Beyond the Porch - Meet our Seminarians
Have you had a chance to meet our Teaching Parish seminarians Robert Ross and David Sweeney yet? This is David’s first year at St. Charles and Robert’s second year of the four total years they each will spend here. Please help us welcome them and keep reading to learn more about them!
Hailing from Highland, Indiana, Robert attended Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis for four years before spending the last two years at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. He entered the seminary after graduating from high school and attributes his decision to discern to the priesthood to many different factors.
“I grew up in a devoutly Catholic family that was always involved in Church,” he says. “My uncle is a priest, and we went to his parish, where I was able to serve at the altar. Also, when I was growing up, my older brother entered the seminary, and he is now a priest today. People have joked that serving the Church is the Ross ‘family business.’”
The decision to enter the seminary has been life changing for Robert.
“The formation I have received has helped me change my life to the point that I don’t recognize myself when I first entered seminary,” he says. “I have also had the opportunity to meet amazing Catholics and make strong friendships.”
He’s had incredible opportunities pop up such as seeing Pope Francis in Washington D.C. for the canonization of St. Junipero Serra, traveling to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day, and making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Robert is excited to be at St. Charles and is looking forward to all that he can learn while he is here.
“I have never been in a parish as large as St. Charles before,” he says. “I am looking forward to seeing the Catholic Church in its youthful vibrancy and learning some of the skills it takes to manage and keep healthy such a large community of people. I hope that over the course of the next few years I can experience the fullness of what St. Charles has to offer: liturgies, Sacraments, schooling, faith-building, evangelization, service, and fellowship.”
David grew up locally in Brookfield and took an indirect path to the seminary. After attending college at UW-Madison, he worked at an investment banking firm for three years. However, he first had the thought of becoming a priest during his sophomore year of college and applied to the seminary five years later after deciding that it was the path he was meant to be on.
“After catching up with a friend who was in the seminary, I received a voicemail from Fr. Luke Strand, Milwaukee’s Vocation Director,” he says. “This began a period of much more intentional discernment, including retreats and spiritual direction. I learned that thoughts and desires to become a priest weren’t external impositions from God on my mind. Rather, they came from within. They revealed the deepest desires of my heart, desires God had placed there when he formed my heart.”
Although his experience at the seminary has been different from the corporate life he experienced after college, he is finding his time there to be filled with joy.
“We live a privileged rhythm of daily life at the seminary,” he says. “We pray, we study, we eat, we work, we play — and it’s all done in a community of sixty men striving for a very unique vocation. One of my favorite moments of each day is at the end of evening prayer, all sixty of us sing the Salve Regina together in the chapel, raising our voices in praise and supplication of our Blessed Mother.”
Similarly to Robert, he is pleased to be at St. Charles to learn more about our parish.
“I look forward to watching Fr. Ken and Fr. Nick live out their priesthood in the parish, seeing the faithful live out Christian marriages and lives of Christian love, and coming to know Christ himself through the people of St. Charles.”
Please keep David, Robert, and Dcn. Tim (in his final year here) in your prayers as they continue their studies at the seminary!