What made you want to go into law enforcement?
When I was about 6 years old, I remember seeing police officers responding to an accident in front of our house. I saw them as superheroes. I was really big into Batman at the time and made the comparison, and it stuck in my mind. From then on, that was my goal.
Your course changed after you graduated from the police academy in 2012; how did that happen?
I went through a process of really discovering who I was and what I wanted. I started to see that I really am non-confrontational and that everything about law enforcement is confrontational. It made me start thinking twice about going into that field. It just became something that I knew God wasn’t moving me toward.
How did your faith change during that time?
It felt tragic, for sure. The year prior, I’d just graduated from the police academy; this is what I thought he wanted. I turned toward the Lord and the Holy Spirit. I said, “Lord my life feels like it’s crumbling before my eyes. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared. I’m lost.” I remember praying in adoration and bringing him that one thought, “I’m lost. I don’t know what to do.” I felt like he spoke to me and said, “No one is lost in the Lord.” It gave me hope and brought me to tears, and strengthened my spirit.
How did you move forward from there?
I ended up going back to school to become an EMT. I know that the Lord gave me strength through that because school was really difficult. We started with 30 students and, by the end of the class, we ended with only 13. The tests and the practicals were difficult. I got through it, though, and I got hired with Bell Ambulance in Milwaukee, and it was so gratifying. But it was also stressful and after a year working the streets non stop, I was burnt out so I changed courses again.
Was it hard to get into something and then feel like God wasn’t calling you there?
It was. I kept thinking, “What do you want from me?” I really started to develop my prayer life and focus on talking to God. I began to have the motivation to make it a daily habit, and the more I prayed, the more I wanted to pray. I really fell in love with the Lord and couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to talk to him all day and learn about prayers that were out there.
What did that development lead to?
I had the thought of becoming a religious friar. I felt a call in my heart to at least discern the religious life. I got in contact with the vocations director at Holy Hill – there’s an order of Discalced Carmelite friars at Holy Hill and I was able to stay with them for a week and live their lives. I also stayed with a Benedictian Order in Missouri for a week; it was a very peaceful and spiritual time but ultimately I discerned out of it.
It must have been so hard to ask God again, “What do you want me to do now?”
That question is the story of my life, but what I was learning is that God was there in the question. I had so much peace about saying no to all the things he wasn’t calling me to – more peace than I had when I was in those places. My anxiety melted away.
Where was he asking you to go?
I feel like he led me to two places. I’m a youth catechist at St. Mary’s Visitation in Elm Grove and I’ve been there for six years. When I got into it I didn’t feel equipped. For the first couple years, I didn’t know my own faith well and I didn’t know if I’d be able to lead the youth the way they should be led. It’s been great, though. It gets better every year as my faith grows. I realized that I have a duty to lead these kids – that is where God wants me to be. The world wants the youth and if we don’t get to them first then the world will. I knew that beyond looking at other places for other callings, he wanted me there.
What is your role with the Millennial Catholic Gentlemen, JPII group?
The group was started two years ago by two millennial guys, and I came on board a few months after. It started to grow and progress, and we had events that were getting bigger and bigger. They ended up needing audio and I said I’d help; so they invited me to be the production manager and handle all the production issues. I really enjoy this position. To me, there’s nothing more rewarding than to be able to use what he gave me to build up his kingdom. I feel a great deal of purpose. They’re like brothers.