Meet Seminarian Dale Hyland

Tell us about your family.

My parents are Todd and Lisa Hyland. I also have a younger brother named Justin

Where did you get your undergraduate degree?

I am on pace to graduate from Gannon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 2025.

Did you have a job prior to entering the seminary? 

Prior to entering seminary, I held a couple summer jobs cleaning, sanitizing, and providing maintenance for local Diocesan parishes

Tell us about some of your hobbies.

I enjoy sports, especially playing tennis and watching professional football. I have also been involved in eleven musicals either as a member of the production team, cast, or stage crew, and I enjoy attending them and listening to their soundtracks as well!

Tell us your vocation story.

I attribute my vocation to a variety of influences and experiences in my life. The seeds of it somewhat began one night when I was about five or six years old. I remember trying to fall asleep one evening when a deep voice I did not know kept talking to me. I recall telling the voice to “leave me alone, I’m trying to sleep.” After a few minutes, it finally ceased talking and I went to sleep. I cannot recall what thatvoice said and I do not recall comprehending it that night, especially since I was too busy trying to sleep. A couple years later, I began to feel attracted to the priesthood, especially through watching my pastor at the time, The Very Reverend Monsignor James T. Gaston, celebrate Mass so fervently and zealously. In hindsight I also wonder if that voice was the Voice of God calling me to serve him as a priest.

I have also attended Catholic Schools all my life, I come from a very welcoming and vibrant home parish with a rich history of Diocesan vocations, and I have been blessed to have two outstanding pastors during my most of my life, all of which have undoubtedly played a role in fostering and supporting my vocation. My family has also always been supportive and I am grateful to them for planting the seeds of faith in my life and my young calling, which I now attribute to around eight years old.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical morning for me begins with Mass as a seminary community at 6:45 AM. After Mass I typically take some time to pray and work on some school work until departing for my morning classes and breakfast on the campus of Gannon University. I also eat lunch, pray Daytime Prayer, and attend afternoon classes at Gannon before returning to the seminary. Our afternoons are then free until we gather together again to pray Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM. After Evening Prayer we enjoy a catered dinner as a house, after which the evening is ours to study, relax, pray, or work on our assignments. My day typically ends with praying Night Prayer around midnight, eating a snack, and going to bed preparing to begin the routine refreshed and renewed the next day.

What do you look forward to in becoming a priest?

If I am God-willing ordained to the priesthood, I look forward to serving the people of God. It will bring me great joy to bring the Sacraments to them, walk with them in the different stages of life, and evangelize with the all-important messages of hope, love, and joy.

Who would you say has been your biggest mentor throughout this process?

The Very Reverend Monsignor James T. Gaston and The Very Reverend Kenneth G. Zaccagnini both played instrumental roles in my life during their respective tenures as my pastors. Msgr. Gaston married my parents, baptized me, heard my First Confession, gave me my First Holy Communion, was present at my Confirmation, and buried my deceased grandmother and uncle. He has always been there for my family and also helped me to consider the priesthood by watching him from a young age. Whenever he was reassigned in 2014, he was succeeded by Fr. Ken Zaccagnini. Fr. Ken has been instrumental in my more formative years and seminary application,and he has continued my formation and ongoing discernment as a wonderful model of priesthood and pastoral leadership. I love the Diocese of Greensburg and am honored and humbled to represent it as a seminarian! 

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