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Michigan native becomes 10th seminarian in discernment for Diocese of Boise

The following story appeared in the October 8 Idaho Catholic Register.

Christopher Din, a native of Michigan, is the newest seminarian for the Diocese of Boise. The Diocese now has 10 seminarians. Din is studying at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in suburban Detroit. Four other Diocese of Boise seminarians are at Bishop White Seminary in Spokane, three are at Mount Angel in Oregon and two are at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.

The Idaho Catholic Register recently conducted the following interview with Christopher Din.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Michigan. For elementary school, I went to the parish school. My home parish was the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Mich. For high school, my parents decided I needed to go to public school so, I went to the local high school in Berkley, Mich.

Did you go to college before seminary? If so, where and what was your major?

I went to Madonna University in Livonia, Mich., where I majored in Religious Studies.

Tell us about your faith background.

I was born and raised in a Catholic family. My family always practiced the faith and always emphasized respect for God and sacred things. We went to church every Sunday, on Holy Days and other feasts. Because my family is of Filipino heritage, I was taught by my them in the ways our culture expressed devotion to God and the Blessed Mother. My grandmother often visited us, and it was from her that I learned a great deal about the faith and devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially the rosary and devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. My family would make pilgrimages to various shrines in the area, since at that time, we had a friend who would lead bus pilgrimages to different shrines in various parts of the United States and Canada. I never fell away from the faith, having practiced Catholicism all my life.

What led you to decide to discern priesthood?

For many years, I have wanted to become a priest. I was inspired by the lives of

the saints, and I was strongly drawn to the Holy Mass. In my childhood and teenage

years, I would occasionally throw around the thought of marriage, but I was always

attracted to the priesthood. When I was about to graduate from college, I was discerning

choosing diocesan priesthood or religious life. One priest I was talking to at the time suggested I should consider religious life because in that way of life, I would be able to do more of the things that priests do.

After college, I tried to apply to one community, but my application was turned down. After that, I decided to take my time with this, to get a job and put this matter on hold. Through some friends, I managed to get a job as an administrative assistant for the Marriage Tribunal in the Archdiocese of Detroit where I worked for a little more than two years. The Judicial Vicar at the time had suggested I get a Canon Law degree and be one of his full-time judges, but I still wanted to join the priesthood. At that time, I was thinking strongly about another religious community, but I was not sure. I decided to take all this to prayer.

I decided to offer a novena to the Blessed Mother, seeking her help. My parents took me to a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Ill., and it was there on the feast of Our Lady of the Snows (August 5) that I unexpectedly met the vocations director for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He suggested at the time that I should consider their religious community. I must admit that the idea did not immediately appeal to me, but I thought the Blessed Mother must want this, so I went ahead with it.

For two years, I was in formation in Buffalo, NY. Those years had many happy times as well as trials. It was, for me, the first time living away from home and the communal life was challenging. Nevertheless, I went through my initial formation, studying philosophy, learning about the Oblate charism and eventually, completing my Bachelor of Arts in philosophy.

As is the case with religious life, I had to go through a novitiate year. I went to Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, Ill., where I further discerned religious life. As time went on, religious life was not suited for me. The Novice Master suggested I should consider the diocesan priesthood because he believed I had a more diocesan inclination. So, in February of 2020, just before everything locked down due to the pandemic, I left the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. I had mixed feelings about that, but I was at peace. I later found out from others both in my community and from friends that they, too, felt I was more suited for the diocesan priesthood.

Are there any particular events that were moments of a great spiritual awakening?

I often hear about guys who had such conversions and later heard the Lord calling them to something bigger. I have never had one of those dramatic instances of conversion. However, I have had my moments of grace, moments of sensing God’s presence and recognizing His work in my life. I’ve had instances in prayer where I’ve felt God healing areas of my life that needed healing. I’ve had special experiences with Our Blessed Mother, times when I have felt her maternal presence. I have experienced in different ways too, the power of her intercession. Those experiences were like little instances where the Lord and the Blessed Mother were giving me encouragement on my journey and comfort in times when I needed it.

Why did you decide to attend Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary?

First, I must say that I have known about Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary for a long time. The campus not only has the seminary and the high school, but is home to the Diocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II. I was present at the solemn dedication of the shrine in 2016 as an altar server, asked to serve with other altar servers from my home parish because all the seminarians were away for the summer. Also, I knew a few of the priests from that seminary who would come to offer Mass at my home parish. In general, SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary was established for Polish seminarians who wish to serve in the United States. However, in recent years, the seminary has had non-Polish seminarians studying there as well.

When I left the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, I immediately sought out my pastor for help in discerning the next step. At the time, part of me wanted to put everything off but then another part of me wanted to keep moving. After some prayer and conversation, my parish priest, who was a professor at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, suggested I apply there so I could pick up my studies where I left off and also have the option of discerning a diocese that I could serve. (Unlike many seminaries, Ss. Cyril and Methodius is not tied to a particularly diocese or region, giving seminarians more options of places to serve.)

What led you to choose the Diocese of Boise?

In my first year at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, we received some visits from Father Caleb Vogel (now Vicar General for the Diocese of Boise) and one visit from Father Nathan Dail, the vocations director. During those visits, we would hear about the Diocese of Boise and the need for priests. When Father Dail came to visit, I had a short conversation with him and, after that, I put Boise as one of my choices of a diocese. I had a few other dioceses in mind at the time.

I took some time to read a little about Boise, looked at the Facebook pages for the Diocese of Boise and tried to get an idea about the place. I also kept in mind some things that I heard about Boise from our seminarians, three of whom were ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Boise last June.

Last August, I had the opportunity to visit Boise. My experience during that time was very positive. I visited parishes and met with a few priests, deacons, and laity. I met a few of the seminarians who talked to me about the diocese and showed me around. Whenever I met the laity, I was encouraged by them to join the diocese. On a spiritual side note, I should point out how, providentially, my visit fell on the week of the feast of Our Lady of the Snows so I asked her intercession again while visiting the diocese. After much thought, prayer, and consultation with my spiritual director, I decided to choose the Diocese of Boise. I am happy to be joining this diocese, and I hope to be of service to the people of God in Idaho.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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