Seminarian Daniel Corso shared the story of his vocation to university students during Ryerson Catholics’ annual men’s retreat on Feb. 17. Photo by Michael Romen

It’s ‘sainthood or bust’ for young seminarian

By  Michael Romen, Youth Speak News
  • February 28, 2019

What if Catholic men are set apart from the rest of the men in the world?

This was the question Daniel Corso posed to a room of about 20 university students attending a men’s retreat at Ryerson Catholics Chaplaincy Centre on Feb. 17. 

Two years before his priestly ordination, the fourth-year seminarian from St. Augustine’s Seminary isn’t waiting to begin his vocation. He’s ready to step up his game, both as a man and a seminarian. And he’d like to see if other men would be ready to make the same leap.

“How amazing would it be if Catholic men were so markedly different from other men and we could point to that difference being Jesus Christ, and our faith,” he said. “Because our world is definitely looking for good men and coming up empty in a lot of ways.”

Corso, 26, said it’s the Church that calls him to step up as a man of God. His chosen vocation towards priesthood is not only one he looks forward to, but it is one that he intends to live out right now. 

As part of his internship year, Corso serves in his home diocese of St. Catharines, Ont., at St. Joseph’s Parish in Grimsby, under Fr. Rico Passero. His service throughout the diocese includes visiting Brock University, where he is an active leader of Catholic Christian Outreach’s Connect program. 

Seminarians enter their internship after receiving formation in philosophy and half of their theological formation through the seminary. Corso’s time is divided between shadowing priests on sick calls and last rites. His week is packed with meetings and Bible studies, as well as serving for daily Mass. 

Part of his parish service also includes learning the management and administration of the parish, including learning to “handle the books” in case he finds himself the sole administrator in the future.

He also makes time for Blessed Trinity High School, where he coaches the rowing team. 

The life of a seminarian is a busy one, Corso said, but it was one that he knew was chosen for him. 

“It was in finding out that God is real and His love for me is real that I made finding out His will for my life a priority,” he said. “So when I began to honestly pray about that and ask God to reveal myself and Himself and the gifts that He had given me, it began to be very clear to me that He was calling me to become a priest.”

Corso said there is a misconception that seminary formators set the bar too low for its seminarians, but the reality is quite the opposite. 

“You’ll see people say that ‘you can get away with that because you’re a seminarian’ but good luck breaking bad habits when you’re a priest,” he said. “There’s a saying ‘As a seminarian, so a priest.’ It’s the same thing for a married man. If he’s faithful to his girlfriend, he’ll be faithful to his wife one day.”

At the Ryerson Catholics’ men’s retreat, Corso compared the vocational life to Nala and Simba’s relationship in the 1994 Disney movie The Lion King. He reflected on how easy it is to be lazy and complacent in our society; how it’s harder than ever to be a saint because of the easy access to sin and in many ways, men aren’t required to grow up. 

“Sainthood or bust” was the motto of seminarians at St. Augustine’s Seminary, he said.

He referred to a scene in the film in which Nala confronts Simba to live out 1 Corinthians 13: 11: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.”

“The women who know you intimately,” he said, “who know who you’re capable of being — they have an ability to say ‘Listen, I need you to be a man right now and you’re just not stepping up to the plate.’ ”

(Romen, 24, is a third-year English and Classics student at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont.)


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Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.