Two prepare for June 3 ordination to priesthood
Family friendships with priests and encounters with other faith-filled people planted the seeds – and continued to strengthen – two vocations that will come to fruition June 3.
That’s when transitional Deacons Scott Schilmoeller and Nicholas Mishek will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop George J. Lucas at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.
"My father had a friend who was a priest who would come to the house, and my father was involved with the church and prayed with us at night and read us saint stories," said Deacon Schilmoeller, who grew up in St. Gerald Parish in Ralston.
"So from a young age, I sensed that the Lord had something for me – a plan, something that’s good, something exciting," he said. "It became a fascination with who God was and what he could do in my life."
Deacon Mishek first considered the priesthood when Father Walter Nolte, then a transitional deacon and now pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Omaha, came to his parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, in Omaha.
"This was the first time the priesthood became real to me," he said. "He was really down to earth and I could see the priesthood seemed like a normal thing that men do."
But growing up, Deacons Schilmoeller and Mishek postponed thoughts of the priesthood, until others helped rekindle the flame.
By high school, priorities had shifted for Deacon Schilmoeller, and the sense of fascination slipped away. But while attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), he became involved with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).
"They had a liveliness about their faith, and that sense of adventure and fascination with the faith came back," he said. "There was a childlike freshness to it, and it gave me the joy I’d been missing. I allowed myself to dive deeper into my relationship with Jesus."
Then, in church before Mass one evening, Deacon Schilmoeller felt a strong call from God. "As the priest was setting up the altar, I felt a deep sense of the Lord saying, ‘This priest has given up his entire life to me and I would like you to do the same.’"
For Deacon Mishek, his path to the priesthood involved a struggle with scruples and perfectionism.
But while attending UNO, he said, "One desire kept coming up – a desire to be close to God." He too became involved in FOCUS.
"FOCUS showed me that faith is a lived experience, and being approachable and meeting people where they’re at is important – you have to first be in relationship with them before you can bring them the Gospel.
"And during a retreat, a priest showed me I had been running away from God’s call," Deacon Mishek said. "So I decided, I’m not going to run away, I’m going to try to follow what the Lord wanted.
"During seminary, the Lord began to show me that my gifts, talents and deepest desires led toward the priesthood," Deacon Mishek said.
Deacons Schilmoeller and Mishek are good friends, having been together in seminary, at UNO, in FOCUS, as teachers in the Totus Tuus youth programs, and as members of Jesu Caritas, a priestly fraternity of support.
Both are excited about being priests participating in people’s lives, not only during sacramental moments such as baptisms, reconciliation and the Mass, but in day-to-day relationships with people.
"Priests have a unique privilege to be invited into people’s lives, to bring Christ and the hope and mercy of God into their lives," Deacon Mishek said.
Background: Home parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Omaha. Parents, Peter and Renilda Mishek, Omaha; sister and brother-in-law Chrysanthi and Shawn Stockwell, St. Paul, Minn.; brothers, Charles Mishek, Eagle Grove, Iowa, Henry Mishek, Omaha.
Education: Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha; University of Nebraska at Omaha; University of St. Thomas and St. John Vianney College Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis.
Activities/Ministries: Youth ministry in Omaha, St. Paul and St. Louis. Taught parish religious education in St. Paul and St. Louis, taught in a special needs school, delivered Communion to the homebound; student leader in Fellowship of Catholic University Students, including Bible study; delivered vocation talks throughout the archdiocese, hospital chaplaincy as part of participation in Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha.
Summer assignments: Totus Tuus; Institute for Priestly Formation; Spanish studies, Guatemala; St. Mary Parish, West Point; deacon, Sacred Heart Parish, Norfolk.
Reflections on ordination: "Over my years in seminary, I have realized what a complete gift the priesthood is. God has chosen me for this service, not for my talents or my strengths, but only because of his goodness. I thank God that I have been able to respond as I have to his grace and I pray to continue to respond to him as I enter into priesthood.
A priest has the chance to enter people’s lives and bring the love of Christ to people, and many times he receives the love of Christ from the people as well. I don’t know what my priesthood will hold, sometimes joy, sometimes sorrow, but what I do know is that it will be good, because he is good and he will be with me."
DEACON SCOTT SCHILMOELLER
Background: Home parish, St. Gerald, Ralston. Parents, Michael and Diane Schilmoeller, LaVista; brother and sister-in-law Chris and Mirna Schilmoeller, Orlando, Fla.; sisters Paige and Dana, both Omaha.
Education: Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School, Bellevue; University of Nebraska at Omaha; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of St. Thomas and St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis.
Activities/Ministries: Youth ministry, including Totus Tuus and Lifeteen; teaching middle school and high school; hospital, prison and Hispanic ministries; pastoral services.
Summer assignments: Totus Tuus; Divine Mercy Parish, Schuyler; Sacred Heart Parish, Norfolk; deacon, St. Patrick Parish, Fremont.
Reflections on ordination: "I have been asked a lot lately, ‘are you excited about your ordination?’ My answer is always a positive, ‘Yes! Of course!’ However, this is the shortest version of my response. My long response always revolves around one thing: family. I have had the opportunity to meet many young families, and have learned that young parents are a very interesting group to observe. Their lives have recently been re-oriented. They have been ‘given away.’ Each spouse is now needed as husband/wife and dad/mom. The relationship between these spouses determines the environment their children will be steeped in.
This is how the Lord has been inspiring me to think about ordination and my first year of priesthood. I am being ‘given away’ at ordination in a special way. That day I will be bound to God the Father, so as to be a father. God the Father sent his son Jesus into the world to show the world his love in the flesh. After ordination Jesus will be continuing to show this love through me to the parish family I am being given to. That is a lot to look forward to! Pray for me as I near ordination, and for my first parish family."