Benjamin Johnson

Benjamin JohnsonParish: Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh

Birth Date: June 22

Seminary: Mundelein Seminary

1000 E Maple Ave
Mundelein IL 60060-1967

Theology I


Patron: St. Mary Magdalene

Proclaim the Good News:
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1)

Tell us about a great experience that you had during the summer of 2016.
This summer I was blessed with an abundance of rare opportunities and unexpected graces while studying in Rome for a few weeks. But the one experience that continues to stick out the most for me was being able to see the bones of St. Peter with my own eyes down underground in the heart of St. Peter's Basilica. That experience was made all the more powerful when we left his burial site only to walk amid the tombs of the popes that have come after him. I remember being utterly speechless, wrapped up in such an awe-filled moment.

When did your commitment to the Catholic Faith grow deeper?
We all have it in us that itch, that longing, that part of our very core that aches for something greater. Many people go their whole lives only ever catching glimpses of their heart's truest desire. Many people try to sate this inner thirst with material things, but it is done in vain. Many people are just too afraid to admit the one simple fact that we are not whole. As St. Augustine famously said: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." During my last year of high school at Lourdes Academy, and my first year of college at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, God allowed my own inner restlessness to grow exponentially.

Things I used to love to do became bothersome and pointless to me. I experienced the full force of this longing but I had no idea what I was going after. It was mentally and spiritually exhausting. I would try to engage in my old hobbies and play Xbox or do anything else just to distract myself, but this just fueled the inner thirst. It was only through returning to prayer and attempting to reignite a faith life that I was finally able to find peace. I know most people do not have a dramatic reordering of their hearts like that, but I implore you: the next time you go to pray, meditate on your own desires, and foster that holy inner longing for God.

Offer us a few words about one Gift of the Holy Spirit and how it has helped you.
During my middle school years, I remember hearing about Solomon in the Old Testament. The story about him that particularly grabbed my attention was the story about the two mothers, one fake and one real, and Solomon's clever solution to finding the infant's true mother (you can read about it in 1 Kings 3:16). The story displays the Wisdom of Solomon, which was what set him apart from other kings and rulers. I remember thinking, "Jesus was even wiser." And so every night, after my nighttime prayer, I would just add "and please make me wise." The result? Well I am none the wiser. But instead, I was given the humility to see just how much there is that I do not know.

Share an interesting fact about your high school years.
In all four years of high school, I only received one detention -- I got caught playing Pokemon®. No regrets.

Other than prayer, what is your fuel?
I love music. It can energize you, calm you, keep you focused, spur meditation, and do much more.

As a priest, God willing, where would you most like to celebrate the Holy Mass?
It would be amazing to be able to return to St. Peter's Basilica and celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. Peter on the altar which holds inside it part of the altar commissioned by Constantine and near the tombs of the other popes.

Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
I would ask people to pray to St. Mary Magdalene for me. She was one of the few present at the crucifixion of Jesus when the others hid, and John and Mark name her as the first person to see the resurrected Christ.