Rev. Mr. Erick Gonzalez

Erick Gonzalez
City
Union City
State
NJ
High School
Emerson High School: Union City, NJ (1 Year)
North Bergen High School: North Bergen, NJ (3 Years)
Class Year
Fourth Theology

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?
One of the primordial factors that led me to the decision to enter the seminary to discern my Vocation to the Priesthood was my desire to do the will of God. Another factor was the calling that the Lord was making to me. This was something that I was struggling to accept in my life because of my desire to do my own will. Everything changed for me when—with the help of the Church—I accepted the will of God and adhered to the calling that the Lord was making to me.

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
Two priests were fundamental in my decision to enter the seminary, Fr. Fernando Carranza and Fr. Roberto Santamaria. Fr. Fernando taught me that love and affection come with correction. He was the priest through whom God saved my parent’s marriage, welcomed us back into the Church, and finally married my parents. The other priest very dear to my heart is Fr. Roberto Santamaria, who was my parochial vicar and who is currently the spiritual director at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Newark, New Jersey. Fr. Roberto helped me see the love of God for me, and showed me what great happiness a man like him can have by doing the will of God, through obedience and humility. But the most important thing about these influences was that they encouraged me to do the will of God and to discern my vocation, leaving me always in my free will to decide if this was my true calling, even though they may have known it from the start.

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 the inner dialogue and plea with and to God. For me prayer is most important and absolutely necessary, not only to see God’s call but for life itself. Important because when one has a relationship with someone, a dialogue is needed to get to
know and speak to each other, as is with God. As we need food to grow, so we also need prayer to grow; it is like a weapon for battle against our common enemy. Prayer is indispensable.

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?
Since it is usually us—man—who gets in the way of God’s plan for us, I would advise this person who is thinking of entering the seminary to have a disposition of openness to the will of God. I would tell him first, “Congratulations!” and second, “Get ready
for the battle!” If doing God’s will is the most important thing in our life, we should not be surprised to find many and ferocious obstacles on the way.

What do you like most about being a seminarian?
What I like most about being a seminarian is the ordered life that is lived in the seminary. The way in which the day is sub-divided and organized to give order to my life through this “Ora et labora” theme, “work and pray” leaves no time for sin, and
at the same time helps me to grow, mature, and to become responsible.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
What I think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary is his own will. To leave behind your home may be tough, or to let go of some of your affections, old friends, and family is difficult, and that’s why I am helped by Jesus’
word, “Any one who would come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I like reading books—especially novels. Playing sports such as Soccer, Basketball, and Football. I also like to play guitar—classical guitar.

What are some of your favorite authors/books/movies?
For sure my favorite book is “The Lord of the Rings” By J.R.R. Tolkien, or anything concerning that world. Short stories I love, most of all those by Edgar Allan Poe as well as his poetry. Of movies, I really like “Les Choristes”. Music I really enjoy are: the “Sheherazade” suite by Rimsky Korsakov, “The Magic Flute” an Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the music—as well as the ballet—of “Swan Lake” by Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky.

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 the Archdiocese of Boston is through the New Evangelization. Many youth today no longer practice their faith or no longer have one. First of all they need to be helped to see God’s universal call
to holiness to be a Christian, and then that they may be called to the priesthood. Priests in parishes can play a vital role encouraging everyone, especially young men, to be open to the will of God and to ask Him for discernment with their vocation.

Back to Meet Our Seminarians

Erick Gonzalez
City
Union City
State
NJ
High School
Emerson High School: Union City, NJ (1 Year)
North Bergen High School: North Bergen, NJ (3 Years)
Class Year
Fourth Theology