Senior philosophy and letters major from Flower Mound, Texas
All around him, Jacob Hubbard’s fellow students are dressed in business-casual attire – the uniform of the seminarian. Hubbard is in sweats, having come to class at Holy Trinity Seminary from his apartment in Old Mill.
The philosophy and letters major is traditionally a major reserved for seminarians, but Hubbard will graduate with it despite having discerned out.
The priesthood was always on Hubbard’s mind, but he didn’t take the idea seriously until high school.
Discernment began with his mother, as she always told Hubbard throughout his childhood that he would make a good priest.
There were also multiple incidents which continued to push him toward the seminary and the priesthood, such as the call of the Lord he felt during retreats.
There was specific moment after a retreat during his junior year of high school while he prayed through Wisdom 16:24, which further convinced him to consider joining a seminary.
“For your creation, serving you, its maker, grows tense for punishment against the wicked, but is relaxed in benefit for those who trust in you,” the passage reads.
“The sense of being relaxed by trusting in God connected deeply with me, and in the aftermath of praying with this verse, I was overwhelmed with peace and heard the Lord clearly say to me, ‘you are going to be a priest,’” Hubbard said.
Hubbard applied and entered UD as a freshman, still unsure of seminary.
“Upon visiting Holy Trinity Seminary, I encountered that same peace I had during my prayer experience my junior year,” he said. “That was the confirmation I needed to enter.”
He entered HTS as a seminarian his sophomore year, ready to follow God’s will for his life. His major switched from Theology to Philosophy and Letters.
“The opportunities presented to seminarians are almost impossible to find elsewhere: the intellectual formation, the pastoral formation, and the human and spiritual formation,” he said.
As a seminarian, he worked with the Sisters of Charity distributing food to the poor in Dallas, helped out with an RCIA program at St. Michael’s in McKinney, and volunteered with chaplain services at UT Southwestern as part of his formation.
He attended morning prayer at 6:30 a.m., then daily mass before classes. Evening prayer occurred daily before dinner at 5:15 p.m. He met with a spiritual director weekly.
The formation extended into his friendships made in the seminary as well.
“The most significant thing about seminary is the community of brothers you can fall back on and trust to call you to holiness and to be a better man,” Hubbard said. “I made some friendships in seminary that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
“My time in seminary was extremely formative as I learned more about myself, God’s love for me, and the nature of my calling,” he said.
Hubbard didn’t stay in the seminary, however. After entering the seminary, he continued to discern God’s will for his life; although he feels he was meant to be in the seminary for the time he was, he felt called to leave the seminary this past semester.
“For me personally, I worked to dig out a lot of the blocks I had to God’s love, and, upon doing so, discovered that my truest desire was to be happy in a family. Yet, this seemed irreconcilable with the words I distinctly heard from God,” Hubbard said.
“Until one of my friends, Nick Shelton, reminded me that as Baptized Catholics, we are all called to be priests, prophets, and kings. I will still be a priest, just one sacrificing for my family instead of a congregation.”
He will graduate at the end of this semester as a philosophy and letters major.
“The transition has been smooth,” he said. “My friends and the faculty members of seminary have been extremely supportive of my discernment, and upon my explanation of it to them, they feel it makes sense.”
Upon graduation, Hubbard will look for jobs within the Church.
“I see no better place to give of my gifts,” Hubbard said. “I’m extremely grateful for my opportunities, for my formation at both Holy Trinity and UD and I’m ready to step out into the world and see what God has in store for me.”