Deacon Scott Miller is a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Sioux Falls. He will be ordained to the priesthood May 28, 2021. This month we get a peek at one of our soon-to-be new priests.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family and where you grew up.
A. I grew up in Sioux Falls. My parents are Todd and Linda Miller, and I am the youngest of three boys. Ryan and Chad are the oldest and middle, respectively.
Q. How did you get your call to the priesthood?
A. The thought of the priesthood came to me at age eight, when I distinctly remember at every family gathering my grandparents would ask me, “Scott, what do you want to do when you grow up?” They asked almost jokingly, thinking that a child’s dreams are often not realized. But every time they asked, I responded, “Either an NBA player or a priest.”
I was convinced of becoming an NBA player; I had no idea why the word “priest” even came out of my mouth. Little did I know, the Spirit was already at work in me planting those initial seeds of desire.
As the years went on, the thought of the priesthood remained, though I tried harder to push it away. I wanted to be married and even the thought of public speaking almost gave me a heart attack. But I had not yet learned that nothing was impossible for God if it’s His will.
I remember telling God before my first year of college, “I don’t want to be a priest, but if you want me to be a priest, you gotta help me say ‘yes’ because I won’t.” That first year of college at USD was a great gift. I loved my classes, my friends, and I even began to attend daily Mass. But I felt unsettled about my path at the time; I was planning to become a physical therapist. Something deep down knew that this was not God’s path for me.
At the beginning of the second semester, three priests within two weeks approached me in seemingly random encounters asking me more or less the same question: “Have you ever considered becoming a priest?” Little by little, my heart opened up to the possibility in those weeks.
The third priest encounter was at my grandfather’s wake after he died of a heart attack. I felt convicted to speak about my sense of grandpa and his great faith, yet I was terrified of doing it. I was shaking as if the earth were imploding beneath me. Yet in addition to the aunts and uncles’ affirmations of my “beautiful words,” the pastor approached me and said, “If you want to become a priest, I’m the vocations director for the diocese.”
It was clear to me then God was saying to me, “Scott, I can use even what you think is your greatest weakness for my glory.” I was sold. The miracle was the interior change of my heart. It was not only God who wanted me to be a priest, I wanted it, too. And I still do.
Q. Who has been most influential in your life?
A. My parents (Todd and Linda Miller) have played the most foundational role in instilling the faith and sustaining me. I remember how obvious the fruitfulness of my upbringing was to me the moment I left home for college. The thought to missing Mass on the first Sunday away from home didn’t even become the slightest temptation. I knew that the faith was what my parents valued most, and it became my own in the years following confirmation and leading up to the first year of college. But without their upbringing, the yes’s I’ve made in following the Lord’s plan for my life would not have been possible.
Q. Who is your go-to saint? Why?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the saint I make the most recourse to. She has very concretely manifested answers to a number of my prayers, and her tender heart always desires to bring her children closer to her Son. I also regularly pray to Saint Catherine Laboure and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Q. What do you do in your spare time?
A. I love to invite myself over to peoples’ homes for dinner and share life with them. Having lived in Italy for two years, I grew to love Italian people (many of whom are my personal friends), Italian espresso, and the Italian language. I’ll share a good espresso with anyone willing to try, and I keep up my study of the language by listening to native speakers on podcasts. I also love sports. Basketball and tennis are my favorites, but I also love cross-country skiing (skate style) as my brother has gotten me into it.
Q. What is something most people don’t know about you?
A. I jumped off of a 70-foot cliff called Jenny’s Gulch into Pactola Lake in August of 2020, and I made it!
Q. If you could have supper with anyone from history (besides Jesus), who would it be and why?
A. I would have supper with Roger Federer. He is certainly one of the best (if not the best) tennis players of all time. Hearing some of his interviews, I am fascinated by his approach to the sport and would be interested to hear more from him about his life story and outlook.
Q. How can people in the diocese best help you on your journey?
A. In all sincerity, pray that I would continually consent to God conforming my heart and mind according to His will and to follow His promptings with boldness.