What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?
I first heard a call when I was about 19 years old. The calling felt as simple as just wanting to be a Priest, having desires to do the work of a Priest, and wanting to spend all of my free time with Priests. This was something that just came out of the blue one day. Even though I was very active in my parish, I had never had any desire to be a Priest before this moment in my life. As the years went on, this desire was not going away and was growing stronger, it felt as if God was pushing me in this direction even though I did not understand it well. I began to do some research online about vocations and began to pray more regularly. After a few years of personal discernment, I reached out to the Vocation Office and shared the interest with my family and Priest friends. The more I prayed, the more the calling to enter the seminary became clear. It was not easy, there was a lot of fear, doubt, and questions. However, God was with me the entire time and said "Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?" Once I finally let my guard down, and let Jesus' voice enter my heart, I felt he called me to enter seminary.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
My biggest inspiration was my former Pastor Monsignor Robert Giggi. He was loved so much by the people, he was faithful to his vocation and he always put his parishioners and his parish before himself. Shortly before his retirement, growing tired from old age, he still was always ready to say Mass, anoint the sick or be present at any event. His love for Jesus, his dedication to his Vocation and his funny personality was a huge inspiration to me. Many other Boston priests have been so inspirational and helpful to me. To name a few: Fr. Michael MacEwen, Fr. Leroy Owens, Fr. Jeff Archer and Bishop Walter Edevean.
What would you say is the role of prayer in the life of a seminarian and what effect does it have on one's ability to see God's call?
Prayer is essential, if you don't pray you will never make it through. God constantly speaks to us through the power of prayer, and if we close ourselves off to it we will never know what we are truly called to do and therefore we will not be happy. The seminary is very fruitful, however can be stressful at times with the many expectations, therefore we need a solid prayer life so that we ourselves can bear fruit and have the strength to walk with Jesus.
What advice would you give to a man who thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?
Do not be afraid to explore the possible vocation of Priesthood. Talk to your Pastor, your Vocation Director or a Priest you feel comfortable with. Make frequent visits to the blessed sacrament and try to go to Mass every day. Read the bible and reflect on some of the passages from the new testament. If God wants you to enter Seminary he will make it known. Remember that just because you are exploring a vocation or entering the seminary, it does not mean you have just committed yourself to becoming a Priest. This is all a discernment process, a time to learn how to pray and to grow in faith. Remember that God walks with you every step of the way.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
I love the Daily Routine of praying with my brother seminarians, and the gift of fraternity. I love continuing to learn and grow in my faith. I have made many friends and have got to work with many wonderful Priests who inspire me every day.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
Sadly, we live in times were the Church has been put on the back burner. Internet, social media, sports, instant gratification and many material things have become our top priority. It leaves a lot of people confused or concerned for any man who would consider the life of Priesthood. We must remember that Jesus was rejected by the world and was crucified on the Cross. We then must act as Jesus did and be compassionate teachers, and spiritual leaders. Follow your heart and persevere in Prayer, the road will be opened for you.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I was a working Musician prior to entering the seminary, playing the Piano, Organ and Singing. I still enjoy playing music when time allows. I also enjoy going to the movies, going for long walks when the weather is nice and going out to dinner with friends.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
Strong Youth Groups and Strong Young Adult Groups in Parishes. Ministry is so important, laity and Priests who run any ministry should regularly promote vocations and be a welcoming presence.