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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome to the mound, father Matius Finlind (ph). LING: Tonight we meet the men who answered the call to the caller to find out who in the face of church scandal would want to become a priest. LING: And what was it like to actually be assigned to a parish? My duty then is to help my people grow in holiness and to put their needs before my own. But in the town of Fowler, even a high school jock and lady's man can hear God's call. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LING: The Catholic Church struggled for decades to produce new priests. Have any of the young men here expressed an interest in becoming priests? I'd say there's about four of the guys here that have talked to me at some point about the (inaudible) priesthood, yeah. LING: 32-year-old Father Mathias grew up in Fowler surrounded by strong culture of faith but his pursuit of the priesthood came as a surprise even to himself. THELEN: I remember just giving everything on this field. LING: You're pretty (inaudible) in high school, I would imagine though. Leave the girl of your dreams to pursue something you don't even know you're called to. LING: A priest is meant to advice people in good times and bad. Bishop Boyea oversees more than 200 priests within the diocese. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that that's why, you know, there is our little group. We pray that our sons would never fail in their faith. LING: At the end of the day, these are your little boys. After that first semester, I didn't think I'd ever be excited. LING: While there is time to hang out with friends, prayer and study are the focus here. So essentially, your job is to really encourage seminarians. LING: Here even at the local baseball game, the presence of the collar is everywhere. But in the past decade more and more young men are heeding the call. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember thinking to myself, "Is this really what I want? G KOENIGSKNECHT: Whether I first arrived, I looked very young and they're like, you're Father Gary? That God is opening up that covenant that he showed us. These gifts we have brought you to for consecration. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if god is calling me to. But here in Central Michigan in, the diocese of Lansing, the number of young men entering seminary has doubled over the past decade. This is the kind of thing we like to do with our young people. LING: The church is encouraging these conversations with God and even the most unlikely candidates are heeding the call. He's not just calling the people that prayed in their room the whole lives, who don't have friends, who didn't have a lot of experience dating. MATHIAS: When I come back here, it's like back to memory lane. LING: Back then, Mathias was a typical high school jock. When he wasn't running plays on the football field, he was working on his fast pitch and trying to impress the ladies. I mean you work so hard giving yourself to working out and to being good that you don't think so much about those type of things. It's his job to make sure every one of his priests are doing God's work and not abusing their power. But this is the only community where celibacy is mandatory. A KOENIGSKNECHT: Whether Todd and Gary going to attend seminary, someone came over and said that is really sad, I thought they were going to make something of themselves. And they're really going to be carrying really, really heavy burdens and people will be coming to them in their darkest place and with their deepest concerns. LING: Lee stuck that semester out and in just a few days, he returns to seminary for seven more years. LING: Lee hit his first bump in the road to priesthood and there may be more ahead. Paul, Minnesota, Lee is just a few days into his second year of college seminary. And sometime over the next seven years, Lee hopes God will give him that final sign. Like when do you think God will say you to, OK, you are to become a priest? THELEN: Forming priests is the most important task that's one has in the church. It is a one-on-one intense conversation where the seminarian can be vulnerable with all that is going on in his heart. The Township Clerk’s Office handles all matters related to elections.
Dallas Township Supervisor (989) 640-3069 Township Board Where and when is the next Township meeting? on the Tuesday of each month, unless it falls on a holiday or board is unavailable.LING: As a result, people espousing strong faith have been on the decline. There is one restaurant, two bridal stores and a catholic shop. Dad was always saying that everything we have on this farm is a blessing from God. T KOENIGSKNECHT: At the end of the day I'm only a 26-year-old farm boy. Guiding parishioners through life and death, sin and salvation. LING: had you always thought that one day you would be married and have kids? He was dating Samantha when he received his first call from God. And he fell for another woman he thought was the one. LING: But just as Mathias was about to enter seminary, news of the sex abuse scandal in the church exploded in the media stunning the world. Either I allowed that evil to in a sense discourage me from doing good or I actually use that as a motivation to do all the more the will of God. And there's a lot of negative stuff that is said about priests. So you're in seminary but the seminary is on this college campus. LING: And so you're interacting with lots of different people including a lot of very attractive women. I do realize the sacrifice is something I have to make. LING: The bishop has pulled him from the parish and sent him back to school to help spiritually form the next generation of priests. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When first came here, I was actually somewhat scandalized that the seminary had a pub. " But this is actually a great place for people to relax. But I'm headed to this rural patch in Michigan where Catholicism is thriving and where priests are considered cool. I am called father just like a father is called to provide for his children. In our self absorbed world, it's hard to imagine anyone choosing such a selfless path. Playing sports and, you know, the girls and friends. LING: Yeah, because you had quite a few girlfriends... THELEN: I had everything I ever wanted in a girl, in a wife with my future children. The more I prayed, the more I kept getting this prompting, give everything to the Lord. THELEN: Right after the scandals broke in the church, I remember thinking to myself, "Is this really what I want? And so, I actually used the scandal as something which propelled me forward in proclaiming God to a world that is hurting. I'm meeting Bishop Earl Boyea of diocese of Lansing. Do you have concerns about that as your sons are embarking upon this journey? Over time I realize, like, there is where I'm meant to be. It seems like he's being groomed for leadership, placed in this role to mentor seminarians for their quest for the priesthood. LING: While all these men are wearing the collar, they are not yet priest. What's the most difficult aspect of being a seminarian? Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability.Monday of each month, unless it falls on a holiday or Council is unavailable.