On weekdays, sophomore computer engineering major David Tines attends classes at the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. Each weeknight and on weekends, he attends Mass at the Newman Center.
But six months from now, Tines will be attending St. Gregory the Great Catholic Seminary in Seward, jumping on the track to becoming a priest.
Tines, who was raised Catholic, said he came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln planning to continue his faith but did not plan on seriously investing in it. After getting involved in the Newman Center and building a stronger relationship with God, he said he’s realized priesthood is what he has been called to do.
“I don’t want to do computer science for the rest of my life; that’s not what I’m supposed to do,” Tines said. “At the end of the day, I need to be helping people. There are people that need love, people that need to be served. If that’s what I’m called to do, who am I to say no?”
Tines said the journey to his decision started when he and his high school girlfriend broke up early in their freshman year of college. He said after visiting her over Labor Day weekend, he had a growing lack of peace he couldn’t shake.
“I described this lack of peace, this uneasiness, as, ‘This is you, God, trying to tell me something. And I don’t really understand why, but I’ll jump off this cliff and see how it goes,’” Tines said. “That was the first time I really did anything on faith.”
Since then, Tines has spent more time at the Newman Center by joining a bible study, helping with retreats and participating in events. Though his decision to join a seminary formed at the beginning of his sophomore year, he said a lot of groundwork was laid his freshman year.
The winter of his freshman year, Tines went to a conference for Catholic college students. At one point, he said he had an experience where he felt the need to be a spiritual father to everyone in the room.
“There are so many people who are in so much pain, who are so alone, and I just wanted to be there for them,” Tines said. “It’s so silly that there is so much pain in the world just because nobody will stop and listen to someone.”
Tines said his involvement with the Newman Center has also provided him with many close friendships. When it comes to faith, he said people can easily become friends with nothing else in common.
“It’s not just one more thing you do,” Tines said. “If you’re truly living out your faith, it’s a lifestyle. It’s what you do; it’s the way the world is.”
One of these friends, sophomore mechanical engineering major Maureen Winter, not only shares Tines’ faith but has known him since they were born. She said she can see him becoming a priest easily.
“He’s such an intense personality,” Winter said. “He’s brought that passion to his faith and really made it a part of his life.”
Tines said he is sad to leave his friends behind, as well as his life in Lincoln. The Raikes program would allow him to get a well-paying job right out of college, he said, and his cohort has given him the closest friends he’s ever had.
In addition, Tines said he might be paying more to go to seminary and priesthood is a life of service with significantly less freedom.
“From a different set of values, there’s virtually no advantage for me to go,” he said. “But that’s what I have peace with, and that's what I want to do.”
A pursuit of peace is something Tines said has been a large part of his religious journey. He said that even if things are hard and he’s not necessarily happy, he does what he’s called to do each day and trusts everything will work out.
“People really struggle with this,” Tines said. “They’re living from dopamine hit to dopamine hit, and it’s really rough in between. When I go to bed at night, I’m at peace because today was what it was supposed to be. That’s the only way all this works.”
The next steps in Tines’ journey include a 30-page application for seminary, a summer trip to Spain for the Camino de Santiago, a 200 mile-long Catholic pilgrimage and a summer job — hopefully, he said, as a bartender.
After attending minor seminary, Tines said he will receive a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. When moving on to major seminary, he plans to receive his master’s in theology.
Tines said he’s excited for the massive amount of upcoming changes in his life, but he’s just going to take them as they come.
“Even though I’m pursuing peace over happiness,” he said, “the happiness seems to come along the way.”