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?
In 2013, at the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, I had a strong experience of the Lord calling me. The words from the gospel of Mathew, “Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of man,” particularly struck me and I felt the Lord inviting be to begin an adventure with him. Seeing so many people “starving” for hope also enkindled in me the desire to give them God in his word. I was also inspired by the way many priests ministered to my family when we discovered that my mother had cancer. My pastor, Padre Jurandir, and some other priests faithfully served my mother in the most trying time that our family had ever gone through. The impeccable and incredibly selfless witness of these priests, consoling my mother, giving her a word of hope, helping us interpret her suffering with faith, left an indelible mark of gratitude in me and led me to reconsider my vocation and to return to the seminary.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
The first person that influenced my decision to enter the seminary was Bishop Dom Virgilio de Pauli. After him, I met a priest called Fr. Justino, who was a missionary in the South of Brazil and his zeal to evangelize intrigued me. Fr. Justino is still very close to my family and through his love for the evangelization, I felt the desire to become a missionary. The simplicity of Dom Virgilio and the missionary spirit of Fr. Justino helped me to see the importance of priests and to open my heart to the calling to 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?
The role of prayer is to maintain a conversation with God and men. In my opinion, it is in prayer that we can discover God’s will. Thus, from prayer, we receive the graces that we need to direct our lives in accordance with the will of our Heavenly Father.
What advice would you give to a man who is thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?
“At once they left their nets and followed him.” This is how Peter and Andrew left they families, businesses, and careers to become fishers of men. Jesus called them, and immediately they left everything to follow him. I would tell a man thinking about his vocation that if the Lord calls him, he should leave everything immediately and follow him. And not look back!
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
I appreciate the dignity of life that God has given me in the seminary through the schedule, service, prayer, and the sacraments.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
I think that the greatest challenge is the fear of abandoning the world to follow Jesus. Jesus does not tell Peter and Andrew to stop being fishermen; on the contrary, he makes them fishermen in a different way. Leaving the old nets behind allows the Lord to teach us how to live according to the will of God for us.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
In my free time, I like to go out for a walk, play basketball, read, and to play musical instruments. On my vacations, I like to go back to Brazil where my family owns a farm. There I love to go horseback riding in the fields.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
I think the best way to encourage vocations is to show young men the value of the priesthood in the life of the people, especially the impact of a priest’s ministry in those who suffer the most. I was encouraged to enter the seminary because I felt loved by God through the ministry of the priests that assisted my family. No one can give what he has not received. Thus, the young people will be encouraged to discern their vocation to the priesthood when they see the love of Jesus Christ through the witness of priests.