Seminarians with Bishop

Steven Clemence

Home Town and State Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul - Brazil
High School Leonardo da Vinci

seminary you presently attend Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary

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?
The biggest factor in my decision to enter the seminary was the Neocatechumenal Way. Through my Neocatechumenal Way community I began to go to Church and to discover my faith, which eventually led me to listen the call of the Lord. Being faithful to my community also helped me to be open to do the will of God, to renounce my own desire to have a family, and to discover the privilege of the vocation to the priesthood. I know also that the prayers of many people around me helped immensely in my discernment, especially because I had many obstacles to overcome before entering and during my time at the seminary.

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? what is it about them that assisted you?
especially because I had many obstacles to overcome before entering and during my time at the seminary.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?: I was influenced by the spirit of many priests ordained from the Redemptoris Mater Seminaries. I saw in them a freedom and a disposition to leave everything and to go announce the love of God to people everywhere the Church sent them; also their love for
the mission was something that always called my attention. One of them was a Spaniard priest who would come to my parish and spend his vacation time helping out with the evangelization around that area. That was one of the many witnesses that helped me to abandon my ‘nets’ and to follow the Lord.

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?
First of all, prayer is an essential part of the life of any Christian. For me particularly, I believe that it is a foothold at all times, especially in tribulations and during exams, because it provides a clear opportunity to be consoled and encouraged by the Lord. One of its many fruits is to act according to the heart of God and have faith to believe that happiness can only be found in God.

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 would tell him that it is a beautiful life. I would also tell him that the most important thing is not whether or not one has grown up inside the Church practicing the faith but to remain open to the call of God. I am a witness that God sometimes calls to the priesthood even those who are outside the Church. As the angel said to Mary, and as Blessed Pope John Paul II repeated always, “do not be afraid”, because God never asks for something impossible to be done; if he asks for something, surely He will also give the graces necessary to achieve it.

What do you like most about being a seminarian?
What I like most is to be able to give up my life and my plans in order to serve God through other people. It is an immense joy to be able to be an instrument in the hands of God when announcing His love to His people in spite of my unworthiness. It is also a privilege to witness how God helps the people who are in great sufferings while seeing many miracles in their lives.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
I think that the greatest challenge is to renounce all that the world offers, both good and bad. In other words, to renounce what often we hold as the most desirable which leads many to try to gain the world while losing their soul.

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 play and to watch soccer whenever I can, however the weather in Massachusetts is not as favorable as in Brazil and we do not have TV in the seminary. In my free time I like to listen to music and go for a walk when possible.

What are some of your favorite authors/books/movies?
My favorite author is Blessed Pope John Paul II, especially The Theology of the Body and Gift and Mystery. Besides his books, there is another one which I have read many times, which is The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. As for movies, two of my favorites are Top Gun and Shawshack Redemption, to mention only a couple.

What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the archdiocese of Boston?
I think that the best way is through the example of the many priests present in the Archdiocese, because they are the first impression of what priesthood looks like. Once I heard a priest saying that in order to promote vocations, we need happy priests.
It is also important to intensively work to promote awareness of vocations in the parishes. Many people are discouraged to pursue their call because they either are not supported or they have misconceptions about the priestly life. I myself never wanted to be a priest because I thought that I could never be happy as a priest and I had the impression that it was something for those who were altar-boys. With me it was the opposite: I seldom went to Mass, and I had never been an altar boy. I thought that I was not qualified, but I see that for God nothing is impossible. Also, I have learned that there are sad priests but I also discovered that there are happy priests and this made me consider the possibility of being a priest.