Preschool days spent thinking about priesthood

| May 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

6A Shovelain_webDeacon Paul Shovelain, 26

Home parish: St. Michael, St. Michael.

Hometown: St. Michael.

Parents: Jim and Marie Shovelain.

Family: sisters Theresa and Emily. Theresa is married to Brian Beaudry and they have six children: Jalyssa, Ethan, Maria, Leah, Evan and Gianna. Emily is married to Lukas Stevens. Brothers Brian and Dominic. Brian is a pilot in the Air Force. Dominic is applying to St. John Vianney Seminary.

Education: St. John Vianney College Seminary, University of St. Thomas, majored in philosophy and Catholic Studies.

Teaching parish: St. Patrick, Oak Grove.

Pastoral learning experiences: Most recently, I served as a chaplain intern at the V.A. in Minneapolis.

Last summer I served my diaconate placement at St. Charles Borromeo, St. Anthony. Before those, I had many pastoral learning experiences particularly in the area of the youth ministry.

Hobbies: Farming, landscape work, fishing, skiing.

Favorite book: “The Three Ages of the Interior Life : Prelude of Eternal Life” by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

Favorite movie: “For Greater Glory”

Person you admire most: I greatly admire my parents. They have always been very supportive of my siblings and me. I could go on and on about all the things that I admire about them, but I will only mention that they gave me the Catholic faith. For this I am incredibly grateful.

Favorite saint: St. Paul.

Thanksgiving Mass: 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 1, at St. Michael in St. Michael.

What were you doing before entering the seminary?

Before I entered St. John Vianney Seminary, I attended St. Michael-Albertville High School. I played football and ran track and field. I also worked on my brother-in-law’s dairy farm and worked for a landscape company.

When was the first time you thought about the priesthood?

I first started thinking about the priesthood when I was 4 or 5 years old. The first priest I ever wanted to be like was Father Denny Dempsey. I remember him giving me high fives on his way out of Mass on Sundays.

Who was instrumental in identifying and developing your vocation?

The priests that served in my parish were heroes to me. I looked up to them as role models and wanted to follow their example. Also, my family was always very positive and encouraging. The youth program in my parish was very strong. By being involved with it, I was given opportunities to share the faith and I really enjoyed speaking about Christ.

Was there an experience that was instrumental in identifying and developing your vocation?

When I was in seventh grade, I attended a retreat called Extreme Faith Camp. During the retreat, I discovered anew the personal love of Jesus Christ and God, my Father. I had been looking for my identity from my friends, sports and my grades, but they were not satisfying me. During the retreat, I experienced the love of God and grew to know God as my Father. It is in that relationship where I find my identity, as a beloved Son of God. From that retreat onward, I began to take my faith more seriously and became active in the youth ministry program in the parish.

This coming summer, I will be returning to Extreme Faith Camp and serving as its priest chaplain. I am very much looking forward to helping lead EFC this year; it has brought so many teens closer to Christ throughout our archdiocese. (I went on the retreat in 2001, which was the first year they held it. Now, in its 14th year, it has grown from the three original parishes to around 20, and this year, there will be four different EFCs.)

What excites you most about becoming a priest?

I am excited to help others encounter the love of God and be nourished by him. Christ is everything to me, and to participate in his priesthood and share his love with others is going to be such an honor. I really look forward to youth ministry and working with families as well as visiting the homebound and elderly. I gained so much from the youth program that I was a part of in middle school and high school and I want to give back.

What concrete ways have you answered the call to evangelize up to this point?

Last summer, while assigned to serve at St. Charles as a deacon, I participated in door-to-door evangelization. It was a great blessing. I met an elderly woman who was homebound. She had not been able to receive holy Communion in a very long time. I ended up bringing her holy Communion every week for the rest of the summer. Also, during my time at St. Charles, I helped form a middle school youth group. We met twice a week for games, and then I would give a teaching on the Sunday Scriptures, or I would give a teaching about a relevant Church topic. At my teaching parish, I have assisted in many different areas. The confirmation retreats the past few years have been a real blessing for me as I have seen Christ enter the lives of many teens.

What encouragement and/or advice do you have for young men who may be considering the priesthood?

Be open. Be real. Be prayerful. Be not afraid.

Archbishop John Nienstedt always says, “God will always outdo us in generosity.” So, whatever you give to him, be assured that he will give you more back.

Hearing an additional call to serveIn addition to studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Deacon Paul Shovelain is a co-sponsored seminarian for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. He said he first considered military chaplaincy in high school after reading the book “The Shadow of His Wings” about a German priest during World War II.

“During my time at St. John Vianney College Seminary we had several chaplains visit, and I felt the Lord tug on my heart through them,” he said. “I went on two retreats sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services and both helped to give me a better understanding of military chaplaincy.

“I asked Archbishop [John] Nienstedt for permission to do a co-sponsorship with the AMS during my senior year at SJV and he gave me permission,” said Deacon Shovelain, who will not enter the military until 2019 as part of the agreement.

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Category: Ordinations