Welcome to my blog!
My name is Daniel Belken, and I am a seminarian for the Diocese of Springfield- Cape Girardeau in southern Missouri. I am originally from Fredericktown, Missouri, and now go to Kenrick- Glennon seminary in St. Louis. I am one of six boys in my family, and am the oldest child, and my youngest brother is 6 months old now. Some of my hobbies include farming, computer repair, and playing the organ. Often, when I am not at school, you can find me on our family farm, making repairs, building something new, or taking care of chores.
As a seminarian, I am on a mission- to find out what God wants for my life, and to bring as many people to Christ as I can. I created this blog as a response to the New Evangelization, so that I may share thoughts and words that may benefit those who come upon them.
As every vocation does, I have a story to go with mine. Even from a young age, I was always interested in what the priest was doing, and intrigued that he actually brought Jesus into our midst through the sacred species. This fascination motivated me through the most of the early part of my grade school years, and one of the people that I owe much credit to is Monsignor William Stanton, who was the pastor at St. Michael’s Parish in Fredericktown, Missouri, for many years. Through watching his reverence and devotion to the people of God, I also developed a love for the people, and a desire to be their spiritual “father” one day.
As many vocations do, I became diverted from pursuing my vocation in eighth grade. This was mostly due to my breaking to peer pressure, which dictated that everyone of status had a girlfriend. This continued well into my ninth grade year, into the summer after that year. However, God was not to be diverted from showing me my true vocation. That summer, God began to work in me in ways that I could have never imagined.
During the course of this summer, I went on my first Operation Overhaul, which is a week- long mission trip to a different part of the country, that year’s choice being Baxter Springs, Kansas. During that time, I met Joseph Kelly (now Deacon Joseph Kelly), another seminarian from the Diocese of Springfield- Cape Girardeau. He affected me in the fact that he was much different than what I expected of a seminarian. He was having the same fun that we did, doing the same things we do, only he seemed to do it in a “holier” way. This really changed my view, and I began to see the seminary as a real possibility again. However, God was not done with His work that summer.
Later that summer, I participated in Steubenville Mid- America, which is a growing youth conference for teens who want to deepen their faith. I thought that the weekend would not have any dramatic effect upon me, but I was completely wrong. The calling that was present in my youth reestablished itself, with much more vigor and life than I had ever felt before. I also had the privilege of going with Joseph Kelly again, which also allowed me to get a deeper sense of the seminary. At this point, I became even more sure that I would enter the seminary.
After this, I felt that it would be very beneficial for me to attend a Kenrick- Glennon seminary “Come and See” retreat, which allowed me to see what the seminary was like. I was very astounded at what I found there, and was so inspired that I felt really sure that I would come back one day.
This lead into my senior year of high school- the time of preparation was coming to a close. The time came for me to talk to Fr. John Friedel, the vocations director for the Springfield- Cape Girardeau diocese. He was very helpful in getting my application through for the diocese, and subsequently applying for Kenrick – Glennon Seminary. After working on finishing everything up, I found myself in the month of April, finishing up high school. The application, although very time consuming, was well worth it, and I was accepted in late July.
August came, and I went in for my freshman year, not really knowing just what to expect. I am not going to fluff it up- it was tough at times. However, God has blessed me in more ways than I can ever know! God’s grace definitely provided everything I needed, and here I am, well into my junior year, and loving every moment that I spend, continuing to discover the many aspects of God’s plan for me, and growing in virtue and love for God’s people!