Diocesan seminarian to be ordained to transitional diaconate in Rome

Diocesan seminarian to be ordained to transitional diaconate in Rome
Managing Editor

On Sept. 28, Troy Niemerg, a seminarian for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois who has been doing his theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome,  will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at St. Peter’s Basilica.  He’s looking forward to that day, when he will share his joy with several members of his family who are traveling to be with him.  

“Fortunately, most of my immediate family will be able to make it to my ordination,” he said. “It’s certainly a huge request for me to make, but they have been looking forward to the ordination for a long time and never thought twice about coming. That’s just one more thing for which I am incredibly grateful. 

“My parents and my upbringing were everything to me,”  said Niemerg, who calls St. Isidore the Farmer in Dieterich his home parish. “I don’t see how I could have ever discerned my vocation without them. My whole family has always practiced the faith, and we are lucky enough to live in a community that has always put faith and family first.” 

Niemerg is the youngest of his siblings, but just barely.  “I am technically the youngest because I have a twin brother, Travis, who was born 16 minutes before I was,” he said. “That makes me the little brother, and no one lets me forget it!” Troy and Travis have three older siblings, Craig, Cory, and Candace, and they are all the children of Duane and Annette Niemerg, who live in Dieterich. He also has two nephews, Henry and Calvin, and one niece, Amelia.

Niemerg felt from age 11 that God may have been calling him to the priesthood. “It was nothing dramatic, no voices or grand epiphanies. It was more like a spark of a desire to serve God and His Church that slowly grew over time. I didn’t seriously consider a priestly vocation until I was 17, and I felt more confident that this persistent desire was more than just my own daydreams, but the actual will of God.”  

After his senior year at Dieterich High School,  he applied to the seminary.  “I completed my studies in philosophy at Marian University in Indianapolis while I lived at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary,” he said. “After four years of college, I was asked by Bishop (Thomas John) Paprocki to do my theology studies in Rome.”  A good friend from college seminary, Deacon Samuel Rosko from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, will be at Niemerg’s ordination to vest him.   

“Living in Rome has been one of the greatest blessings of my life,” he said. “Of course, moving from a town of 650 people to a huge and ancient European capital involved some unique challenges. While I credit the discovery of my vocation to my upbringing and family, that definitely meant it was difficult to be 5,000 miles away from them all, too.  The transition to life in Rome was the biggest in my life, but I fell in love with it just as soon as I got over the culture shock. I have been able to see and experience so much of the universal Church with new friends I’ll have for a lifetime, and for that I am grateful,” he said.   

Niemerg returned to the Springfield Diocese this summer to spend time serving at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon. “I have been blessed in a big way by being assigned to Immaculate Conception with Father John Titus,” he said. “He is a model pastor and example of what it means to be a priest. Clerics are ordained to serve the people of God by configuring their lives to Christ. Among the many things I have learned from him this summer, one of the most important is to never forget that we are ordained for humble service. Bringing people to Christ and preaching the life-changing truths of His Gospel is what being ordained is all about.” 

When speaking about younger people who wonder where God is calling them, Niemerg has some good advice. “I would just remind him or her that everyone has a calling from God. He has a plan for each of us, but it’s our responsibility to seriously pray and discern what that vocation is. God desires us to find perfect happiness and fulfillment in Him, but we can only do that by discerning and following His will for our lives. God will never fail to make His will known to those earnestly seeking Him in faith.” 

Niemerg concludes that not only has he prayed for guidance, but he also appreciates it when people pray for him. “I would just like to thank everyone who has prayed for me and supported me throughout my time in the seminary. Please continue to do so! I have been blown away by the generosity and encouragement of all the great people in our diocese, and I’m so excited to minister to them in the near future.”