Our graduating seminarian

Sophia Tranchitella, Staff Reporter

It has been 42 years since we last had a graduate from St. Edward become a priest. This was Fr. Paul White, who graduated in 1981. Now a graduate from the class of 2023, Joseph Johnson, will be heading to the seminary after St. Edward.


Joseph on his signing day.

Joseph will be attending St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, MN. When Joe was first called to becoming a priest, he was at Kairos and said it was almost like a slap in the face. He had wanted to be a teacher, and then suddenly there was this feeling on the inside he got that God was calling him to the seminary and priesthood. When asking Joe on his decision, he stated that he had many discernments at the end of his junior year. Discernments are religious realizations of what you should do with your life. It involves a lot of prayer and thinking about the decision you’re going to make. Joe will continue to make his decision through discernments holding true to his faith as he continues in seminary.

Thomas Davidson, ’17,  became a seminarian after St. Edward.  He became a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago though, while Joseph Johnson is the first seminarian through the Rockford Diocese. So many today think that vocations are in a crisis.  When asked his opinion of this, Director of Vocations Fr. Jack Reichardt disagreed. He said he understands and sympathizes with people who think there are not enough priests and nuns, but he said, “We should not forget how Jesus called 12 men.  Some of the men were not the brightest at times, but 12 men who ranged from fishermen to tax collectors.  And these 12 men, a scrappy and small bunch, despite all the bad times, spread Good News to every nation, even during the times of Roman rule and control.”  So, we should not focus on the number of seminarians, but on the faith of those who answer the call.

Some other personal facts about our seminarian Joe:  Joe has had a great experience the past 4 years with all his friends at St. Edward. His top favorite memories were when he got to drive the golf cart around to help set up for the Pep Rally, when he accidentally locked Stephanie DeWitt out of her running truck during a blizzard, when he started laughing so hard he cried because he got a negative number in Calculus, and reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, at the powder puff game.

Congratulations to Joe on his decision to enter seminary.  Please keep him in your prayers!