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  • Writer's pictureChurch of St. Mark

From the Heart of the Shepherd

By Fr. David Hottinger, PES - Pastor

From the bulletin for The Fourth Sunday of Easter (Apr 21, 2024)

Fourth Sunday of Easter

He’s been cloistered off in Seminary for several years now, so many of our community members may not know this, but St. Mark’s is the spiritual home of a future shepherd for this archdiocese. Ben Eichten is a seminarian preparing for deacon ordination next month (May 11!). I asked him to submit an introduction of sorts for the bulletin so that we can be praying for him as he prepares for ordination -Fr. David

For those I have not had the pleasure to meet yet, my name is Benjamin Eichten and I am a seminarian currently in Theology III studying at the Saint Paul Seminary. I am also blessed to call the Church of Saint Mark my home parish, as I prepare to serve as a future priest in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It is with joy that I share with you that I will be ordained to the transitional diaconate this May at the Basilica of Saint Mary. God has brought me to this point after many years of seminary formation and support from so many holy men and women. The members and clergy of Saint Mark’s and the Catholic Advance have especially played a pivotal role in helping me grow in my love of God and give that “yes” to seek after what Christ has planned for me. As such, I want to thank you all for everything you have done for me! 

To share a little about myself. I am originally from Anoka, MN and grew up, as the oldest of four, in a normal Catholic family. The faith had always been part of my upbringing, but it was not until I entered high school that I began to question what sort of role the Catholic Church and God would have in my own life.  During my junior year of high school, the associate pastor at my local parish preached on vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Although I did not think anything of it at the moment, my mom encouraged me to talk to him and I was shortly thereafter visiting Saint John Vianney college seminary for a come-and-see weekend. I remember being struck at how normal the seminarians were, yet how profoundly they desired to grow in holiness and follow God’s will for their life. This experience ultimately led me to join the seminary after high school and I would then finish my degree after four years of formation.  

After this time, I did not feel the Lord’s call to move on immediately to the Saint Paul Seminary for theological studies, so I decided to experience life in the world for a while. I initially worked in health insurance and later in medical software, but it was my engagement with my Catholic faith that was most impactful. I was blessed to have good catholic men as roommates and from their witness I become very involved in both Saint Mark’s and Catholic Advance. It was through my involvement in both the parish and lay movement that I continued to advance in my relationship with God that ultimately led me to be open to Christ’s calling in my life. After my third year of living and working in the St. Paul it was clear that God wanted me to reenter seminary formation and I would join the Saint Paul Seminary that fall. 

These past four years in the seminary have been a profound time of personal growth and transformation through a deepening reliance and trust in God. This has not only helped me understand my own invitation to the priesthood by Christ, but also how God wants me to express love for His Church by ministering to the people of this local community. In a month I will be ordained to the diaconate and then serve somewhere in the Twin Cities for the summer and afterwards return for my last year at the Saint Paul Seminary to prepare for the priesthood. It is an exciting, but daunting time for me as my formal education is coming to a close. Continued confidence and dependence on God will be more essential for me than any time in my life so far. As such, please keep me in your prayers as I accompany Christ through these big steps in living out God’s calling for me. Also, know of my prayers for everyone at the Church of Saint Mark.  


Sincerely yours in Christ,  

Benjamin Eichten

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