Hello! My name is Tyler Raymond. I was born on March 27th, 1992, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to my parents, Gary and Julie. I have one younger sister Haley. I grew up in Marion Iowa (St Joes Parish) and went to school at Linn-Mar (Novak Elementary, Excelsior Middle School, Linn-Mar High School). After High School, I went to the University of Iowa where I studied European History and Classical Languages/Ancient Civilizations. I transferred my senior year to Loras College and St Pius X minor seminary where I graduated in 2015. I am currently at St Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in Illinois for major seminary, and I hope to graduate and be ordained by the summer of 2019!
Q & A
Where and when did your sense of call develop?
My sense of being called to the priesthood is hard to pinpoint exactly in history. I can remember little hints as far back as middle school. But I think it started to become really clear in college. I was given many opportunities to serve my school’s Newman Center, and these were life giving activities, even if they were physically and emotionally draining. I saw Christ in the work I was doing and the people I was engaging. A lot of what I was doing was like what a priest would do. A priest friend I had made the connection for me. If you find Christ here, maybe He is calling you to serve him.
What do you feel the role of the priest is?
I feel that the priest is supposed to be one thing and do one thing. The priest is supposed to be Christ for others, and that means the priest is made to love. Nothing else. Of course this means that the priest will do many things, like confer sacraments, console and celebrate with parishioners, and give their life to others. But this all comes from the two very basic aspects of the priesthood. Be like Christ and love others.
What motivated your interest in the priesthood?
There is no greater motivator for interest in any vocation than seeing someone living out holiness in that vocation. I have been blessed to have many priests in my life who have been inspirational to me. I wasn’t friends with all these priests, some of them I rarely said more than hello. But I saw in these priests a love for Christ and His Church, and when you see that, you want it. The priests I knew, knew Christ, and I wanted to be like them.
What advice would you give to a man considering the priesthood/seminary?
Come to seminary! There is really no better way to learn if you are being called to this vocation than to go to the place where your job is to discern and prepare for the vocation! Remember that seminary is not a final decision to become a priest, but a commitment to further explore God’s call. Talk to priests if you feel called or even interested. Get in contact with your vocations director, and above all PRAY! God wants to tell you what He desires of you, but we must listen to Him. I promise (most of) the people in seminary are not freaks! We are here discerning God’s will and we would love to help you do the same!
Were you hesitant or nervous to take the first steps to enter the formation process?
I was absolutely nervous to start the process to enter seminary! It sounded like you are signing your life away, and before you have done some really extensive discernment, seminary sounds intimidating! Thankfully Fr. Schatz took me to visit the seminary and see what it was like, which made things less scary, but you can’t wait for all your fears and concerns to go away before you enter.