On the path to priesthood

Senior Nick Emsing plans to enter the seminary after graduation


Spencer Spudic, Staff Reporter

At five years-old old, while his friends pretended to be ninjas, superheroes and cowboys, Nick Emsing pretended to be a priest. Something seemed interesting about the priesthood to Nick, and as fascinations come and go in a child’s mind, he expected this one to go like the others. But that wasn’t the case, the priesthood remained constantly in the back of his mind.

“I wanted to be a cop, firefighter, etc., basic kid dreams. Those went away with age but the priesthood never did,” Nick said. “It’s just something that came to me when I was younger and didn’t go away like other thoughts did. I feel it is for that reason that this is an important decision,” said Nick.

Now, at 17, the senior at Bishop Noll will finally pursue his calling to the priesthood after graduation. He plans on attending Marian University next fall to study philosophy and living at Bishop Simon Brute college seminary. Then from Marian, he plans to attend the Mundelein Seminary at University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL,  where he will finish his path to the priesthood.

“[Those thoughts about the priesthood] always remained and eventually, I learned more about the Church and found my calling,” Nick said.

His religious influence stems from his mother and his grandmother.

“They’re the religious ones in the family, and my grandmother came from the time when ‘old-fashioned’ was commonplace, so she offered that outlook as she followed many of the old customs like no meat on any Friday,” he said.

Nick credits his time with his grandmother as one of the contributing forces to his interest in the priesthood. Family time with grandma meant watching a lot of EWTN, the global Catholic television network. He remembers her pointing out priests to him.

“She said ‘that’s going to be you’. She was probably the biggest influence on my decision. I feel having a grandma like that was a God-send, ” Nick said.

But he also credits his local clergymen as profound examples.

“There have also been priests in my life who I’ve seen and I “pick and choose” the qualities I want to emulate from each of them to hopefully be the best priest, and person, I could be.”

This past fall break, Nick stayed with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.

“The most interesting facet of this stay was experiencing living in the idea of a community life,” he said.

He sees himself contributing his old-fashioned beliefs to the Diocese and the Church.

“I am one who admires ‘the old ways of doing things’, and I find it’s few and far between in the church nowadays. It will be a new perspective maybe a lot of people haven’t seen before,” he said. “I’ve discovered this trend about myself, I’ve seen other people who have the same beliefs. With this method of thinking, combined with my childhood dream, I feel this is what God is calling me to do. I feel these ideas don’t just appear out of nowhere, and it’s probably a divine sending.”

Nick plans on discernment and prayerful reflection as well as learning what the job of a priest entails. He has been attending masses, discernment meetings, and he plans to stay with an order in Chicago during fall break to learn the life of a priest. He has been studying all his life.

“Being a priest isn’t like being a musician or actor so I can’t really tell people to look me up on soundcloud or anything. All I can really ask for is positive support and prayers as I take this step.”