There is a part during the Rite of Ordination when the newly ordained man is helped into his priestly vestments for the first time by another priest who is a close friend or mentor. It’s a special moment of joy for both men, now brother priests.
On May 18, Deacon Nicholas Baumgardner will experience that joy with his vesting priest, who happens to be his older brother, Father John Baumgardner. Brother priests, indeed!
Father John and Deacon Nick grew up in Greendale, the fifth and sixth of seven children in a faithful Catholic home. They shared a tendency to be soft-spoken, but board games and sports brought out their competitive spirits!
Father John studied business and finance while playing football at the University of St. Thomas. Deacon Nick preferred science and math at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was during those college years that both men, unbeknownst to the other, heard the Lord calling them to discern the priesthood.
There are challenges for any man in answering the call. Both Baumgardners struggled with a sense of being unworthy. After six years of seminary, Deacon Nick now says, “You come to a point where you realize you are still not worthy, but no one is except Jesus Christ. So the question of worthiness becomes irrelevant, because God is still calling you. At the end of the day, you have to rely on the fact that God is calling you and say ‘Yes,’ despite reservations.”
It takes a lot of courage to offer that “Yes,” coupled with years of prayerful formation. Fortunately, we have 50 brave men who have come forward to offer their lives for Christ and his Church, and it is our mission to form them prayerfully.
Deacon Nick emphasized, “Not every seminary has prayer as its priority. At Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, the culture of pursuing holiness is very evident. It prepares you to be a priest who prays, and that is the most important thing a priest does.”
Please help us to continue forming holy priests! Your past generosity is bearing great fruit as we ordain seven priests this year. We are proud of the caliber of men who are answering the Lord’s call at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, and we are grateful that your support allows us to offer a premier formation program.
Your prayers and financial contributions make a tremendous difference. They ensure that the men we ordain will be prepared to lead the Church forward. Please give generously, knowing it’s an investment in the future of a holy Church.
Grace and Peace,
Father John Hemsing
Fr. John will welcome his brother, Dcn Nick, into the brotherhood of priests.
Fr. Michael Merkt vests Fr. John at his priestly ordination in 2017. In May, Fr. John will be the vesting priest for his brother, Dcn Nick.
There is a long history of brothers becoming priests, including most recently, Frs. John and Patrick Burns (above) and Frs. Vincent, Jacob and Luke Strand (below).