Hello! My name is Christopher Stoker. I was born in El Paso, Texas in 1995, but I have lived in Ames, Iowa since 2000 so Ames is home to me. My amazing parents are Robert and Roxann Stoker. I grew up in Ames and I am a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. I graduated from Ames High School in 2014. Currently, I am a senior at Loras College studying Philosophy and International Studies. I had been discerning seminary for many years and decided to enter my Junior year at Loras. I love to play soccer, enjoy time with friends, and eat lots of food.
Were you hesitant or nervous to take the first steps to enter the formation process?
Of course! It is a completely normal thing to be scared and nervous about taking the first steps. I think that many times we are scared of a life of joy and greatness. Many people settle for what is comfortable. Do not be afraid. Yes, when you say yes to God there is no clear path or directions, but He will never abandon you and He will lead you to a life of joy.
What do you feel the role of the priest is?
There are many roles of a priest, but for me the priest is not defined by what a he does, but by who he is. A priest is a disciple of Christ who loves Jesus. There is a lot of meaning in that simple statement. By being a disciple of Christ who loves Jesus, a priest knows who Jesus is and lives that out in His daily life. Yes, this means not always having the fancy things in life, but in laying down his life as Jesus did, so much grace is poured into the life of the priest, and so much joy follows.
What motivated your interest in the priesthood?
The joy. Many people like to think of the priesthood as a lonely and boring job where the priest just works on Sunday. The truth is, is that the priest lives a life of great joy. As humans we were created to love and be loved. A priest walks with, suffers with, and rejoices with others through so many different forms of ministry. This ministry of loving and receiving love is not just a job, but a call to joy.
Were you invited by others to consider the priesthood?
I think that many times people see things in us that we cannot see in ourselves. When we are willing to truly listen to what others have to say about us we can learn a lot about ourselves. People would always invite me to the priesthood, and only when I was truly willing to listen to them, I understood that I might have a calling to the vocation of priesthood.