Meet Nathanael Block, shown above, a seminarian from our new series of interviews with young men studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Gallup. Originally from Los Lunas, he is enrolled in seminary at Holy Apostles in Connecticut. He will be ordained as a transitional deacon at the end of November; “transitional” refers to the fact that the diaconate ordination is a step in the process of becoming a priest.
VoSW: How did you discover your vocation?
When I was about thirteen years old, my older sister entered the Dominican convent of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Seeing her enter, and how joyous and beautiful her vocation was made me begin to seriously discern a religious vocation myself. I remember asking her how one discerned, and she kind of laughed and said: “Well, you expect to be serving Jesus. ASK Him!” She suggested I spend time in front of the Eucharist, especially with the intention of discerning God’s Will for my life. After a few years, I knew that I wished to be a priest, and began to talk with vocation directors to continue the discernment process. I entered the seminary when I was 18, in 2004. God kept me in His Hands, and continues to guide me into closer conformity with His Heart.
VoSW: How did you end up becoming a seminarian for the Gallup Diocese?
In the Fall of 2011, I was trying to discern God’s Will for me. My older sister happened to know Bishop Wall, because as a Pastor in the Diocese of Phoenix, he had brought her religious order to his parish. She suggested that I contact him for advice. I didn’t think much would come out of it. Much to my surprise, however, Bishop Wall went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for, even taking off an evening to meet and speak with me. After hearing my vocation story, and sending me to meet with Father Keller, I was accepted into the Diocese. The rest, as they say, is history.
VoSW: What are you most looking forward to about being a priest?
NB: Celebrating Mass and hearing confessions. The ability to be Christ’s hands in helping people. Both my parents were converts and so I can see a wide variety in peoples’ backgrounds and how they come to the Church.
VoSW: What in particular do you like about the Gallup Diocese?
I would have to say the people in the Diocese of Gallup: especially the priests and our Bishop. The Bishop and the Diocese gave a chance to continue formation in the seminary when others were unwilling to consider the possibility. Every Diocese has its own culture, so I’m looking forward to seeing how people here connect with each other, especially if I’m going to be their pastor.
Thanks to Nathanael for taking the time to talk with us. If you’re interested in attending his ordination to the transitional diaconate, it will be held Saturday, November 30 at 11:00 am at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup, NM.