A journey to priesthood

© 2017-The Torrington Telegram

Torrington native to study in Rome, Italy

TORRINGTON – Although Torrington native Nicholas Vetter once hoped to become a successful engineer, he eventually realized he had a higher calling – one that will soon lead him to study in Rome, Italy.
The son of Leland and Mary Ann, Vetter was born and raised in Torrington. He graduated from Torrington High School in 2013 and attended Eastern Wyoming College (EWC), where he received an associate’s degree.
“I started studying for the priesthood in January of 2014 at Saint John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C. for the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D.,” Vettter said. “I went to school at The Catholic University of America and graduated in May of 2017 with my Bachelor in Philosophy degree with cum laude honors.”
The future Catholic priest said faith has been fundamental in
his life.
“Through my whole life, attending mass and praying together as a family was an important part of my life,” Vetter said. “With three uncles as Catholic priests, they were always a great witness to me of the joy of living one’s whole life for God and His Church.
“My family attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Torrington for the duration that my parents were in Torrington – 34 years, my dad was a welding instructor at (EWC),” he said. “My three pastors, Father Kevin Koch, Father Michael Carr, and Father Ray Moss, all played a part in my vocation.”
Religion runs deep in Vetter’s family – in addition to his three uncles, Vetter’s brother is also studying to serve God.
“My brother, Steven Vetter, is studying for the Diocese of Bismarck, as well, at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colo.,” he said. “He is finishing a 30-day silent Ignatian retreat in the next few days.”
Despite his strong religious roots, Vetter admitted he wasn’t always certain he wanted to become a priest.
“The first inspiration for the priesthood was God Himself,” he said. “God moves towards us, desires us, loves us, and wants everyone to be happy and fulfilled. God first worked in my desires to really admire the priesthood of Jesus Christ in my three uncles who are priests for the Diocese of Bismarck. My uncles are men of joy and holiness that bring the love of God to all people who are around them. I found that I desired that happiness as well at a very young age.
“I did not tell many people until I started signing up for seminary,” Vetter said. “In high school, I did not want to acknowledge this desire that God placed in my heart to be His priest because I wanted to be a natural father with a wife and a family. I also wanted to be an engineer and be successful, but God was calling me to a higher vocation: to give everything to Him so that I may be His instrument to bring people His mercy, love, forgiveness, and salvation through the sacraments. I resisted this calling until one afternoon, while driving, I experienced God’s love for me as real and tangible. He simply spoke to my heart that I would find my fulfillment and happiness in following Him as a priest. As a priest, I can give myself totally to a loving God and to His people in
total self-gift.”
As committed as he is to his priesthood, Vetter admitted he has experienced challenges along the way.
“My greatest challenge thus far in my journey to becoming a priest has been growing in a deeper relationship, and from that identity, with and in Jesus,” he said. “Since Jesus is a real person, we are able to have a real and deeply profound relationship with Him. By living in relationship with God, we come to grow in our identity as beloved sons and daughters of God. From this identity, I am better able to serve Jesus in His mission through
His Church.”
Vetter is currently studying at the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Neb. – a nine-week program to deepen his relationship with God – before leaving for Rome, Italy on Aug. 16. He will attend the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Theology and will be living at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
“Going to Rome is a great opportunity to witness the universality of the Catholic Church and to be about a 15-minute walk from the Vatican and Pope Francis,” Vetter said. “With that being said, it is very different from Wyoming and Goshen County. The sheer number of people, the ancient nature of the city of Rome, and the culture make the experience in many ways challenging, but fruitful.”
If everything goes as planned, Vetter will become a full-fledged Catholic priest in four years – with sainthood to follow.
“My only goal with being a priest is to become a saint, by which I can bring the holiness and love of God to all people,” he said. “I desire to help more people enter into relationship with Him here on earth, so that they may dwell with Him forever in heaven. I know that God will bless me in this as long as I stay faithful to Him and His Church.”

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