Tyler and Brittany here, your friends from Church of the Cross. We want to thank you for joining us in a process of discernment, a vision of fruitfulness, a lived prayer. From the Seminarian Fund to long prayer gatherings, from countless warm conversations to hot seat interviews, we would not be doing the Kingdom work we’re doing today were it not for you.
If you would have told me (Tyler) three years ago that today I would be a youth pastor, I would have nervously chuckled and looked for the nearest exit. If you would have told me that I would also be a Catholic, I would have stiffened, as if by corset, and then fainted Victorian-style.
I was a hipster and an Anglican living in Uptown, Minneapolis. Brittany and I felt called to plant an Anglican church in Minneapolis, to help form a liturgical community of praise and grace in the heart of the city, rooted in Word and Sacrament. Brittany wanted to teach High School math, and I wanted to be an Anglo-Catholic slum priest. Together, we were going to do urban ministry.
Yet now we live in the boonies of Wisconsin. Brittany’s arms are full of our newborn son, Timothy, and I have a cinderblock office in a sprawling wing of a large Catholic parish. It’s still hard to say it without doing a double-take, but we’re a Catholic family in the suburbs.
I pause for a moment in my office swivel chair—a youth pastor, a Catholic.
How did this happen?
The journey has been a long and winding one, full of many late night watches and tears, exciting epiphanies, falling in love, and a holy renaissance in our marriage. The discernment of the last year, especially, has been unexpected; yet as we look back, we have been on the “road to Rome” a very long time.
Surrendering my passion to be a priest was the hardest thing I have ever done. At first it was painful, but realizing that I am not called to the priesthood and that we are not called to plant a church in Minneapolis—as worthy as this ministry is—has brought a deep peace, even in midst of so many unknowns. For us, it’s not a question of “Rome vs. Anglicanism,” or “the grass is greener on the other side” but of love and obedience. The road has been a stepping out “not knowing whither,” especially since we had a baby due May 15th and the job search in Minneapolis had not opened any doors.
But God has graciously and unexpectedly opened a door, and I am now the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Jerome Parish. God wed my passion for ministry with my long desire to be a High School theology teacher. St. Jerome’s is a beautiful community with over 300 teenagers, and I am so passionate about this important ministry! In addition to catechesis, I’ll be teaching Theology of the Body classes and Lifelong Faith Formation classes. Please pray that I would be able to shepherd these teens into a deeper devotion to our Lord and his Church, a Kingdom love that would last a lifetime! I am eager to plant a holy ambition in these kids for the Gospel!
I graduated from Nashotah House Theological Seminary on May 22. Timothy was born right on his due date, May 15th, hearty and hale. We’ve just finished unpacking the last of our boxes. I began work a few weeks ago, and already I’m up to my neck in the hard work of pastoral ministry. Brittany and I know, deep in our bones, that we were called to be a catholic family. To the glory of God. For the good of his holy Church.
So we have given ourselves totally over to ministry and love, “to make love our aim” (1 Cor. 14:1). St. Jerome’s is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints, a place where the Gospel is proclaimed with boldness. We pray that our mission here will be like “trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in season, and their leaves do not wither” (Ps. 1:3). And Church of the Cross’s Seminarian Fund helped make all of this possible.
The discernment process is just that—a process of discernment. If, after long years and much labor, it is discerned that an aspirant or postulant is not indeed called to holy orders it is not a failure, but a success. And the Seminarian Fund is a vital part of the discernment process. It helps those discerning a call to stretch themselves, to reach outside their comfort zones, to trust God, to not travel alone. Brittany and I are so thankful to have not travelled toward this vital ministry alone.
We thank God for you. Thank you for investing your energy, your prayers and your resources in our preparation for this ministry to which God has called us. God has done a beautiful thing through our collaboration. We love and miss you all so much, and we thank God for you!
Tyler and Brittany Blanski
Read it at Church of the Cross.