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?
Simply put, I think that I had and have a deep desire to more intimately unite myself with the person of Christ in the particular way that priesthood offers. The priest is able to do something that no one else can do — he stands in persona Christi. In that moment in which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, Christ acts in and through the priest in a unique and intimate way. To be able to offer the sacrifice of the Mass is one of the greatest gifts available to man and, God willing, I hope someday to be able to participate in that gift.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
The people who really influenced my decision to enter the seminary were the mothers and fathers of the families I saw every weekend at mass and the men and women I met every day who sought something more out of this life. Perhaps the biggest influence or help to responding to the call was the time that I spent on mission in Perù. There, I was able to minister to the people in a way that helped me understand my deep desire to serve and be a sign of Christ in the midst of a world of suffering and loneliness.
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 breath of the soul. Just as oxygen gives life to the body, so does prayer animate the soul. The better equipped our body is through exercise and good food, the better it can respond to the physical needs of our daily lives and the soul is no different. The more we pray and grow in our relationship with Christ, the better we’re able to respond and understand His will on a daily basis and this includes our vocational discernment.
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?
Come visit us! Get to know a seminarian who can answer those questions you might not be willing to ask a priest. Or just get to know a seminarian as a person — not just some guy you see up there on the altar. I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown about what life is like being a priest or a seminarian and oftentimes this can hold a man back. The best thing a man considering the priesthood can do is to dispel the misconceptions and get rid of any fears he might have about what it means to be a seminarian or priest.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
The most immediate thing that comes to mind is the life of community. I’m fortunate to live a beautiful house with a great group of guys who strengthen each other to live out the faith ever more deeply on a daily basis. This is, of course, not to mention the obvious benefits of having multiple chapels in the house and the sacraments so readily available to us every day.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
In a word — the unknown. Most men have no idea what it means to truly be a priest. They don't know any priests on a personal level and certainly have no conception of what it means to live out the priesthood on a day-to-day basis. I know in my own experience, I had a false conception of what it meant to be a priest. That held me back for far too long from even considering the priesthood.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I love to sail. From a young age, I was fortunate to spend a lot of time on Lake Winnnipesuake where I learned how to sail. Since moving to Boston a few years back, I’ve continued to sail both on the Charles River and on the Boston Harbor. Last year, I began sailing in some of the informal regattas with Community Boating Inc.. Whenever time permits (and weather), I like to get out on the water.
What are some of your favorite authors/books/movies?
When I read, the books tend towards the lives of the saints as well as those kinds of books that have something to teach me (e.g. the classics). Recently, I became reacquainted with the works of C.S. Lewis, whom I think has some of the most easily understood commonsense philosophy available in print. I’m now reading a few of his novels and hope someday to read everything he’s written
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
By building relationships between priests/seminarians and the people. I think many people have a false view or understanding of what it means to be a priest and, as a priest I know recently said to me, they “think that the priest says mass in the morning and then goes and sits in the rectory the rest of the day.” There is so much more to the priesthood — certainly more than most imagine.