The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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September 8, 2000 Issue
Local News

Seminary follows long debate

Theology student says thoughts of priesthood would not go away

First in a series about the diocese's seminarians

By Sarah Malcore

John Girotti thought about the priesthood for a long time before he finally entered Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.

"Priesthood was a gut feeling that came and went, but no matter what I did, it would not go away," said Girotti, a seminarian for the Green Bay Diocese.

Girotti traces his initial interest in the priesthood back to grade school. When he was in grades four through six at Christ the King School in Wauwatosa, his pastor suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS). Even though the priest was in great pain, Girotti remembers that he still came and spoke to their class once a week.

Girotti saw that as an act of service and realized that the mission of a priest is to serve others, most of all, God. In the back of his mind, thoughts of serving others began to bloom.

At age 16, he began thinking seriously about priesthood when he saw all the confusion and Godlessness in the world. He said his feelings were even stronger when he noticed how sad people are who don't have Jesus in their lives.

"God is the key to living a true, fulfilled life," Girotti said. "So much sadness and hurt are due to rejecting a relationship with the Lord. A relationship with the Lord is the most important thing you can have."

After graduating from Marquette High School in Milwaukee, Girotti still didn't feel ready for the seminary, so he went to Lawrence University in Appleton to study music and to discern if he did have a vocation to the priesthood.

"I fought it, discerned it, ran from it and bargain with it for five years," Girotti said.

"I was dating, I wanted to make lots of money, I wanted to be happy on my terms," Girotti said. "I fought this way for five years. I eventually realized that sin can come easily when rejecting a vocation. I finally made the decision to take the 'leap of faith' and give seminary a chance."

So Girotti, who in 2002 is scheduled to be the next young man ordained for the Green Bay Diocese, entered the seminary at age 21 and he hasn't been disappointed.

"The last three years have been the best three years of my life," Girotti said enthusiastically. "Seminary is like heaven on earth. I have never been so joyful, being with 175 other guys with the same interests as myself. There are sports to be involved in, good discussions, and most of all, brotherhood."

Although study and prayer are a major part of seminary life, Girotti also finds time for hobbies, including scale model building and practicing the cello. He also enjoys restoring old cars and going out for Italian food, especially pizza.

After years of contemplating the priesthood and three years in the seminary, Girotti advises men of all ages considering priesthood to "pray, talk to a priest, and most of all, trust in God. Do not run, God made us all for a reason. Do not throw out God's plan for yourself or you will never be happy. Serving God is never easy. Nothing today is as exciting and fulfilling as priesthood. Nothing!"

(Malcore is an intern in the diocesan Vocations Office.)


Who: John Girotti

What: Third year theology student

Where: Mundelein Seminary near Chicago

Background: Born in 1975 and raised in Wauwatosa. Graduated from Christ the King grade school, and Marquette High School. Member of St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee.

Parents: Margaret Anshuf, a full-time mother, and Albert Girotti, a scientist, both of Wauwatosa.

E-mail: [email protected]

Interested: For more information on vocations to priesthood or religious life, phone Fr. Doug LeCaptain at (920)437-7531 or toll-free at 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8293, or by e-mail, [email protected].

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