Seminarians with Bishop

Kevin Leaver

Home Town and State Stoughton , MA
High School Stoughton High School (2003)
Graduate

Seminary Attending Pontifical North American College
Class Year Second 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 priesthhod?
I've felt the calling to discern the priesthood since I was around 16 years old and on a mission trip in Arizona. It was only strengthened as I got older to the point where if I was serious about my relationship with the Lord, I knew I owed it to Him to enter seminary and be in a life of discernment and formation.

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? what is it about them that assisted you?
The main three people who assisted me are Fr Mark Murphy, Fr Joe Raeke and Fr Mike Boutin. Fr Mike was my Life Teen priest in high school. I remember him being the first young priest I had ever seen. His presence to the teens of our program led many of
them to relationships with the Lord, myself included. Fr Joe Raeke has been my pastor and boss the past 5 years. He lives his priesthood in every moment of everyday, and it is evident that he wants to share the love of God with others. He has been a source
of advice and inspiration for me the past 4 years of m active discernment. And finally while Fr Mark was a seminarian, his pastoral assignment found him assigned to the parish where I worked as a youth minister. Since we are the same age, he was a real go-to for the "hard" questions I never would dare to ask Fr Mike or Fr Joe. One day he finally said to me "Kevin, stop discerning weather you should enter the seminary. Enter the seminary and discern the priesthood."

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 cornerstone of a seminarian's life and can not be excluded. As St Paul says--pray without ceasing. When one centers oneself on the presence of the Lord, and becomes aware of this presence, he is able to hear the Lord's subtle voice all the more. In our busy world it is hard to find time to just "be" with God. Knowing this, there are times built into a seminarians day where he is able to still his heart and focus on the Lord's presence.

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?
Make prayer and the Sacraments, particularly Eucharist and Reconciliation an integral part of your life. Read the lives of the Saints, specifically Charles Borromeo (Seminarians), John Vianney (parish priests) and especially our Lady. Next, contact your diocesan vocation director and set up a meeting. After this make a schedule to have regular appointments. Talk to any priest of seminarian you know and ask them to share their vocation discernment process with you. Remember, just because you're discerning doesn't mean you will be ordained. It is the role of every Catholic male to at least discern the possibility that God may be asking him to serve as a priest.

What do you like most about being a seminarian?
I love the community aspect. Living in a house full of men who just want to know, love, and serve the Lord makes engaging in prayer and theological conversation much easier. The other men in the house are all present to each other, and while it isn't a house of 80+ close friends, it is definitely a house of 80+ brothers in Christ who are there for each other.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
Leaving your "world" behind is certainly a challenge. If we get used to living life a certain way--and then leave for the seminary, which is a much more simple way of living, it can be a shock for some men.\ Being used to having your own schedule of rising and sleeping, eating and socializing to a Horarium, where your day is essentially scheduled for you can also pose a challenge to some men.

What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? what are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I am trying to get back into the habit of running. It was something I enjoyed in high school and college and lost for several years. I also enjoy reading, spending time with friends and family, and traveling (when finances permit!)

What are some of your favorite authors/books/movies?
I do not have any specific author that I read all their published works, but rather subject matters. I love books that deal with Catholicism, Spiritual Groth and Hispanic cultures. Although I don't have a favorite author, I do enjoy reading books by Dr. Scott Hahn, as well as George Wiegel.

What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the archdiocese of Boston?
I think if Seminarians are more present to young men in the diocese it would dispel a lot of presumptions that are out there. Boston seminarians should make efforts to contact their home/neighboring parishes and possibly to a "vocations night" where a seminarian, recently ordained, and veteran ordained come in to talk to young men about their call and how God is still calling today.