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?During the years before entering St. John's Seminary, I was the admissions director at Cristo Rey Boston High School. Through my work in that position I had the blessing to get to know many youth and families from the inner city. It was in working very closely with them, both at school and at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain that I rediscovered a call to a mission of total self-giving. That experience, along with my personal life of faith lived in a community of the Neocatechumenal Way, have helped me to discern my vocation to the priesthood.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
There have been many individual priests that have essential in my discernment. Having had the chance to live and work very closely with Fr. Carlos Flor, pastor in Jamaica Plain, helped me enormously in understanding what it means to live a priestly life. His sincere love for Christ and for God's people and his incessant zeal for souls have impacted me greatly, igniting in me a desire to live my life in the same way.
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?
One of the greatest gifts of living in the seminary is the initiation into a life of prayer. It's the heart of the life in the seminary and it becomes the heart of the life of every seminarian and priest. Without a life of prayer, nothing else we do would be possible. A life that seemingly lacks gratification and self-fulfillment cannot be lived without the real gratification that comes from the Lord. In this way, neither studying nor pastoral work nor community life can be lived without prayer. Thus, personal prayer, sacramental life and love for the Word of God are the most essential aspects of seminary life.
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 always taught my students not to be afraid of God. God has a plan for everyone and our mission is to discover what that plan is. While many times we want to settle for what seems pleasurable or what's going to make us "happy" now, the truth is that only doing the will of God will actually make is Happy. So, my advice to a man thinking about his vocation is to constantly look for the will of God and to seek the help of the Church in that search. Once you have found it, don't let it go, because it will bring you a happiness that nothing else will.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
What I like most about being a seminarian is probably living in a community with other men who are, like me, seeking to do the will of God by responding to a call to the priesthood.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
The greatest challenge facing men considering the seminary is probably the generalized culture of pleasure that we live in. When everything around us is a constant invitation to seek pleasure, a life of simplicity, chastity and obedience may like a step down or something not worth doing. A life of faith lived in a community and exposure to joyful and passionate priests and seminarians can help dispel the prejudices.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
On my "free" time I enjoy spending time with friends and doing youth outreach. I enjoy independent study of Scripture and playing the guitar.
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 is to help young men to realize that each one of us has been called to a great mission of love, whether in marriage or in the priesthood. Having young men be in contact with priests and seminarians who are happy to be doing the will of God with joy and passion always goes a long way to enkindle in young men the desire to look for the will of God and to open them up to the possibility that God may be calling them, too, to this extraordinary vocation and mission.