My name is Nathaniel Boyd, and I am studying for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. I am the oldest of three children. We were all adopted from China, though we are not biologically related. My parents are both converts to the Catholic faith, but my siblings and I are cradle Catholics. I was primarily homeschooled before college.
Growing up, my mom says I would talk about the priesthood and ask questions about what a priest does. Through the ages of middle school, I became more interested in Catholicism and began learning about the beliefs of the Church. During this time, I grew to love my faith. As I entered high school, I began discussing with my parents what I was interested in and what God may be calling me to pursue when I graduated. My parents have never pushed me one way or the other in terms of discernment but have always supported me in whatever I feel God is calling me to do.
I discerned that I was interested and felt called to become either a doctor or a priest. My parents recommended that I take some further steps to discern these two paths. So, I began a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program to experience the types of courses I would take as a pre-med student. Additionally, I contacted Fr. Brian Buettner, the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and attended discernment events. I came to the Encounter with God’s Call weekend at Conception, and I envisioned myself coming to Conception for college. As time went on, I realized that my love for the priesthood had only intensified as I learned more about it and received the opportunity to spend time with seminarians and priests.
As my senior year arrived, I applied to the seminary but also continued the STEM program because I was learning beneficial habits for college. I progressed through the application that year, and I gained more peace with my decision with every step. The day I was accepted as a seminarian was one of the happiest days of my life.
Now in my second year at Conception Seminary College, I have found Conception to be a place I can truly call home. When I began my first year in 2020, we were in the midst of the pandemic. Spending most of my time on campus allowed me to become very familiar with the campus, the formation staff, and the other seminarians.
Being able to build on the foundation I made last year has been amazing. The relationships I formed last year have grown in depth and meaning—having the opportunity to engage more deeply with formation has allowed me to grow ever more into a man of Conception. In addition, visiting a local parish once a week for my apostolic assignment has been a fruitful experience. I continue to ask the Lord to show me His will and help me give my yes to whatever that may be.
– Nathaniel Boyd
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
How have you seen God’s hand at work in your journey?
It is when I take a moment to reflect on my time in seminary, I recognize how much strength and perseverance God has blessed me with. There are times I am exhausted and overwhelmed, but I am given the grace to trust in the Lord and diligently complete everything I need to do.
How have you grown through priestly formation?
I have grown in confidence and knowledge of God’s abundant love for me. The more I accept and come to know how much He loves me, the more I desire to love Him and follow Him ever more devoutly. I can do this by using my intellect to glorify Him through my studies, by desiring and seeking deeper intimacy with Him in my prayer life, and by sharing His love for me with others through my apostolic assignment.
What about your journey will help you to serve others as a future priest?
I think the openness to God’s will and allowing Him to work in me will help me to give myself in service of God’s people. I want to be a priest whose will is as perfectly conformed to God’s will as it can be.
What do you want to tell young men who feel that God is calling them to the seminary?
Do not be afraid! It can be scary to think of God asking you to be His voice in the world, but God puts plenty of resources before you to help you in the journey. Seek guidance from your parents, a priest you trust, and your vocation director. Give God your trust, and keep your heart open. God knows how you struggle and what you fear. He will not abandon you or lead you down the wrong path.