With salutes to the legacy of Bishop David Choby and stories of conversion and faith filling the room, more than 80 members of the Catholic Business League gathered this morning at the Cathedral of the Incarnation for the monthly breakfast meeting and the annual salute to the diocese’s seminarians.
As this was the first time that Bishop David Choby was not part of the gathering, the morning started with a showing of the video “Bishop David Choby, The Patriarch of the South.”
Following that, Fr. Austin Gilstrap, vocations director for the diocese, welcomed the audience, reflecting on his visits to the CBL as a seminarian himself and how proud the Bishop always was to present the seminarians at this breakfast. ”He loved to show off the seminarians,” Father said, “knowing what they meant to the vitality of the diocese. The seminarians are his greatest legacy, and the success of the vocation program in Nashville was the envy of his fellow bishops.”
Eight seminarians were present this morning, just a fraction of the seminarians currently studying. Many of the others are already active this summer in parishes throughout the diocese. After introducing the group, Fr. Gilstrap asked two of the seminarians to tell their stories.
Sam Brown, a third-year seminarian, came to Nashville from Reno, NV, and became active in Fraternus. Through that program he decided to participate in the March for Life, and while marching through D.C. he heard God’s call. Returning to Nashville, he decided to enter the priesthood and has found the life inspiring and rewarding.
Luke Wilgenbusch is now in third theology, just two years away from ordination. He told the group that the overarching theme for his vocation is following the examples of those who went before him. “I never grew up thinking of the priesthood,” Luke said, “but my faith always enlivened my family’s home.” A graduate of St. Edward and Father Ryan, he saw in his siblings the examples of faith they presented through SEARCH and service. In high school he began to gather in a small group at school to talk about his faith, and he began to see the examples of the mentors as inspiring him, and Bishop Choby became a powerful example of the priestly life. “Finally, I gave God space in my life, and the seminary became a reality.”
It was a powerful message from an impressive group of men, and a beautiful reminder of Bishop Choby’s continuing presence among us.