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Father Nikolai Brelinsky: Celebrating the Joy of My Ordination Day


Amidst his ordination celebration, Father Nikolai Brelinsky reflects on Seton’s homeschooling advantage as a foundation for his faith life and intellect.

I can hardly believe the day has come: the day when I receive the honorable title of “Father” as a priest of Jesus Christ. It seems like I was only recently attending the Seton graduation in Front Royal (class of 2015). My short blurb in the program said something to the effect of “Nikolai plans to study at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary this fall.” Nine years have gone by, and the completion of my studies has brought me to the joy of my ordination day.

My Seminary Experience

My experience in the seminary was generally very good. Between classes, sports, social activities, and the life of prayer, my time in formation was full and often fruitful. Still, making the transition from homeschooling to college seminary was challenging.

Waking up each morning for chapel and sitting in classrooms for several hours demanded wakeful attention. The schedule was not mine to decide and regulate. This structure helped me to mature in how I used my time.

The Homeschooling Advantage

An area where homeschooling with Seton gave me a great advantage was incorporating our Catholic faith into the course material. Having studied History, English, Science, etc., in light of the faith, it was not difficult to study Philosophy, Rhetoric, Psychology, etc., with a similar outlook.

These courses—along with the explicitly faith-centered subjects like Scripture and Theology—each helped form my faith life as well as my intellect.

A fantastic aspect of the seminary has been the diverse group of men studying together. In my experience at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania, I shared brotherhood with men from very different backgrounds.

While some of my classmates were likewise homeschooled, others grew up in the inner city, came from suburbia, or came to study from other countries. They hailed from Catholic schools, as well as private and public schools.

I came to appreciate that God does not call only one type of person or another. Rather, His grace is superabundant and mysterious. Men of all sorts find unity in the shared purpose of discernment and formation.

The work of discernment and priestly formation is not necessarily easy. The process can be long and often bumpy. The process of being formed into a virtuous man and disciple of Jesus Christ involves self-denial and sacrifice.

The work of prayer demands dedication and perseverance. Sometimes eight years turn into nine or ten – and even eight years can feel like forever!

Looking Back

Yet, looking back, I wonder where the time went. I mostly remember the goodness and the blessings I have experienced through the years. And I have trust and confidence in the priests who formed me and the Bishop who called me to the priesthood. In the end, all the difficulties have led to something joyful.

I have referred to the conclusion of my time in seminary as “the end,” but it is more truly a beginning. I am beginning my life as a priest of Jesus Christ, as a minister of the Church, and as a spiritual father. The details of what lies ahead I do not know.

What parishes I may serve, people I may meet, places I may go – I can only imagine! Yet, no matter the setting, I have already received my identity in my relationship with God. He has called me and given me the grace to answer. I know my vocation because I know Him who gives it to me.

May we all strive to incorporate our faith into every aspect of our lives and to know, love, and serve God with our whole hearts!

About Father Brelinsky

Reverend (Father) Nikolai Romero Brelinsky is a priest of the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the second of eight siblings, all born and raised in North Carolina.

Fr. Brelinsky learned to love reading and writing in the homeschooling environment provided by his parents. He continues to love writing and frequently looks for opportunities to publish reflections, poetry, or essays.

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