Friday, November 22, 2019 - Updated: 1:05 pm
The journey of discernment has started for six men who entered St. Paul Seminary in Crafton this year. The new seminarians come from various walks of life, but their main focus is on doing God’s will.
They all took part in a recent workshop to identify and apply their strengths in their early formation. The men also have undergone further psychological screening as part of the priestly formation program.
The seminarians will study at Franciscan University of Steubenville with an emphasis on theology and philosophy. Counting these six men, there are currently 29 seminarians for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Christopher Klobuchir, 19, of Holy Sepulcher Parish in Butler, is a recent high school graduate. He was born in Pittsburgh and lived in the city’s Carrick neighborhood before moving with his family to Butler County. Klobuchir previously worked as a cashier at Saxon Country Market in Saxonburg.
His hobbies and interests include camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, running and playing the violin.
Klobuchir credits his parents, grandparents and spending time with his parish youth group as his inspiration for entering the seminary.
“I entered the seminary because I knew this is where God was calling me to be,” he said.
Local priests, namely Father Chuck Baptiste, Father Charles Bober, Father Ken Marlovits and Father Al Semler, were pivotal in Klobuchir’s faith formation, he said. St. Anthony, St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Christopher are among Klobuchir’s favorite saints. He also looks up to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a young Italian social activist who was considered a “Man of the Beatitudes.”
“I hope that I will see and fully understand the plan that God has in store for me,” Klobuchir said. “I want to be able to love the way he loves.”
His parents are Rose and Donald Ferraro and Keith Klobuchir.
James Massengill, 18, of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Green Tree, recently graduated from Seton Home Study, which utilizes a Catholic curriculum to incorporate faith in all courses. He has been a loyal volunteer at his home parish and served as master of ceremonies at SS. Simon and Jude Parish in Scott Township.
His hobbies include playing football and tennis and spending time with his family.
Massengill credits the love and support of his family and the people of his parish for aiding his call to the seminary. By witnessing the impact of many holy priests, Massengill said, he has a special respect for their daily ministry.
“My family has seen firsthand the compassion, kindness and guidance of holy priests,” Massengill said. “I pray that I, too, can be a blessing to others someday. I felt a strong calling from God to uphold the faith, share the faith and celebrate the sacraments, most especially the Eucharist.”
St. John Vianney, St. Anthony of Padua and St. James are among his favorite saints, as well as the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.
“I hope to grow in faith by embracing the fortitude it takes to complete the educational journey, personal commitment and seeing Christ in all that I encounter,” Massengill said. “I hope to grow in holiness and perseverance so that I can bring Christ to all. As I take each day, I pray that I may have the heart of Jesus. I know many people are praying for me and for all the seminarians — this is a great source of strength for me.”
His parents are Annette and Dennis Massengill. His siblings are Gina, Marco and Maria.
Brian Myler, 34, of St. John the Baptist Parish in Plum, graduated from Penn State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. In 2013, he graduated with a master’s in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh. For the past 11 years, he was a civil engineer for PennDOT.
His hobbies and interests include all outdoor activities, namely hiking, camping, landscaping and tending to plants. He has traveled extensively and enjoys growing trees from seeds gathered from various places.
He was raised in Penn Hills and attended St. Susanna Parish before moving to Plum. He said his parents are great role models and he is thankful to them for raising him in the faith. Myler credits priests, like Father Raymond Utz, for his long-term presence in his life; Father Tom Galvin, for being the spark that deepened his prayer life; Father Kevin Poecking, for helping to foster this vocation; Benedictine Father Thomas Acklin for his spiritual guidance; and Father Ed Schleicher for his encouragement.
He is also grateful to the Passionist community for their support and Spirit-filled retreats.
“The Lord spoke to me a few years ago and placed it on my heart to give my life over to serving others,” Myler said. “He continued to call me into a deeper relationship with him and kept knocking down all the reasons I had not to become a priest. Over time, with a lot of prayer, those walls didn’t seem like such monumental obstacles. It got to the point where I wanted nothing but to give myself over to his will completely.”
St. John Paul II, St. Maximillan Kolbe, St. Padre Pio and St. Joseph are among his favorite saints, as well as the Virgin Mary.
“I just want to open my heart wide and continue to grow deeper in love with our Lord, and let him mold my heart so I can love like he loves and be willing to always lay down my life for others in humble service,” Myler said.
His parents are Jack and Bonnie Myler. His siblings are Richard, John, Marlene and Wendy.
Erik Pintar, 26, of St. Paul Cathedral Parish in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016 with a double major in electrical and computer engineering and human-computer interaction. For the past three years following his college graduation, Pintar has worked for Google. He has had programming and research internships in San Francisco and India.
His interests include playing the piano, filmmaking, running, biking and learning sign language.
He is originally from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and is a convert to Catholicism from non-denominational Christianity. He said his sister saw the priesthood in him even before deciding to become Catholic. She, too, is a convert.
“I always had a great interest in Scripture and serving the Lord, but it was only after discovering the richness of Catholic life throughout the ages, and the lived examples of so many in celibate spiritual fatherhood, that I began to consider the possibility of that life in priesthood,” Pintar said. “In prayer, the Lord showed me how the times I most came alive in my life were in faith- and community-building experiences. This stirred my heart with a great desire to give myself totally to the church.”
His favorite saints include St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Paul II and St. Faustina. He is grateful to the Pittsburgh Oratory in Oakland for providing opportunities for Eucharistic adoration, spiritual direction and community in his walk toward Catholicism.
“Through seminary, I hope for a faith that constantly rejoices in the unmerited, yet beautiful poem that God wants to write through my life,” Pintar said. “I will always be ready to let go of any fixated notions of details I may have about the future, but at the same time, clinging to the words received in prayer and the calling I have received as graciously confirmed and made possible by Christ through his church.”
His parents are Frank and Angela Pintar. His siblings are Alyssa and Ben.
Matthew Selzer, 22, of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Perrysville, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 with a major in communication and a minor in history. He previously worked as a custodian for North Hills School District, a cashier at Giant Eagle, a camp counselor at the Sarah Heinz House and Mount Nazareth Learning Center, and as an office assistant with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Bands.
Selzer played saxophone in the North Hills and Pitt marching bands. His hobbies include music, sports, exercise, reading and studying history.
The many young and dynamic priests who have served in his home parish, Selzer said, inspired him to take his relationship with God more seriously. Father Mike Zavage and Father Chris Mannerino were big influences, as well as his high school band director, Len Lavelle.
“As my prayer life grew, I began to entertain the possibility of a priestly vocation,” Selzer said. “After attempting to ‘do my own thing’ and ‘live my own life’ through college, I recognized continuing whispers about a priestly vocation as a life lived for others and for the church.”
His favorite saints are St. Augustine, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Vianney and St. Francis of Assisi.
“I want to be able to listen more carefully now,” Selzer said. “Often, the most effective prayer is simply being in the presence of our Lord and waiting for him to speak. I want to know his will for my life and his plan to incorporate me into his saving work.”
His parents are Stephen and Linda Selzer. He has one younger brother, Joshua.
Nicholas Wytiaz, 31, of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2012. For the past seven years, he has been a clinical staff pharmacist at West Penn Hospital. He was a leadership team member for Oakland Young Adult Ministry, committee chairman for Vagabond Missions, group facilitator for Discovering Christ and a catechist for a family-centered religious education program.
He is a member of the Catholic Medical Association and many other health care and service missions. His interests include going to Pirates games at PNC Park, seeing live theater at the Benedum Center, shopping in the Strip District and visiting local museums, restaurants and churches.In recent years, Wytiaz completed the Gallup Strengths Assessment, with coaching from Janet Roberto, who worked with his young adult team. Based on his individual strengths (deliberative, learner and connectedness), Wytiaz had many conversations that led him to discern the priesthood. He had always thought he was called to be a faithful, lay Catholic and health care professional.
“It felt as if I was trying to manufacture my own vocation,” Wytiaz said. “I immediately think of the parable of the rich young man who ‘went away sad because he had great wealth,’ and Christ’s words to his disciples, ‘whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’”
With the help of his spiritual director, Father Adam Verona, and other priests such as Father Roy Conley, Father Dale DeNinno and priests from the Pittsburgh Oratory, Wytiaz is taking this next step. He said his parents, who are parishioners of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills, showed him the beauty and importance of the faith and are 100 percent supportive of his endeavors.
St. Nicholas, St. John Vianney and St. Giovanni Leonardi are among his favorite saints.
“Through structured prayer, daily Mass, regular confession and spiritual direction, I hope to strengthen the spiritual pillar of formation,” Wytiaz said. “Through philosophy and theology courses, I will build up the intellectual pillar; by living in community and building relationships with my brother seminarians, I will develop the human pillar; and through apostolic works, service and parish visits, I will solidify the pastoral pillar.”
His parents are Phyllis and Nicholas Wytiaz. His siblings are Victoria and Rebecca.