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?
Ever since I was a little kid, I've always looked up to priests as role models. There are so many priests who have influenced my life and their witness definitely helped to guide me into the seminary. My family is, of course, very important to me, for it was through my family that I first learned the faith. My college experience allowed me to embrace the Catholic faith, especially through my involvement in the CUA Knights of Columbus and Campus Ministry. Most important, however, was the sense of a call from God to be his priest. This only came after I was asked by a priest to consider it, and that simple question has had an enormous impact on my life.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
My family, especially my mother and grandmother who taught me the faith and have given me a beautiful example of living the Catholic faith each day. Also, the numerous good and holy priests who have inspired me through their dedication to their vocations and their example of self-giving love certainly influenced my decision to enter seminary.
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 to the life of any Catholic, but especially for a seminarian. A seminarian must pray daily to deepen his relationship with God, but also to be attentive to God's will for his life. We must be listening closely if we are going to be able to hear what God has to say, and we do this through prayer. Many times, we come to the seminary geared up for a life of holiness and service to the Church, but it is our prayer that makes us both holy and ready to serve, so a good prayer life is central to being a good seminarian and hopefully a good priest.
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?
I would offer three pieces of advice. First, pray hard and often. Don't simply pray to discern whether you are called to the priesthood, but pray out of a desire to deepen your relationship with Christ. Frequent the sacraments and see them as the most central form of prayer in your life, as a priest is primarily responsible to conferring the sacraments. Second, find a good priest who can serve as your spiritual director. Your spiritual director will help to guide you through discernment, if that is what you need. A spiritual director won't make your decision for you, but he will help to interpret the many things that are happening in your life to see if, indeed, you are called. Finally, develop a devotion to the Blessed Mother, if you don't already have one. Our Lady was the first one to say yes to Christ, so we must see her example as a model for our lives if we are to be good priests. She knows Christ so well, and can help to bring us closer to him, too.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
There are many things that I like about being a seminarian, but most important is the opportunity for greater prayer and study of the faith, as well as the great brotherhood that exists among seminarians and priests.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
There are so many challenges that young people face, especially a young man considering a vocation to the priesthood. These many challenges can be summed up in saying that our society points us in a direction - one of individualism and selfishness - but God has a different plan for us and guides us in a very different and opposing direction of love and truth and goodness. Young men considering the priesthood, even those of us already in seminary, must continually reject the ways of the world in order to truly follow Christ. It takes courage and fortitude to be able to walk this Christian path, but we must know that we are not alone and that there are so many people, especially the saints, who are here to help.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, trips to Washington, DC, reading, and watching TV and movies.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
I think there are three main ways to encourage vocations to the priesthood. First, pray often for vocations, especially in our parishes, schools and families. It is important that the idea of vocation an the openness to a call from God become more normalized, and one way to do this is to talk about it more often. Second, if you know a young man who might make a good candidate for the seminary, ask him if he has ever considered it. You never know how a simple question may impact someone's life! Finally, support your parish priest however you can, especially through prayer. The best advertisement for vocations is a happy priest, and a supportive parish goes a long way to help a priest be happy!