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Two will be ordained to priesthood on June 8

The following story appeared in the May 26 Idaho Catholic Register.


Deacons Timothy Segert, left, and Nelson Cintra, pictured here last year after their ordination to the diaconate. After they are ordained to the priesthood, Segert will serve at the Cathedral parish in Boise while Cintra will be at St. John Paul II Parish in Idaho Falls. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)




Deacon Timothy Segert
Deacon Timothy Segert

Deacons Nelson Cintra and Timothy Segert will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Peter Christensen on Thursday, June 8, at 11 a.m., at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise.


The public is also invited to attend a Vespers service, officiated by Bishop Peter, on Wednesday, June 7, at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral.


Deacon Segert was born in The Dalles, Oregon in 1989, but moved to Boise in 1995 when he was 5 and grew up in Boise.


Faith has always been an important part of Segert’s life, although he has been Catholic for only 10 years. He was raised in a devout Protestant home in Boise. He attended Boise State University where he was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and various evangelical churches, including Calvary Chapel. It was also at Boise State that he first encountered committed Catholics at the St. Paul Catholic Student Center.


He took RCIA from Father Hugh Feiss, OSB, then the campus chaplain, and the late Deacon Chuck Skoro. “They were a huge influence, but even more so was the community fostered at the Catholic student center,” Segert said. In 2012, during his senior year, Segert was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil.


After graduation from BSU, Segert entered graduate school at Western Carolina University, pursuing a degree in higher educational administration. He was involved in the Catholic student group there and, after earning his master’s degree, accepted a job at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as the administrator of three residence halls.


Segert enrolled at Mount Angel Seminary in 2017 and served his pastoral year with St. Mark’s Parish in Boise. His first assignment will be as parochial vicar at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.



Deacon Nelson Cintra
Deacon Nelson Cintra

Deacon Cintra was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1986. He moved to Ohio in 1999 and graduated from Ohio State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology.


Three years later, he accepted a job at a small, private boarding high school for at-risk youth outside Arco, Idaho, called Wisdom Ranch School.


“It was in Idaho that God and the Catholic faith became the center of my life,” Cintra told the Idaho Catholic Register in a 2022 interview. In 2016, Cintra completed the pre-theology program at Mundelein Seminary with an MA in Philosophy and Religion. He then began theology studies at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon.


After his pastoral year at St. Paul’s Parish in Nampa, he took two years for extra discernment and formation. In 2021, he resumed his theology studies at Mount Angel.


Faith was not always an important part of his life. It was the influence of a brother, whom he wrongly assumed to be non-believing, and his sister who helped lead him back to his faith.


Deacon Cintra’s first assignment will take him back to eastern Idaho, where he first became acquainted with the state. He will serve as parochial vicar at St. John Paul II Parish in Idaho Falls.



Deacon Nelson Cintra, far left on back row, and Deacon Timothy Segert, far right on front row, celebrate their graduation with Abbott Jeremy Dirscoll, OSB, middle front row, and other seminarians at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary in Oregon. Deacons Cintra and Segert will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Peter Christensen on Thursday, June 8, at 11 a.m., at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise. (Courtesy photo/Idaho Vocations Facebook page)


Deacon Nelson Cintra at his graduation from Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon is with the Jake and Lindsay Dyson family of St. Edward’s Parish in Twin Falls. (Courtesy photo/Deacon Nelson Cintra)


Deacon Cintra: We are not left alone to discerning God’s will


By Deacon Nelson Cintra

for the Idaho Catholic Register


The day before my diaconate ordination last year, Bishop Peter Christensen asked me what I was looking forward to the most in being ordained. Immediately I responded: “To be done discerning.”


That ordination brought to an end a long, winding, joyful, painful and blessed pilgrimage of asking the Lord what it was that He wanted me to do with my life and trying to “discern” His answer.


During my adolescence and young adulthood, the options I considered were marriage and career. During my mid-20s, those options shifted to whether or not to become a priest and, if so, where. I was ordained a transitional deacon at age 36, so that was basically a 20-year journey!


Why did it take me so long? Why did I repeatedly come close to saying “yes” to someone and some path only subsequently to turn away — or, I might say, run away?


I don’t know the entire answer, but an event on a retreat last year at the John Paul II Healing Center in Florida gave me a glimpse.


I had been experiencing a lot of sadness, anxiety, and distance from the Lord. I was telling my spiritual director about it, and he was listening attentively. At one point I closed my eyes in angst. He said firmly and compassionately, “Nelson, stay here with me. Open your eyes. I am with you.”


At that moment, many of those previous major decision points flashed before my eyes. Upon further reflection, it became clear that one major reason as to why I had been previously unable to make a decision was because I had believed the Enemy’s fundamental lie that I was alone in life: completely alienated from others and from God. Instead of receiving love from God and from others as a free and unmerited gift, I had precisely the opposite orientation: I had to earn the love of God and of others in order to no longer be alone.


One major way by which I was supposed to earn this love was by making the “right” decision about a state of life. Should I make an error in my vocational discernment, God would be disappointed in me because I wouldn’t fulfill His plan for my life, and I would forever perdure in my loneliness and alienation -- or so I mistakenly believed.


It turns out that I’m not the only one that has suffered from this type of paralysis. In her article, “Why Aren’t Young Catholics Marrying,” in Catholic World Report, Rachel Hoover identified “dysfunctional discernment” as one of the main reasons young Catholics were delaying or not choosing marriage. She writes, “Devout young adults — even not-so-young adults, in their late 20s and 30s — often get stuck in discernment, unable to commit either to marriage, priesthood, or religious life for fear they might actually be called to a different vocation.”


With this perspective, the discerner embarks on a journey to discover God’s predetermined vocation for him or her by seeking clues in internal and external signs. One day, he or she finds a clue to go down one path, but what if they’ve misinterpreted it or what if the next clue is right around the corner — and that will be the one that actually reveals God’s will?


Thankfully, the Lord has been gradually and consistently melting away these sources of fear and insecurity within me by revealing himself to be a Father who is ever present and ever dispensing upon me His infinite and unmerited love and mercy.


Some days I hear it, feel it, and act according to it; some days I don’t. But every passing moment, His message to me is the same: “You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)


 

I don’t need to make the right decisions in order to be loved and not be alone; I’m already loved, accompanied, and sustained in and through all of the decisions I’m invited to make.

-- Deacon Nelson Cintra

 

Undoubtedly, I often make the wrong decisions even after doing the proper diligence and consultation. When I do, I repent and lean more deeply and confidently in God’s mercy, trusting that His ultimate will for me — my sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3) — is being brought about not merely in spite of my weaknesses, but precisely in and through them. (2 Cor. 12:9) O Happy Fault!


I’ve also discovered that many of the elements of such “dysfunctional discernment” are explicitly taught in some of today’s popular discernment literature.


In order to better understand the issue (both for myself and to help parishioners in future assignments) I wrote my masters’ thesis this past year on this topic. I titled it (take a deep breath): “Vocational Listening” and Choosing a State in Life: Two Different Methods for Understanding and Applying the “Second Mode of Election” (SpEx 176) in Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises — The Former Based on Sensible Consolations and Desolations, the Latter Based on Objective Norms for One’s Unity with Christ and Perfection of Christian Charity.” It was a fruitful way of reflecting on my own journey, learning more about the theology of discernment, and further developing my writing skills. Who knew I could write a 90-page paper!


As I prepare for priestly ministry, I am edified that my first assignment will be at St. John Paul II Parish in Idaho Falls. Not only are Idaho Falls and so many of its parishioners dear to my heart as I lived in the area for nearly four years before entering seminary, but St. John Paul II himself has had a major role in my life and formation.


I attended Mass “with” him in Rio de Janeiro in 1997 (he was a white speck on the opposite side of a large stadium), and have been nourished by many of his books, encyclicals and addresses. His famous words at the closing Mass of World Youth Day in Toronto sum up the message he has communicated to me: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.”


My own prayer (and that which I humbly request of you for me) is that, through all of the upcoming joys, trials, laughter, tears, celebrations, and moments of intense pain and sorrow, I will, by His grace, remain grounded in the Father’s words: “Nelson, stay here with me. Open your eyes. I am with you.”



Deacon Timothy Segert and Deacon Nelson Cintra kneel during their ordination to the transitional diaconate in 2022. (ICR file photo)


Deacon Segert: ‘I have much for which to be thankful’


By Deacon Timothy Segert

for the Idaho Catholic Register


Recently, Deacon Gene Fadness contacted me with the hope of hearing some of my experiences this last year as a transitional deacon who is in preparation for the priesthood for our diocese. Here are a few thoughts of mine as I head toward my presbyteral ordination this upcoming June 8th.


What has surprised you?

It probably should not have come as a surprise, but I have been consistently amazed at how well people listen to my homilies. I do not mean that in an insulting way, either; I think it is more of a reflection on my own lack of ability to remember or engage other priests’ and deacons’ homilies well. I will never forget when someone came up to me after Mass and gave an accurate outline of all the points I had hit from memory. I was flabber-gasted. Events like this reinforce the idea that I already had that it is really worth putting in the prayer, time, effort to have good homilies.


I also saw that I had to make sure I was preaching what the Holy Spirit wanted, and not from my own opinions. The people of God deserve that – it is one of the ways God chooses to communicate with us. I feel honored to be part of that process, and look forward to continuing it.


What has challenged you?

For me, one of the places where I am growing the most (and thus challenging myself the most) has been in trying to learn the Spanish language and the cultures of Mexico and Latin America. Numerous Spanish-speaking parishioners in various places have been instrumental in helping me with this. That being said, I have a new appreciation for anyone who has had to learn a new language or culture.


I sometimes feel frustrated that I am not able to offer the quality homilies, pastoral guidance, or teaching that a person would hope for because of my own language limitations. My great consolation is that God can work through even my weaknesses, and that I have improved significantly even though I do not consciously sense it most of the time. My request to anyone who might read this (especially those who are bilingual) is that they would be willing to help me with this if they have the time and energy.


 

What has happened to make you more certain of your call?


I am blessed to say that I felt the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit at multiple times during my diaconate ordination. This was true at the Gloria in a profound way, but also during the laying on of hands itself. As soon as Bishop Peter put his hands on my head, I knew something was different. Those were two of the most obvious signals that I was heading in the right direction.

-- Deacon Timothy Segert

 

On a more natural level, I have been encouraged by so many people on my path to the priesthood, both here at the seminary in Oregon and from pen pals in Idaho. People have been supportive as I have acquired skills in various areas over this last year, especially in helping at liturgies, preaching, teaching, and giving pastoral guidance.

I have also grown in confidence in all of these areas, and hope to continue doing so as I take on more responsibilities as a priest. Finally, my prayer life has changed in a notable way ever since I became a deacon, both within liturgy and in personal prayer. I feel extraordinarily blessed to be where I am right now.



Deacon Timothy Segert prepares to practice infant baptism with a seminary instructor. (Courtesy photo/IDeacon Timothy Segert)


What do you look forward to most?

Of course, one of the most obvious things would be the saying the Mass. I really hope to make it as beautiful as I can, and I greatly look forward to participating in the Last Supper in a more intimate way than I ever have before. I would imagine this will extend into my personal prayer as well – who can even guess how that will change once I become a priest?


Two other sacraments I have looked forward to doing for a long time are Penance and Anointing of the Sick. I have always felt a deep hunger to reconcile people who have been away from the Church for a long time, especially in hospital settings.


As far as my first assignment goes, I feel like I hit the jackpot. The Cathedral is a great parish, and it has been on an upward trajectory for a long time. I was able to spend a summer there about 5 years ago, where I was able to meet a lot of the staff and parishioners. I have felt nothing but welcome from the people of that parish so far. I also relish that it has a school and preschool and that it is near a hospital.


Last but not least, it is one of the most beautiful church buildings in the Diocese and consistently worships with great music and liturgy. I have a lot to be thankful for in all of this.


 

CARA study: A third of priests first considered priesthood while still in elementary school


WASHINGTON, D.C. - On April 30, the Catholic Church celebrated the 60th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Celebrated on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is often referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”


Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, Mich., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations stated, “Surveys of recently professed men and women religious and men ordained to the priesthood show that families and encouragement from the parish priests alongside Catholic schools provide optimal environments for a vocational call to grow. … We pray that all families, teachers, and priests will continue their essential work of instilling the faith and love of Jesus in our children.”


In conjunction with the World Day of Prayer, the Bishops’ committee released the “Ordination Class of 2023 Study” conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.


Out of the 458 men scheduled to be ordained this year, 334 completed the survey for an overall response rate of 73 percent. These ordinands represent 116

U.S. dioceses and eparchies and 24 distinct religious institutes.


A few of the major findings of the report are:


Most of the ordinands received formation at a seminary in the South and the Midwest (31 percent for both) followed by the Northeast (17 percent), West (13 percent), and abroad (7 percent).


Responding ordinands indicate they first considered priesthood during elementary school (32 percent), followed by high school (26 percent). Those entering Religious Orders are more likely than diocesan ordinands to first consider a vocation in college (23 percent) and graduate school (20 percent).


Hispanics/Latinos constituted 16 percent of the responding ordinands.


Ordinands who attended Catholic elementary school constituted 43 percent of all respondents, and 34 percent attended a Catholic high school.


Most respondents (93 percent) were baptized Catholic as an infant and raised primarily by their biological parents (96 percent) and a married couple living together (92 percent).


Over half of respondents (63 percent) cited their parish priest as an encouraging influence on their vocation.



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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