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Good friendships helped diaconal candidate in his discernment

First slide

Nicholas Blank was born to Richard and Monica Blank in Ft. Ord, Calif., Jan. 29, 1992. The oldest of nine children, Blank and his family moved frequently while his dad served in the U.S. Navy.


“I was blessed to make awesome friends, guys and girls at school, and my decision to enter seminary would have been very difficult without them.” Nicholas Blank

The seeds of a vocation were sown when the family was stationed at Quantico Marine Corps Base.  As a home-schooled middle schooler, Blank enjoyed being able to serve daily Mass at St. William of York Church in Stafford. He remembers being impressed by the priests he met there, and told his family he wanted to be a priest.


“At first I was impressed with worldly qualities of the priests, such as being comfortable speaking in public and being loved by the parish,” said Blank.


While the career goals of the young boy shifted over the next few years, by the time the Blank family returned to Virginia after several military assignments, he found himself once again discerning a vocation to the priesthood.


The last advice that his mom gave him before he left for Christendom College in Front Royal was, “Make great friends.” He says that he did not realize at the time how important this would be for his discernment.


“I was blessed to make awesome friends, guys and girls at school, and my decision to enter seminary would have been very difficult without them,” said Blank. “Simple and informal fraternity with friends has been the backbone of my discernment. They know me so well, and give me the courage to do God’s will.”


He applied for the seminary his senior year of college and went to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., after graduating from Christendom in 2013 with a philosophy degree.
Now in his third year of theology, he is looking forward to his diaconal ordination at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington June 2.


“I look forward to sharing with young people the joy of a young adulthood lived well, even hobbies, seemingly unrelated to God, become opportunities for great joy when surrounded by good people.” he said.


As ordination approaches, Blank has been reflecting on human kind’s capacity to give themselves away completely for the rest of their lives, an idea he began thinking about since his brother’s wedding.


“I have so little idea of what lies in my future,” said Blank. “I understand some of the fundamental responsibilities of what being a deacon entails. But I’m trusting in God that he isn’t going to waste this gift of me. I look forward to saying completely, ‘I promise for the rest of my life. Do with me what you will. I will stay faithful to my word.’ God can do a lot with that.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018