Kansas State Football Player Heard Call to Seminary on the Field
Landry Weber says three things are central to his spirituality: the Eucharist, confession and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
How does God call a football player? Especially one who is from a family that is K-State football royalty?
On a football field, of course.
Landry Weber, a wide receiver at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, said he always felt called to the priesthood, even as a child. But then God sent him specific signs.
In one, he said he had begun dating a girl and felt conflicted about it. “I was lying on the practice field in the middle of the night, staring up at the sky at 2am,” he told the Register.
He asked God, directly: “Do you want me to be with this girl or do you want me to be with you?” At that moment he saw a cross appear in the stars.
Weber, who majored in accounting and is now receiving his master’s in accounting there, will attend seminary for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.
Weber said he was moved to embrace his call by a message he heard at St. Isidore Catholic Church, K-State’s Catholic Center.
“The idea in society is that there’s only one road to happiness, and that’s getting a degree and getting married,” he said. “People think entering the seminary means that God’s going to abandon you, and you’re going to have to claw and scratch to find happiness and you’ll be lonely.”
But, he continued, “What do you think will happen if you give your life to God? He’s going to put his arm around you and walk every step of the way. It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be the exact opposite of the negativity that you’re expecting.”
The football player said that three things are central to his spirituality: the Eucharist, confession and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“I’ve found that prayer and receiving the Eucharist and spending time in adoration and going to confession have a tremendous effect on my life and my relationship with Jesus and my mental health. Those two sacraments, the Eucharist and confession — I can see the difference when I miss them and how quickly my life falls apart.”
Weber has also consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary and renewed the consecration once.
But specific signs also help. Weber says another came when he tried dating in college another time, too. He woke in the middle of the night worried about the future of the relationship, but a calming voice came to him: “That doesn’t matter. You’re supposed to be a priest.”
But apart from spirituality and signs, Weber has another great help for young vocations: a supportive family.
“Whether it’s football, volleyball, teaching, bowling or business, the Weber family are always striving for excellence,” said Father Drew Hoffman at the K-State Catholic Center. “They take that desire to be great and apply that to … excellence in faith. That intensity is infectious.”
The Weber family is excellent at fostering vocations — not just to the Church, but to K-State.
When they met at a pep rally in 1982, Landry’s father, Stan, was a K-State quarterback, and his mother, Nancy, was a K-State cheerleader. After a remarkable high-school career, Stan had been recruited by coaching legends Jimmy Johnson and Pat Dye, who were at out-of-state schools. He stayed in Kansas “because of the people,” Weber says on the college’s website. “These are true Kansans with a love for each other.”
The Webers have four children — two daughters and two sons. Landry’s oldest sister led the way to attending K-State, followed by his big brother, a wide receiver who now coaches football at South Carolina University, and his big sister, who made headlines playing volleyball for the Wildcats and is now a Fellowship of Catholic University Students missionary.
When Dad tells the story of Landry’s birth, it’s a football story — Landry was born Sept. 18, 1998, when the Texas Longhorns were set to play K-State’s legendary 1998 team for their first Big 12 Conference matchup — and K-State trounced them, 48-7.
“Landry was not even 24 hours old,” his dad has said. “He didn’t make it to that game, unfortunately, but he knows all about it. He can tell you everything about that K-State football team.”
“My first memories are of watching K-State football,” Landry told the Wichita Eagle. “I have been going to games since I was a month old. I have always known I wanted to wear that K-State purple.”
His dad is extremely grateful to see children walk in his footsteps at his alma mater.
“I thank God for this opportunity,” Stan told the paper. “We’ve also taught our kids that there’s a responsibility that goes with it. I love sports, not just the competition, but what it teaches you about life.”
Landry is full of gratitude, too.
The last time he has been seen in a football uniform was in the early minutes of the Texas Bowl on Jan. 4 — being helped off the field with an injury.
“I got injured on the first drive of the bowl game on my second catch,” Landry told the Register. His team would go on to defeat the LSU Tigers 42-20, but Landry never returned to the field.
Father Hoffman at K-State’s Catholic Center said he was severely disappointed on Landry’s behalf, but Landry wasn’t. The wide receiver texted him: “Every game is a gift. I don’t deserve any of them. Thankful for every snap I get.”
Then, something unexpected happened. “While I was down being looked at by trainers, they made the announcement about my vocation,” said Landry.
“Here’ s a young man who has bigger things planned than just football,” announced ESPN’s Tom Hart on the broadcast. “Landry Weber plans to go to the priesthood after he's done with his football career.”
For the man born on the eve of a key K-State vs. Texas game, it was fitting that his vocation plans were made known at a nationally televised K-State game in Texas.
Landry said football, ironically, may be a good preparation for seminary.
“My favorite part about college football is that it’s a lot more challenging and demanding. It teaches you a lot of discipline, with your schedule and the choices you make,” he said. “You get used to doing things when you’re tired and you don’t want to do things. You still go out and do it.”
He has impressed the Catholic community at St. Isidore’s.
“Landry is one of the finest men I’ve encountered on a college campus,” said Father Hoffman. “I am amazed at his discipline. He's a D-1 football player and an excellent student, but he still finds plenty of time to pray, attend daily Mass and spend time with his friends. It’s a very cool thing to watch, and it challenges me to be a better priest.”