A Neoga man is pursuing his dream of becoming a priest by going through his education overseas in Rome.

Chris Trummer is one of about 200 men studying from all over the United States at the Pontificia North American College in Rome.

Trummer is a 2009 graduate of Neoga High School. He joined the National Guard when he was a junior in high school and after graduation went to infantry school. Trummer went to Lake Land College for a couple of semesters focusing on kinesiology but eventually switched to Auto Technology. He finished a two year program for Auto Technology.

Trummer said that halfway through high school he moved away from his faith and got absorbed in a party lifestyle, which continued until he was 21 or 22. He soon became dissolutioned with living for himself and for the first time in his adult life experienced God's mercy and love.

He ended up getting involved with the Newman Center at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, where he was shown the good sides of the priesthood. Trummer's admiration for the priesthood drew him to the life. During that time he read around on the internet, prayed and talked to Father John Titus.

Trummer began his journey towards priesthood when he started college seminary in January 2014 in Indianapolis at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary. He attended Marian University also in Indianapolis where he received his bachelor's in philosophy, the first phase to becoming a priest.

He now studies at the Gregorian University through the Pontificia North American College, which is run by the Jesuits. There he is working on his bachelor's in theology, he has been studying there two years and estimates that he has 2-3 years left in Rome.

According to Trummer, the seminary in Rome has an extensive application and screening process and the selection which seminarians will attend there is the decision of their diocesan bishops.

"I had a conversation with Bishop Paprocki during my last year at Bishop Simon Brute about the possibilities of where I might attend major seminary," he said "Eventually the bishop mentioned that Grant Wilson, another Springfield seminarian in the same year as me, would be attending the North American College in Rome, and that I could also go if I was interested."

Trummer was slightly surprised at the opportunity and didn't want to pass it up.

Trummer has been to Rome before in 2014 when he was on a pilgramage trip over Christmas. Their chaperone contacted the vatican to see if they could attend Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. They ended up serving the Mass with Pope Francis.

The group received a response from a representative of His Holiness, but the e-mail was in Italian. They deciphered the message which told them that their presence was requested at 9 a.m. the morning of the evening mass.

The group assisted in a processional to start the Mass by carrying candles and a cross. Trummer called meeting Pope Francis a memorable experience.

"He didn't say much," Trummer said. "But it was really special."

Trummer is assigned to St. Paul's parish in Highland for the summer, he will return to Rome in September. He said that while here he will get hands-on experience in the parish on how to minister to people.

He was pleased with the assignment because his brother is assigned as a transitional deacon to St. Boniface parish in Edwardsville so he can visit him. Trummer also has a younger sister and one older brother.

Crystal Reed can be reached at crystal.reed@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 131

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