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?
The first factor was a question that I had inside and felt I needed to answer, namely what do I want to do with my life? I carried this question in my heart to a discernment retreat and really struggled with the need for an answer. During the retreat, I realized that I needed God’s help to answer this question and I felt the Lord opening my ear and my heart to his voice. At some point during the retreat, I began to see clear and felt a desire to offer myself to the Lord and begin this journey to discern my vocation. I am from California and at the time I had no clue where I would end up in a seminary. To my surprise I was sent to the beautiful city of Boston!
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
I grew up in a family that transmitted the faith to me and to my siblings. Therefore, my family and my parents were the first ones saying if you have nothing clear, ask God for guidance. At first, I was hesitant because I was scared of what the Lord might have in store for me. After some time of thinking about my life, though, I told myself what the only thing worse that giving God a chance was agonizing on my own without knowing what to do. In fact, I felt curious and interested to see where the Lord would take me and to my amazement, I feel that my lot “fell in beautiful places”. I thank God for my family and for the way they challenged me to see beyond my reason and to give God a chance.
What would you say is the role of prayer in the life of a seminarian and what effect does it have on ones ability to see Gods call?
I believe that with praying you start to build a relationship with God. With time, God lets you see your life and your history with his eyes and, on closer look, it’s beautiful to see that there were moments when you would have drifted, but he never let go of you. This is kind of what happened with me and it serves me today as a reminder to pray more and stay close to the Lord. I also see that the role of praying helps us to be at peace with God and clears the clutter and confusion that sometimes get trapped in the heart.
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 tell that man to throw himself into the arms of the Lord because God doesn’t make mistakes. If he’s calling him to be a priest, better let the Lord prepare you than you waste your time agonizing on what to do. I imagine that once a man has said “yes” to the Lord and entered the seminary, if he finds out that God wasn’t calling him to be priest, then he will have no regrets about the amazing experience that was his time in the seminary.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
First of all, entering the seminary helps you cut with the noise and confusion of the world and helps you focus on discerning the voice of the Lord. In some ways the seminary is like a desert, but you’re not alone. I also have people around me like the rector, the vice rector, the spiritual director and other priests to guide me and help me get back up on my feet when I fall. There is a lot of wisdom in the seminary and much to be learned and always something to reflect on.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
The temptations of the world, to live without riches and the life of partying all night long. I think these are some of these challenges we face, even though they are nothing but silly little tricks of the devil because money comes and goes faster than the speed of light and the life of partying also does not last. Another challenge might be to think that a priest is someone without a family. Just because you don’t get married, you are not without children and a family.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your time?
I enjoy visiting and talking to friends and family, listen to them and reminisce about past adventures. I also like to watch movies, play sports, play board games to see my competitive self have felt with others.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
I think listening to the experiences of priests who are happy are the best means to call the attention of the youth to the priesthood. Priests once were young and they heard the voice of God, left something behind in order to be formed by God as priests. I also see that speaking about the beauty and the seriousness of marriage can be very helpful as means to encourage your men to explore a vocation to the priesthood.