Current Seminarians

Hayden Charles

Diocese of Wichita, Kansas

Birthday

May 22

Ordination Year

2020

Home Town

Wichita, KS

Home Parish

St. Francis of Assisi

Undergraduate

Conception Seminary College (2016, Philosophy)

Languages

English and a little bit of Spanish

Hobbies

I enjoy playing or watching a variety of sports, but my favorite is soccer. I also enjoy reading, watching movies, and in general just spending time with my friends.

Tidbit

I have a second cousin named Ron Baker who played basketball at Wichita State University when they went to the Final Four a few years ago. He currently plays in the NBA for the New York Knicks.

Favorite Saint

My favorite saints are Pope St. John Paul II and St. Therese of Lisieux.

Vocation Story

I grew up in Catholic school at St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita from Kindergarten on, so when I was preparing for First Communion in 2nd Grade I thought it would be really cool to grow up to be a priest. However, as I went through middle school and high school I grew lukewarm in my faith and started just going through the motions. My parents brought us to Mass every Sunday and they would pray with us at home, but my heart wasn’t in it because I didn’t think that I could live a full, happy life and be a very religious person at the same time. I knew a lot about Jesus, but I hadn’t yet encountered Him as a living Person who wanted to be a part of my life.

This began to change when I was a junior in high school. I was invited by my religion teacher, Jose Gonzalez, to be a part of a group called the Knights of the Holy Queen. This was a group of men, ranging from high school students to older adults, that went to Mass together at my home parish every Thursday at 5:30 and went out to eat afterwards. I was struck by some of the men in this group because I could see that they lived with a joy and a purpose that my life lacked. They knew what they wanted in life, they knew who they wanted to be and they were pursuing that. These qualities were very attractive to me and I began to realize that these men were striving to make Jesus the center of their lives, so I began to try to do the same.

Around this time I was asked to give a talk at a retreat for the freshmen class of my high school, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita. The talk was entitled “The Father’s Will: Discovering God and His Plan for You.” In preparing this talk during the beginning of my senior year, I realized that I had never really asked what God wanted for me in the future. I had plans to go to the University of Kansas and study Athletic Training, but I had never asked what God’s plans were for me. As I began to ask that question, I very naturally realized the possibility that God was calling me to the seminary and the priesthood. This scared me at first, but with the help of prayer and spiritual direction, I decided to pursue this tug on my heart that wouldn’t go away by discerning in the context of seminary.

I began my studies and formation at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri in the Fall of 2013. It was here that the process of meeting Jesus that had begun in encountering the Knights of the Holy Queen took a giant leap forward. I truly encountered the Person of Jesus in the Gospels through a form of prayer called lectio divina, a praying with the Sacred Scriptures. I have fallen in love with this form of prayer as it has been a privileged avenue for me to encounter our Lord in an ever-new and ever-deepening way. Through this experience of meeting Jesus and growing in friendship with Him, as well as serving my Diocese in different ways over the summers, I discerned that He was inviting me to continue my preparation for the priesthood in major seminary, and I arrived at Mundelein to continue my formation after graduating from Conception in May 2016.

Priest Aspirations

I really look forward to administering the sacraments, bringing souls into the arms of Holy Mother Church through Baptism, celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the salvation of the world, and ushering people into the merciful embrace of the Father through the sacrament of Confession. I also have a great desire to be there for the people of God, to be with them as a witness to the presence of Jesus in their lives in all of their ups and downs.

How can Mundelein's donors and community pray for you?

I would ask that you pray that I have the freedom and courage to fully accept the invitation of Jesus to whatever vocation He wants for me. Please pray that I may choose to be who God has created me to be without reservation.