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
Before entering the seminary I used to meet with a group of students in the parish. I also participated in the Way of the Cross around the city, and had the experience of going to a pilgrimage. I was always in the church but I started to take part in the big events in the church. The most important for me was the Neocatechumenal Way where I discovered myself and my vocation.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
When I finished my studies I started working at “Print House”. Before going to work I used to go to mass. There was an amazing priest. The mass would start at 6:30 AM and this priest always gave a homily. His homilies were short because people had to go to work, but they always were from the heart. He gave them without any notes or paper, but he always spoke from the heart. This impressed me especially because there were only 4 or 5 people at daily Mass. I found it amazing that this priest had been preparing a homily for only four or five people. I think this priest had a strong influence on my vocation.
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 for me is very important because it is where I can connect and speak with God. Also prayer is where God provides armor for me to fight the daily battle against my temptations. It especially helps me when I ask for the aid of the Virgin Mary and pray the prayer of the heart, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me a sinner!”
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 think the first vocation is to be a Christian Man. If God is calling someone to be a priest, I honestly think that it is a wonderful invitation to embark on an unknown journey where He is the guide. It is important to realize at this point, that it is no longer you who decides where you go. God is in control. This will be the beginning of the most astonishing experience in your life, something that the world could never give you and seldom understands. Sometimes you will try to take control back from God but soon you will realize that this does not make you happy. Your Heavenly Father knows what is best for you because you are His child whom He sometimes needs to correct, and correction is always a sign of love. My time in the seminary has been the most fruitful in my life in terms of forming and shaping me as a Christian Man.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
This is a tricky question. My vocational call is not to be a seminarian, but to be a priest. Therefore to be a seminarian is a transitional time, which will hopefully lead to my becoming a priest. It is not a matter of liking it or not. Many times the time of the seminary is like a "desert" where I find myself looking for God and discovering who I am. Is it a good time? Absolutely! Without this experience I would certainly be much less prepared and ready to give my life for others as a priest. Personally, I find it most exciting waking up in the morning and entering each day with a renewed purpose that I am doing the will of God, and may, please God, someday become a priest.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
I remember when I was assigned to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston, I had to spend some time at home waiting for my visa. Day-by-day, I felt more attracted than I had ever been to the world and its allurements. I had a romanticized view of marriage, and I developed a picture of reality that I knew contrasted sharply with what my own experience had shown me. I then thought that, as much as these things made me tense, they also helped me to see that I was on the right track, and that these "temptations" were necessary to make me simple and to remain focused on my vocation.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
What I really enjoy is snowboarding. I love to slide on powdery fresh snow on an uncharted mountain. The silence around me and the cold breeze in my face are exhilarating. I still have a hope that maybe one day I’ll be able to go (maybe by helicopter?) to the peak of a mountain from where I can slide down like never before. Who knows? God has already spoiled me a lot as it is—so maybe one day this will happen. In the meantime, I am learning how to play the guitar and singing, which allows me to call the other seminarians to conversion—and to patience! (It's obvious that I enjoy playing the guitar much more than they enjoy listening to me!)
What are some of your favorite authors/books/movies?
I find St. John Vianney and the Devil (originally written in Polish) very inspiring. As for movies, Touching the Void (2003) left a deep impression on me, especially a scene about a man who was brought up as a devout Catholic, but had long since stopped believing in God. Throughout his life he had always thought that on his deathbed he would just pray a few Hail Mary's and he would be saved. As he was dying, however, this did not happen: he found himself with no hope in an afterlife. This was based on a true story that helped me to realize the precious gift of my life and how I must be careful not to lose the graces God gives me each day.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
I think that it is essential to tell prospective vocations that the most important thing is not whether you get married, become a priest, or are single; rather it is discerning the will of God for you accepting the history and life that God gives you.