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
Junior year in college Fr. Mark, the vicar at my parish St. Agatha's, answered my prayer by asking me if I would like to be a priest. Junior year in college I asked God through St. Jude's intercession to help find God's will, and what better way than through Fr. Mark, the vicar at my parish St. Agatha's. After entering a deeper prayer life with Christ through Mary, spiritual direction, working after college and striving to live a good life with my family, I believed that God desired me to be a priest. The thought of being a priest, of offering myself with Christ's sacrifice, continues to fill me with the deepest joy because it is precisely the way God wants me to love and serve him.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
Fr. Mark Murphy, Msgr. McLaughlin, Fr. Thomas Buckley, Fr. Ron Tacelli SJ, and Fr. Paul McNellis SJ were great influences who by their daily witnessed to the priesthood and spiritual direction guided me towards where God was calling me to be formed, as a diocesan priest.
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 lifeblood of a seminarian; it removes the beams in our eyes, opens the ears to hear the Holy Spirit, and fills the heart with adoration and love of Christ and His Church. Prayer makes excuses to thank God and pray for others. It makes me realize how much the world needs prayer to turn back and abide with 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?
For anyone discerning, first off praying for vocations-I remember when my home parish would always pray for vocations after the Rosary to the Blessed Mother. The day I laughed at her intercession was the same day I ended up praying seriously! Going to Daily Mass, practicing chastity, alter serving, witnessing the life of the Boston parish priest, visiting the seminary, are all fruitful. And finally, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament and listening to where Jesus is drawing your heart.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
The life of prayer with my brothers, and the deepening relationship with Christ have been the greatest parts since I came here. And because of my food background, I have to say thanks to David, Ron, and Abdel, the great chefs behind the meals, along Marie, Dan, Edie and the dining staff at the seminary.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
Without a doubt chastity. It is very easy to misconstrue the virtue as negative, but it brings a superabundance of joy when he realizes how chastity prepares him to love Christ and his Bride without limit. It takes courage to discern the priesthood, and it takes courage to be chaste for the sake of loving Christ and his members with everything you have, body and 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 the outdoors, especially running, and playing almost any sport. I also enjoy cooking, becoming engrossed in a biography, and catching up with my friends.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
I know that I can be a witness to the vocation God called me to be, first by speaking and praying in parishes but also bringing Christ into my everyday life: while traveling on the t, grabbing a meal in town, you fill in the blank. I am proud to be a Catholic seminarian for Boston, and love to share the gifts God gave me with the people he leads me to meet. Fr. Toomey at St. Agatha's encourages the parish, including the Legion of Mary, to pray for vocations and encourage boys to alter serve.