Steps in the Holy Land

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After graduating from college, Will Nyce spent a year teaching English at a high school seminary in the Holy Land. Though he had been Catholic his whole life, it was there he discovered his vocation to the priesthood. There were many steps and graces along the way, he said, including the chance to spend Christmas in Bethlehem. Nyce will be one step closer to the priesthood when he is ordained to the transitional diaconate June 2.

Nyce was born March 14, 1990, in Washington to Chris and Carol Nyce, the oldest of their six children. His father worked for the government, so they moved often and lived in several different Middle Eastern countries. He completed his high school education at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington in 2008. Nyce graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 2011.

While a part of the Catholic campus ministry, Nyce’s faith grew. “I started going to daily Mass, rediscovered the rosary and discovered adoration,” he said. The next year in Israel, “I had lots of time to think and pray about vocations.” Eventually, he discerned that he wanted to be a priest for the Diocese of Arlington. He spent a year working for his home parish, St. Veronica Church in Chantilly, while applying to the seminary.

In 2013, he entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. Two years later, he was sent to the Pontifical North America College in Rome. “It’s been a wonderful experience,” he said. “In the Holy Land, you get a glimpse that Christ is real — that he was a man who lived and walked in this land. In Rome, you get to see the church is real. She's filled with these saints and this culture and history.”

While in Rome, he’s witnessed the “Francis Effect” up close, and recently had a chance to meet the pontiff. Nyce and players of an inter-seminary soccer tournament met Pope Francis in an audience May 23. “It was awesome to see the pope really enjoying time with his ‘sons’ studying in his diocese and, even though he did not take any sides or comment on who was going to win, you could see that he appreciated the good fruits of sport,” he said.

Nyce is looking forward to his ordination and final year of formation.

“I feel incredibly blessed in this entire journey. I've been brought a long way,” he said. “I’m so happy and really looking forward to sharing this joy of how I feel I’ve been healed but also shown the wonders of God and his church.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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