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Profession of Temporary Vows August 14th at 4:30pm

On August 14th at 4:30pm at St. John Cantius Church we celebrated the ceremony of first vows for those completing novitiate as well as the renewal of vows for Br. Mateusz Szymanski, SJC. Please keep these men in your special prayers as they continue to discern their calling.

Meet our Newest Members

Br. Nathaniel Pierce grew up on the Northwest side of Chicago in the Wildwood neighborhood where he attended St. Mary of the Woods Grade School and Notre Dame High School for Boys in Niles. He received a B.A. in English from Grinnell College where he also played baseball. After college, he worked as a financial advisor for ten years before discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life. He enjoys reading, cooking, and Chicago sports teams.

What has inspired you to follow this path?

“When I was in my late 20s I began to seriously pursue my spiritual life, eventually discovering St. John Cantius and the Canons Regular. Over the course of three years as a parishioner here, God blessed me with many graces that helped me discern my vocation, which, amongst other ways, manifested by witnessing the Canons living the Religious Life, experiencing their charism, and through the faith I saw in our parishioners. Ultimately, I wanted to devote myself under vows fully to the service of God and His Church by spreading the charism of “Restoration of the Sacred” that has helped me and so many others grow in holiness.”

Br. Marko Culjak grew up in Skokie, IL. where he attended Northridge Preparatory high school. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After college he worked as an accountant at Ernst and Young before discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life. He enjoys playing sports, reading, and watching movies.

What has inspired you to follow this path?

“After experiencing God’s love, mercy, and peace very strongly in the summer before my freshman year of high school, I had a deep desire to have a personal relationship with Jesus through daily prayer and daily mass, which I have been blessed to be able to do since then. My pilgrimage of faith continued to grow in college at the Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where I met many other Catholics on fire for the faith, and where my faith really became my own. During my senior year I felt the desire to thoroughly discern the possibility of being called by God to love and serve Him and others through the vocation of spiritual fatherhood. It has become my desire to pursue this path of giving myself totally to Christ and His Church in the context of our communal and liturgical life here and through the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, all while striving to restore the sacred in my own life and in the lives of others.”

Br. Joshua Smerker grew up in Helena, Montana and attended Jefferson High School in Boulder, Montana and then entered the Canons right after high school. He worked in a nursing home before discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life. He enjoys fishing, antiquing, and skiing.

What has inspired you to follow this path?

“When I was a freshman in highschool I entered the Catholic Church and fell in love with the rich beauty and history of the Church. I started to feel Jesus calling me to walk in a more intimate way with him. My spiritual director back in Montana told me about the Canons Regular whose charism is “Restoration of the Sacred”. I visited and saw the incredible witness that these men had in the Church. Ever since I witnessed the Community, I wanted to be a part of God’s mission in “Restoring the Sacred”.

Br. Kevin Doerge grew up near Pittsburgh and attended Hampton High School. He received a degree in Statistics from the University of South Carolina. He worked as an actuary for nine years in Chattanooga before discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life. He enjoys studying, baseball, and making Simpsons references.

What has inspired you to follow this path?

"I had a reversion to the Catholic faith in my twenties after years away from the Church. I immersed myself in studying the faith and became involved in my parish in Tennessee. As I learned to trust the Father and listen in prayer, I was filled with a strong desire for the priesthood. My pastor and spiritual director told me about St. John Cantius, and Our Lady cleared the path for me to follow her Son here."

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