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 | By Kevin Kelly | Guest Columnist

How God is cultivating the hearts of our seminarians

Recently I completed my fourth and final year of minor seminary before moving on to my major seminary studies. In my four years at the seminary, the Lord has abundantly blessed me. Through both the struggles and the joys, the Holy Spirit has used every experience as an opportunity for me to grow closer to the Father. Seminary gives a man the opportunity to understand, accept and live out his identity in the beloved sonship of God the Father. It is from this core belief that all our other formation flows. Seminary formation is thus divided into four dimensions: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral.

+ In the human dimension, I have been able to grow in my ability to be a bridge to Christ and a Christian gentleman. It is through my interactions with students on campus and time spent with my brother seminarians that I can grow in this dimension. I have also been blessed with many close friendships among those who share in my journey of discerning the priesthood.

+ In the spiritual dimension, I have grown in my prayer life through the practices of spiritual direction, communal prayer, and dedicated time in the chapel with the Lord. Through these practices, I have become a closer friend and brother of Jesus Christ, whose priesthood I desire to share in one day. 

+ In the intellectual dimension, I have been blessed to attend the University of Dallas, one of our country’s greatest Catholic universities. Throughout these my years here, I have studied philosophy, theology and the liberal arts.

+ In the realm of ministry, I have been able to teach highschoolers during Bible studies, walk with those entering the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation, and minister to those who are suffering in the hospital and those who are living on the streets. Through ministry, the Lord cultivates my heart to become more like Christ’s, allowing me to grow in pastoral charity, which is the center of the diocesan priesthood.

While I still have four or five years until ordination, I am constantly astonished at all the many blessings God has been so gracious to provide along the way. It is humbling to say the least, and at the same time it increases my desire to serve the people of God in the Diocese of Austin with my life as a priest. I thank you for your support of us seminarians, please continue praying for us as we discern our calling.

For more information about vocations in the Diocese of Austin, visit

Kevin Kelly recently completed four years of study at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas. He has moved on to major seminary, and God willing, he is four to five years from ordination to the priesthood.