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?
My involvement with the BU Catholic Center was probably the biggest overarching factor. It was an amazing and vibrant community which helped foster a renewed spirit of faith in me and a desire to seek God's will. Many events that I experienced throughout my time there led me to vocational discernment. After attending a couple of discernment retreats and a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) conference, along with consistent prayer, I eventually heard the call to enter seminary and pursue the priesthood.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
My two largest influences were my FOCUS Missionary disciple and my Spiritual Director. They said they saw many good qualities in me and encouraged me to discern the priesthood. They consistently met with me and helped build up my spiritual life in general, which firstly helped put my life in order and secondly helped in my vocational discernment process. They were amazing examples of holy Catholic men who were devoting their lives in service to the Lord and encouraged me to do the same in my vocation.
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 in the life of a seminarian is crucial. A seminarian's formation is ultimately solidified in prayer, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament. All the things you learn in class and in other areas of formation are great, but it doesn't mean a whole lot unless you bring it to prayer and submit your entire self to God in prayer. You can't really hear when God is calling you to big things (like your vocation) unless you are familiar with His voice. That familiarity comes with constant prayer.
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?
Talk to a priest you trust and you feel is a good example. They can be your best initial point of reference. Get a Spiritual Director if you don't have one already. They can help in developing your spiritual life and help you along the way as you discern your vocation. Also, I would encourage you to attend a discernment retreat. It is a great way to meet seminarians who are in formation and learn about the seminary life.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
The thing I like most is having a whole daily structure revolving around prayer and being challenged to grow in the spiritual life. Prayer should be the central pillar of a priest's day. Having the opportunity to develop a habit of prayer and organizing the rest of your day around it will really pay off in the life of a priest. Also, the more I learn about the spiritual life and God, the more I grow in my love for Him, so challenging me to grow in this regard will also be very beneficial.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
Probably the greatest challenge is having to be greatly counter-cultural. We live in an age where there is greater animosity towards the Catholic Church because her beliefs are very much against the mindset of the times. The priest, being a public figure and representative of the Church, is at the forefront of this in the never-ending battle to reclaim the truth. The priest has to be willing to speak against these notions of the culture, which can be very discouraging to someone considering the seminary.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I love swing dancing, watching movies, reading up on anything comic-book-related, hiking, traveling, and making videos.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
Probably the most important thing is having good examples of priests. If there are good, holy priests that are exemplars of Catholic manhood, then it will definitely encourage more men to pursue the priesthood. Also, I know that for myself and many others, authentic Christ-centered friendships are what help lead others to conversion and to deeper faith. Having friends who will encourage you to pursue a vocation and give yourself to Christ in whatever way He may be calling you can help significantly.