Ryan is a second year pre-Theologian at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. His home parish is St. Richard Catholic Church in Jackson.
Mr. Ryan Stoer, Seminarian
Notre Dame Seminary
2901 S. Carrollton Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
His story in his own words:
I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from New Mexico Tech. I had a couple job offers after I graduated. I accepted a job as a nuclear engineer, but before I could start working, I needed a security clearance. While I was waiting for that clearance, I went to confession one day, and a priest said that I should be a priest. When the priest said that, I said, “No way! I’ve always wanted a wife and kids.” Then, I left.
What he said stuck with me, and I began my discernment. I had two choices in front of me. The first was a nuclear engineering job that would have paid six figures, and a girlfriend, with the future possibility of a wife and children. It was a normal life. The second option was seminary. It was an option I had never wanted, and I did not want to consider it.
Through many chance events, I decided that I would give discernment a try. I decided that the moment something showed that I should not be a seminarian, or a priest, I would end the discernment and move on with my life. God had other plans. Each step of the way, the call to enter the seminary grew stronger. I visited my first seminary. Then a second seminary. I met with the Bishop. I met seminarians. Nothing told me to end the process.
Ultimately, I learned the decision was not mine to make. God had the final say. During the discernment process my relationship with God deepened. I would spend time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I would go to daily Mass and confession regularly. The more my relationship with the Lord grew, the more the seminary seemed like the right thing.
So, I made my decision to go to the seminary, and I entered. After two months, I got a phone call that said my clearance had come through, and I could start my engineering job by the start of the next week. I did not take it. I stayed in the seminary, and I have found great interior peace and joy in that decision. It is a decision I never thought I would have made, and I never would have made on my own.