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 main factor that led me to enter the seminary and to discern the question of a vocation was that I was not satisfied with what the world was offering me. I felt that God was calling me to something better, to have a closer relationship with him. I began to question if God was calling me not to live for myself, but to serve his Church. So I entered the seminary because I wanted to be open to God’s will. Whatever His will is for me is, I believe, what will make me truly happy.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
The people that influenced me to enter the seminary were my catechists from the Neocatechumenal Way and two priests. I saw that these two priests lived a life of service to God and they were happy. Due to the influence of these priests I was able to see that I needed to serve others. This realization led me to enter the seminary to discern further if God was calling me to do the same with my life. I also saw how God had been present in the lives of my catechists and many other people, and that motivated me to find God’s will in my life.
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 seminary is really important. Prayer is crucial because it enables me to be in communion with God. A very important part of being able to discern God’s will is to establish a personal relationship with God. This relationship can only be formed through prayer. The seminary is a very good environment to enable God to come into our lives through 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?
As John Paul II would say, “Do not be afraid.” This is something that I would tell anybody who is considering the priesthood because at first it seems like something unconventional and difficult, but the reality is that God might be calling you to something greater than what you expect. I would also advise to be open about it with priests, at the parish. They often provide a lot of help in the discernment process. It is important to find a spiritual director, someone that you can speak to regarding questions about the vocation. Visiting the seminary and speaking to other seminarians is also helpful. I would also advise to spend time in prayer with the Blessed Sacrament. This was something that really helped me develop courage to be open to God’s will regardless of the allurements of the world.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
What I like the most about being a seminarian is that we live in community. Living in community has enabled me to see who I really am as a person, and this has brought me to see the love and mercy that God has for me. I see the seminary as a great place to grow. For example, the daily Mass, spiritual formation, and the daily prayers are elements that enable us to mature mentally and spiritually. Most importantly of all, the seminary equips us with the graces that enable us to be followers of Christ.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
One of the greatest challenges for a man entering the seminary is the notion that he will do it with from his own strength, but the reality is that God provides the grace to do His will, especially in the seminary. The secularized world that we live in today can be very enticing; that could lead a prospective seminarian to think that he will not find happiness at the seminary, but the truth is that the spiritual gifts that God has in store in the seminary are far greater, and more valuable than any other worldly experience.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
When I have free time I like to play soccer, racket ball, and surf the Internet. Currently, I have been trying to learn to play the acoustic guitar. One of my hobbies is to watch independent films from different places in the world. I also enjoy listening to various kinds of music. Some of my favorite genres are rock, reggae, pop, and instrumental.
What are some of your favorite authors/books/movies?
As I mentioned before, I enjoy watching independent films. I like them because they successfully portray the human condition in different societies. I’m also a fan of mafia films such as Goodfellas, The Godfather, and Donnie Brasco. One of my favorite novels is An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
The best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in Boston is by having priests and lay people who live their vocation to the fullest. We need people that are witnesses of Christ and who show that God is active in our lives.