Joe Wagner

School:

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein, IL 60060

School: Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein, IL 60060

Background

I grew up in Woodstock, GA with my parents and two sisters. We have a very tight-knit family that enjoy spending plenty of time together. Both of my sisters are married now making me a happy uncle with 5 nieces and 1 nephew!

What are your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy playing basically any sport with golf and basketball probably being at the top of the list. I also like to spend quite a bit of time hanging out with my family and friends.

What is one of your favorite scriptures?

Gal 2:20 “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”

Who is your favorite saint and why?

Saint John Paul II. He is just such a wonderful example of a humble, holy man and priest that encourages me each day in my journey toward holiness. Sometimes, I feel that you are drawn to some saints on your own, and then some saints seek you out or even chase you down! Someone once recommended a book about him that inspired me and I began to dive into his life.

In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?

In a nutshell, I went off to college not very rooted in my faith. Gradually, God began to draw near to me and I started getting more serious about my faith. I felt the call to the priesthood later in college but pushed it away for several years as I entered the workforce as a CPA at a public accounting firm. Once I realized the call wasn’t going away, I began to get more serious about my discernment and try to surrender more to God’s will each day. I went on a couple discernment retreats, visited the seminary and finally made the move to enter seminary. I was just ordained a Deacon in May of this year and am starting my final year of seminary at Mundelein seminary. There is honestly no place I would rather be or nothing else I would rather be doing that being formed to be a priest of Jesus Christ.

What is seminary life like for you?

Seminary life is very enjoyable. I really enjoy the fraternity with diocesan brothers and classmates. One thing that I really appreciate is the structured environment that allows me to develop my prayer life and grow interiorly in Christ. I found it hard to structure a prayer life when I was working full time before seminary.

What do you look forward to about being a priest?

I look forward to fulfilling the vocation that has God called me to and being a humble servant for His people. I look forward to diving in to the life of a parish and into the lives of parishioners as a spiritual father.

What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?

My obviously advice would be to talk to the vocation director about your discernment and give one of the discernment retreats a try. Spending plenty of time in adoration is also very helpful. Most importantly, I recommend consecrating yourself to the Blessed Mother and handing over your vocational discernment to her.