Meet Seminarian Thomas Oldenburg
Tell us about your family.
My parents, Christopher- psychology professor at Saint Vincent College, and Jennifer, a clinical psychologist, owner of Oldenburg Psychological Services. I have four siblings:
Steve (26)- chemistry teacher at Walsh Jesuit High School
Gabrielle (23)- psychology graduate student at Stetson University
Therese (21)- public history major at Saint Vincent College
Michael (16)- senior at Greensburg Central Catholic High School
Did you have a job prior to entering the seminary? Tell us about it.
I didn’t have a job that I was making a living off of, as I just graduated high school. Last summer I worked at Rizzo’s and this summer I am doing some landscaping.
Tell us about some of your hobbies.
I enjoy playing sports with my friends, particularly soccer and tennis. I also enjoy playing board games with my family or friends.
Tell us your vocation story?
I grew up practicing Catholicism but never really had an inclination to the priesthood. Going into my freshman year of high school I attended the Quo Vadis Days discernment retreat. This introduced me to discernment. I attended the discernment groups for high school students with Father Bandura which helped me continue in the discernment process. One of the most influential steps in my discernment was my sophomore religion class at GCC. We had a new teacher that year, Mr. Kuniega, and he was able to teach the Faith in a way that truly brought me closer to my Faith. While I had still been practicing my Faith, I had kind of fallen away from my prayer life and relationship with God. Mr. Kuniega helped me to see the importance and beauty of the Catholic Faith. His lessons on vocations also helped me understand the importance of discernment and the priesthood. The Quo Vadis Days retreats going into my junior and senior years were also very impactful in my discernment. I felt a sense of peace and joy at these retreats, and they made me really think more about the priesthood. Without these retreats I probably would not have decided to enter seminary for the diocese straight from high school.
What is a typical day like for you?
Since school ended recently, I have not really started a daily routine this summer. I often go to daily Mass in the mornings and sometimes I do something with my friends, like attend graduation parties. I am starting a summer job soon, doing some landscaping, and I also help my mom out cleaning her office.
What do you look forward to in becoming a priest?
I primarily look forward to administering the Sacraments, and especially saying Mass. It would be amazing to be able to bring Jesus down on the altar during the holy sacrifice of the Mass. It is difficult to comprehend that I could be doing that one day, but I know that I would love it and that is one of the greatest attractions for me to the priesthood. I would also love to perform the sacrament of reconciliation, as that has been an important part of my own spiritual journey and I would love to provide that grace and forgiveness of Christ to others.
Who would you say has been your biggest mentor throughout this process and why?
I would say Father Bandura has been my biggest mentor as he has organized the various retreats and discernment groups that have helped me in my discernment. I also spent a lot of time around him when he was the chaplain of GCC from my eighth grade to sophomore year. I also have served for him many times at St. James during my junior year. Mr. Kuniega has also been an important mentor in my discernment process, as he has helped me to draw closer to God and discern his will in my life.