My name is Matthew Quail. I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with my parents, Don and Janette, and one older brother, all of whom are still in Sioux Falls.
While at college, I had a big conversion to Christ and His Church through the
on campus and the
Fellowship of Catholic University Students
(FOCUS). Through my involvement with FOCUS and the Newman Center, I began praying regularly for an hour, attending Mass daily, and going to confession weekly. It didn’t take long for the Lord to begin placing the idea of priesthood in my heart and mind. I resisted, thinking, “That’s for someone else; I can’t do that.” But, my Newman Center priest kept encouraging me to join the seminary.
I graduated college from South Dakota State University after four years with a bachelor’s in business and minors in music and Spanish, in May 2009. In August 2009, I entered the seminary. I did the two years of philosophy in the pre-theology program and discerned that I was not ready to continue. I thought I was done. I thought that maybe I should not be a priest.
I got a job at a bank in Minneapolis working with mortgages for two years. I continued, by the grace of God, a regular life of prayer, attended Sunday Mass, daily Mass as often as I could, and frequent confession. Yet, I was not quite fulfilled; I was looking for a sign of where God wanted me to be.
In December of 2012, I was talking with my dad saying how unhappy I was, and he told me I needed to go back in to the seminary. I was shocked. He wasn’t even Catholic at the time. But I of course did nothing. In April 2013, I spoke with the priest who was at my Newman Center and he said he knew I was supposed to be a priest and I needed to go back in to the seminary. Still, I did nothing.
Then, in May 2013, I had dinner with a priest from the Saint Paul Seminary whom I knew and at the end he said that he knows I’m supposed to be a priest and asked, “What will it take to get you back in to the seminary?” I really had to confront the reality that I was pursuing what I thought would make me happy but my idea of happiness kept leaving me unfulfilled and that maybe God’s plan was better. I also had to face the fact that I actually did want to be a priest. So, I finally called Father Przybilla, the vocations director at the time, and told him I was thinking about coming back to seminary and began filling out the paperwork. I was secretly hoping to encounter some resistance, but God opened up every door, every window, and made everything flow smoothly.
So in August 2013, I re-entered the Saint Paul Seminary as a first year theologian and I could not be happier. I feel so free because pursuing the priesthood feels like it’s exactly what I’m supposed to do in life. Every year of seminary has brought me closer to Christ, His Church, and His Mother. This year, I will, God-willing, be brought even closer as I will hopefully be ordained to the diaconate May 2016.
I am very excited and am very blessed by all the prayers and support from Nativity and everybody in the Archdiocese. Please pray for many more men and women to step up and answer the Lord’s call. It is truly a life of freedom in Him!
This reflection has been edited from its original version published in the parish bulletin and posted here on 10/29.