"So you enjoy life, you love movies, you love bonfires, you love chips and salsa, you love watching Nacho Libre - you're not just this cloistered off, speaking in Latin, far-removed ethereal person," he said.
Fr. Rich Samide, a priest from St. Mary's who was ordained in 2018, told CNA it "helped immensely" in his discernment to know someone who had already gone to seminary.
"Seminary was not some unknown place with unknown men studying for priesthood. I knew that if I went to seminary, I would already know several of the seminarians," he said.
"They were real to me, and made the idea of going to seminary real. I knew them as men who had normal interests, and diverse personalities. I could see that I could flourish as a seminarian, and as a priest, through their example."
Each priest that CNA spoke with mentioned the example of happy and holy priests who were already at the parish - in particular, Fr. Damian Ference, who served as parochial vicar at St. Mary's parish for several years.
He encouraged vocations, he prayed for them and mentioned them in homilies and intentions, and he spent time investing in the young people at the parish, Samide said.
"He mentored so many of us who were considering the option of priesthood or religious life, and, especially for the young men considering the priesthood, he gave a lived example of how priesthood might look for us. I had never really gotten to know a priest personally before him, and that helped so much in my discernment," Samide said.
Schultz said he knew Ference when he was in high school and Ference was a "freshly ordained" priest, and that his enthusiasm for Christ and for life was attractive.
"This is a dude who had a rock band as a priest at the parish, he knew culture and movies and books, and he lived his vocation with such an intensity and a joy, that it was like well, if that's priesthood, that's not that bad!"
The importance of an active youth group
The second thing that each priest highlighted was the importance of the Life Teen program at the parish - a youth group that has engaged 5th graders through high schoolers at the parish for 25 years now.
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"I would be remiss...if I did not mention the pivotal role that Life Teen had in my faith formation and in my eventual discernment of a priestly vocation," Samide said.
"Life Teen provided me with a solid community of disciples that encouraged me to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus Christ, and, quite frankly, catapulted me into discipleship."
While he had always attended Mass on days when he was obligated to, Samide said Life Teen helped him make his faith his own, and introduced him to friends who encouraged him to seek God.
"From that place of discipleship, I began to discern the priesthood," he said.
Schultz also pointed to the active Life Teen program as a key to fostering vocations, and encouraged parishes to heavily invest in their young people.
"Have a disproportionate, unreasonable commitment to helping young people meet Jesus," Schultz said. "Like as a budget item, helping young people meet Jesus, encounter Jesus, and choose to live life with him as the greatest adventure is one of the most important things."