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Three new seminarians for the Diocese of Gaylord


The Diocese of Gaylord has been blessed with three new seminarians, raising the total number of seminarians to 13 this year. Peter Freundl, George Buchey, and Christopher Nowak began their studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, this fall.

Freundl.jpgPeter Freundl, 18, is one of 13 children born to Lawrence and JoAnne Freundl of Traverse City. He has spent much of his youth serving in various capacities at his home parish of Holy Rosary in Cedar, as well as at the nearby Carmelite Monastery. The youngest of all of our seminarians, Peter recently finished his high school education through home schooling. His devotion to the Eucharist was fostered at home, modeled by his parents and strengthened by strong ties to the Catholic faith community. Peter recalls fondly his family’s participation in Christmas Novenas, May Crownings, and special feasts at the Carmelite Monastery near his home in addition to regular attendance and involvement at his home parish.

Peter has served Holy Rosary Parish as a lector, cantor, and has been trained to serve for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Latin Mass), and has even served in the Gregorian Chant schola. He has also participated in many volunteer activities in his parish. He is a pianist and enjoys playing sports and spending time with his friends.

As Peter begins his journey, God willing, to the priesthood, he looks forward to his experiences at the Josephinum, noting that “We will not be just a community of men, but a small family, all praying together and helping each other until we come to know more clearly what God’s will is for us.”

Peter is in the first year of study for his Bachelor’s degree.

Bouchey.jpgGeorge Bouchey, 42, was born and raised in the Traverse City area and is a member of St. Patrick’s Parish. He is the youngest of four boys and enjoyed a very close relationship with his late parents, Joseph and Janet, even working alongside his father for 20 years. Growing up in a close-knit, Catholic family, George recalls his parents teaching their sons to pray before meals and bed, and to pray the Rosary together as a family.

He has served as a Sacristan and is trained as a Eucharistic Minister. By trade, George has been a successful electrician for many years while at the same time feeling a special pull to greater service in the Church. He enjoys leading an active lifestyle and is always eager to learn more about his Catholic faith.

For the past 13 years, George has been discerning the priesthood and has been inspired by the life of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. While he says that his journey may have been quite different than that of other seminarians, George is confident in the path on which the Lord is leading him.

“I know that every moment the Lord gives me here in this world is an opportunity to know, love and serve the Trinity…and I think pursuing the priesthood is the way our Lord wants me to use His gifts,” George said.

Contemplating his future, George remarked that among the biggest challenges he will face will be the wait before he can begin his priestly and pastoral duties. George began Pre-Theology studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum this semester.

Nowak.jpgChristopher Nowak, the son of Paul (deceased) and Linda Nowak, was born in Washington Township, New Jersey, and is the second of six children. He spent his early years in New Jersey being home schooled until eighth grade, when his father accepted a position with the Apostolate for Family Consecration in Bloomingdale, Ohio. Chris attended high school in nearby Steubenville, where he served at Mass and played on his high school’s soccer team. He later became involved in the Steubenville LifeTeen program, a faith community for Catholic Teens, and served on the music ministry team.

Chris, now 29, originally planned to major in math when he entered the Franciscan University in 2001 but at the end of his first college semester, his father suddenly passed away which led Chris on a winding journey to discerning the priesthood. After splitting the next few years between his family’s home and a Cistercian Monastery in New Jersey, and with friends in Ohio, Chris eventually joined his older brother, Paul, in Michigan.

Chris credits his relationship with his close friend and fellow Gaylord seminarian Ben Rexroat with connecting him to the Diocese of Gaylord. As Chris continues his faith journey, he says, “I have thought about being a priest my whole life. I have a passionate love for the liturgy and for helping people step deeper in to the Faith and deeper into a relationship with Christ.”

Chris also began studies in the Pre-Theology program at the Josephinum this fall.

The Pontifical College Josephinum is located in Columbus, Ohio, and was founded in 1888. The Josephinum, as it is commonly referred to, currently has around 175 men enrolled. Granted “pontifical status” by Pope Leo XIII in 1892, it is the only pontifical seminary outside of Italy.

To learn more about all of our seminarians, click on the Vocations link on the left and follow the blog authored by seminarians of the Diocese of Gaylord, Fiat Volantus Dei, at

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