The men pictured below are currently preparing for priestly ministry in the Diocese of Gaylord. Diocesan priests commit their lives to serving the people of a specific diocese and generally work in parishes, schools, or other ministries as assigned by the bishop of the diocese.
Preparation for the priesthood typically requires eight years of education beyond high school, usually including a college degree followed by four or more years of theology study at a seminary.
We encourage you to pray regularly for these men and that others will also discern their call to the priesthood.
Deacon Benjamin Martin
Benjamin Martin was born and raised in Jamestown, New York, to a devout Seventh Day Adventist family. Growing up, his mother would frequently read to Ben and siblings from an old set of Bible stories. He attended a Christian school before transferring to public school, where he eschewed sports and instead explored his growing love of nature and the outdoors with the help of his father. Activities like hiking and rock climbing, learning about trees and the medicinal uses of plants, orienteering, and learning about the animals around him are some of the things Ben fondly recalls from his childhood.
After graduating high school in 1996, Ben enrolled at St. John Fisher College, a Catholic school in Rochester, New York. Though he had begun to explore the Catholic faith in high school, Ben officially enrolled in the RCIA program and was received into the Catholic Church during his first year at college. Ben earned his Bachelor’s degree in Theology and French, with a minor in German, and it was at St. John Fisher that Ben was first approached about considering the priesthood.
After college, Ben began to study and discern with the Congregation of St. Basil. During this time, Ben studied Spanish in Guatemala, served the local Church in Mexico, and worked at a parish in Rochester, New York. Ben entered graduate school at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada, where he earned a Master’s of Divinity and served various pastoral assignments during the summer.
Ben worked for 12 years as a teacher, including at St. Mary Cathedral School in Gaylord. In his spare time, Ben enjoys studying the Scriptures in the original languages and learning languages like Hebrew and Aramaic.
Ben entered Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in the fall of 2017.
Alex is the third child of Dale and Barbara Kowalkowski. His home parish is Divine Mercy in Manistee, and he is a 2012 graduate of Manistee Catholic Central. During high school, Alex played football, baseball, and was on the track team. He also participated in the Science Olympiad, medaling at a state-wide competition, served the Church as an altar server and as a member of the Diocesan Youth Council, and volunteered at his local food pantry.
Alex has also served his parish as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector, and has attended various retreats including Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), Christian Leadership Institute (CLI), and the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Upon graduating high school, Alex attended Aquinas College for one year, studying Business Administration and communication, hoping to be an Event Planner. It was not long before Alex realized that he was being called to discern the priesthood.
Alex is studying at the North American College in Rome.
Michael Lingaur, the son of Dale Sr. and Josephine Lingaur, was born and raised in Lake Leelanau. He is a third generation graduate from St. Mary Catholic School and enjoyed close friendships with his nearly 100 cousins while growing up. Upon graduating from high school, Michael earned a degree in Management and Information Systems from Northwood University, where he played football and baseball, and served as a student assistant coach for the football team.
After college, Michael was employed by a small food and automotive manufacturing supplier in Livonia, MI, prior to moving back home to the Traverse City area and working as a Computer and Data Analyst. Michael began seriously considering the priesthood not long after the death of two of his grandparents. He recalls that he felt so moved by the feeling of peace each time he witnessed his grandparents receive their final Eucharist, that he began seriously discerning his own vocational call.
Michael is currently studying Pre-Theology at Mundelein Seminary just outside of Chicago, IL.
The third child of four born to Dan and Joyce, the importance of faith was instilled in Michael Gorman at an early age. He began his education at St. Francis Xavier School in Petoskey and graduated from Harbor Springs High School, where he kept himself busy. Michael was named All-State in Track and Field and Cross Country, and served his fellow students as a member of the Student Council. He also was active in the Boy Scouts of America and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Michael also participated in diocesan and national Catholic youth events such as the Steubenville Conference and the National Catholic Youth Conference.
Upon graduation, Michael enrolled in Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and began working on a degree in Theology while continuing his career running with both the Aquinas Cross Country team and the Track and Field team. In between his freshman and sophomore years of college, Michael attended World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, along with 42 other pilgrims from the Diocese of Gaylord.
Michael is currently attending the Pontifical College Josephinum.
Nicholas Hemker is the oldest of 5 and the only son born to Deacon Brent and Natalie Hemker. Growing up, Nick recalls that family devotions, daily Mass, and praying the Rosary daily as big parts of his life. He says that the first time he expressed an interest in the priesthood was when he was 3. The Hemkers lived in South Lyon until 2012, when they permanently moved in to their summer cottage in Hale, which they now happily call home.
Homeschooled from 4th-9th grades, Nick attended Tawas Area High School, graduating with a GPA of 3.78 and ranked 13th in his class. While in school, he was a member of the National Honor Society, the undefeated Knowledge Bowl team, Varsity Bowling team, and frequently volunteered in a local nursing home. In the summer months, he stays busy with three jobs, including his own lawn care business.
Nick has also been involved in his parish as an altar server, and in diocesan events such as the St. Andrews Task Force vocations group and retreats, Christian Leadership Institute (CLI), and Just Works. With his sisters, he has also assisted at various diocesan ordinations, Masses, and events.
Nick credits his former pastor, Fr. Jerry Hunko, with encouraging his understanding of a call to the priesthood. Nick is currently studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.
Colin Wright has wanted to be a priest since he was 7 years old. One of six children born to Chris and Elizabeth Wright, he was raised attending Mass and parish events at St. Catherine’s in Ossineke, and counts the parish’s longtime pastor, Fr. Bob Bissott, among his biggest influences and inspirations to the priesthood.
As a child, Colin and his siblings were encouraged by their parents to assist and be present in the parish community, whether it be altar serving, participating in annual clean-ups, volunteering at funerals, or attending Eucharistic Adoration. He has also participated in diocesan events like the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI), Just Works, and the St. Andrews Task Force vocations group.
Along with his identical twin brother Connor, Colin is an active Boy Scout working on his Eagle rank, is a member of the Order of the Arrow, and has attended National Youth Leadership Training Camp. Through the Boy Scouts of America, Colin has participated in a Polar Plunge and became a certified SCUBA diver.
Growing up on 20 acres of woods and fields outside of Alpena, Colin and his siblings spent their free time climbing trees, milking cows, cleaning chicken coups, and running around. Currently, he runs Cross Country for Alpena Community College, where he has been taking general education classes. During his freshman year, Colin was named an Academic All American.
Colin is currently is studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio
Connor Wright is one of six children born to Chris and Elizabeth Wright, and is the twin brother of seminarian Colin Wright. Raised the along the eastern coast of Michigan, Connor attended religious education programs at St. Catherine Parish in Ossineke and was homeschooled by his mother. In his spare time, Connor was active in his parish as an altar server, was part of a local running club, and was a member of the Boy Scouts of American, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. As a Boy Scout, Connor became a member of the Order of the Arrow, an honor society, and attended many scouting and leadership camps, including the National Youth Leadership Training.
After high school, Connor attended Alpena Community College, where he ran on the cross country team and earned the distinction of making Academic All-American and the Dean’s list for both years of his attendance. He ultimately graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Science – Physics.
Though he considered a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Connor decided to apply for the seminary – something he’d been thinking about since around the age of eight. Always active in the Church, Connor has attended diocesan events such as Just Works and the Christian Leadership Institute, and still serves as a Eucharistic Minister.
Connor entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in the fall of 2017.
Izaiah Hincka is one of 4 children born to Eric and Tammy Hincka of Posen. He attended Posen Consolidated School his entire life, where he played football and basketball, as well as participated on the track and field team. Growing up, Izaiah served as an altar server, usher, and attended diocesan retreats.
During his summers, Izaiah has worked for the family business, Hincka Logging, in the garage and helping to fix trucks, in addition to being responsible for maintaining all the firewood for the entire Hincka side of his family. Izaiah says he remembers wanting to become a priest since he was the young age of 3 and credits Fr. Gerald Okoli as having large impact on his formation.
Izaiah entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in the fall of 2017.