St. Thomas More Church

Vocation Story by Joe Ganser

Joe GanserAt some point in their life everyone, Catholic or not asks the question, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” For members of the church this takes on a very particular dimension as we must ask, “What does God want from my life?” And though we may never fully understand the will of God for our lives we can be sure of two things; God wants us to be happy and he wants us to be saints. It was this realization that helped me to change my plans and accept the invitation from God to become a seminarian for our diocese.

Born in Allentown (at the hospital of 17th and Chew Streets) in 1983 I grew up on my parents’ farm in Kutztown. Without a Catholic school to attend I became a member at St. Mary’s parish (where I am till this day) and I attended school in the Kutztown Public school system. Throughout my childhood it was my plan to become a doctor. I spent my school years studying sciences, biology and chemistry, while at church I served as an altar server and attended CCD.

I continued along this path well into my years of college. I attended Muhlenberg College (again on Chew St) and was enrolled in their pre-med program with a dual major in Biochemistry and Spanish as a second language. I was active on campus as a member of the Cross Country and Track teams as well as a Brother of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. I thought I had everything figured out. However, the deeper I went into my studies and the closer I came to graduation and application for medical school the more I began to question. I was doing well in school but I wasn’t happy. I knew I needed a change.

Active in the campus Catholic community I began to pray. Over almost a year I went back and worth weighing my options but with the help of the campus priest and with the support of my friends I determined that going to the seminary was something I needed to at least try. I applied during the fall of my senior year and after graduation in May of 2006 I was accepted at St. Charles and began my theological studies as a pre-theologian.

Seminary life is not always an easy journey. There are many things to learn and there are trials to overcome however, the blessings outweigh any negative aspects. The people I have had a chance to meet, the places I have been allowed to serve and the experiences I’ve had have convinced me that God is asking me to serve him as a priest. As I approach my (God-willing) ordination as a transitional deacon this spring I look forward to beginning the new stage of my life and formation in the Church.

© 2009 St. Thomas More Church • 1040 Flexer Ave., Allentown, PA 18103
610-433-7413 • Fax 610-433-2308