wisconsin) and supporting parish St. Bernard-St. Hediwg’s (Thorp), assistance spiritually and the constant encouragement I receive whenever I return home.
My parents’ are Daniel and Christine Williams and I have two siblings at home, Sadie (19) and Grace (14), with an older sister, Melissa (30). My family resides in Stanley, where my mother is originally from and my father’s family continues to reside in North Carolina.
I pray for every member of our diocesan family, especially that we may grow in holiness together so we may one day enjoy eternal peace with each other in perfect vision of God the Father. May God bless you, your family, and your parish community. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.