The Path Less Traveled

Lindsey Faust, Staff Writer

If you ask an average group of seniors what their plans are after graduation, chances are you’ll get slight variations of the same plan – a four-year university for a degree in engineering, psychology, nursing, or the like, and the necessary higher schooling afterwards. The majority will continue on to say that they expect to get married and have a family. This is where senior Jason Allan can no longer be classified as an “average senior”. This parishioner of Keller’s own St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church has chosen a path that very few young people even consider – he is on his way to becoming a priest.

Jason will be attending Holy Trinity Seminary on the campus of the University of Dallas in Irving. “I’ll enter seminary in August and I’ll earn my undergraduate in philosophy. Then I’ll earn a graduate degree in theology, and then there’s an extra year where I will intern at a parish, to learn what a priest does.” After a total of nine years of schooling, he will be able to be ordained a priest and receive his assignment to a parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth – the community of different churches located in the geographical Fort Worth area.

Of course there are differences in the education of a regular college student and that of a priest-to-be, but surprisingly enough, there are plenty of similarities between the two as well. “I will be earning a philosophy degree that any other philosophy student would be earning at UD. The only difference is that as a seminarian I have some additional stuff with the seminary that is kind of a priest formation.”

You may be thinking about how huge of a decision this is, and Jason was fully aware of that as well; to make sure he was making the right choice, he took plenty of time to think. “I started thinking about it almost a year from today at Youth 2000,” -a weekend-long retreat in which Catholic youth often find themselves considering religious life for the first time- “and then in December, I decided that I was going to apply for seminary.”

Most would assume that a young person about to give his life to his faith in such a complete way would be scared out of his mind, but Jason has come to near-complete peace with his future plans. He finds that this path is a better fit for him that any career option he previously considered. “I was a little bit nervous at the beginning when I was thinking about it, but I’m more comfortable about this than when I was applying for the military academies. I was more nervous about signing my life away to that than about joining the seminary.”

Adversity is sure to follow any life choice this colossal, and Jason’s case is certainly no exception. Religious life is something not widely accepted by today’s community and society, in which success is equated to a well-paying job, a big house, a lovingspouse and beautiful children. Jason has faced his fair share of expression of these opinions. “Some people don’t understand how I could give up having a family and making money to become a priest; those people tend to react more negatively. But my family and most of my friends were supportive of it.”

In short, if you ask Jason Allan about his post-graduation plans, be prepared – you won’t receive a cookie-cutter anecdote about college and career dreams; Jason’s future is anything but ordinary, and nothing if not remarkably holy.