Eileen: What are some of the ways you hope to serve the Church here?
Tyler: Here at the Cathedral or in Chicago? I'm actually a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Dubuque in Iowa, so that is were I will serve as a priest in a couple of years, and I hope to be a pastor of a parish. Here at the Cathedral I'll work in a ministry, this year probably Baptism prep, and then I'll also serve as a deacon at the Cathedral when I am ordained.
Eileen: When you first considered your vocation, with whom did you discus it, and what was their advice?
Tyler: The first person I found was a priest at the Newman Catholic Student Center at The University of Iowa. He became my spiritual director and helped me to discern whether or not God was calling me to be a priest over the next few years.
Eileen: What has been the most interesting course that you have taken to date and why?
Tyler: My favorite and I think most interesting courses have been on Scripture. My first year we took a course on the Psalms and that opened up the Psalms in a way I had never experienced before. They used to be the song sung between the first and second readings but when you learn their rich history and theology they become so fruitful and edifying.
Eileen: What can parishes do to help interest more people considering a vocation?
Tyler: I think honestly it is all about parents. If we as a Church think that we can just start asking youth to think about their vocation and they haven't seen what a vocation is or learned it from their parents when they are young, it will sound alien and weird to them, or more like a job than a vocation. Parishes should help married couples to see and experience that their own marriage is a vocation, a means for husband and wife to grow in holiness together, and that their children are gifts from God with the same vocation to holiness. When we know from the beginning that our lives are not our own and that God is calling us to great holiness, being a priest or religious, or married or dedicated single person doesn't sound so strange but an opportunity to live out God's call!
Eileen: What can schools do to help interest more people considering a vocation?
Tyler: Get seminarians to come and visit classrooms! Pray for vocations as a class! And spend sometime explaining what a vocation is. It's not a job but a call to the fullness of happiness and holiness that God wants for you!
Eileen: Who is your favorite saint and why?
Tyler: My favorite saint is Therese of Lisieux. She was tireless in following God's call no matter the obstacles. She Loved Jesus more than anything in the world and her love for Jesus also led her to tirelessly love others, even when they were difficult or when they were frankly hard to love. In the end of her life she struggled deeply with questions of where God was as she suffered illness, but continued to place her life in God's hands to the very end. I highly recommend her auto-biography "Story of a Soul" here. Her small acts of everyday courage are both inspiring and very hard and rewarding to emulate.