What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter into the seminary and discern the question of the vocation to the priesthood?
While I was in High School, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in music, but as the years went by, it seemed more and more complicated. I was very confident in my ability; yet, the future wasn’t clear for me. When I was trying to choose a school, I didn’t know how to take the next step. I wanted to have a guarantee, but I didn’t have it. My discernment regarding the call to the priesthood began during World Youth Day in Krakow. On that pilgrimage I was able, for once, to be free from the distractions of the world and to focus on God’s voice. The long bus journey from Paris to Krakow allowed me to spend a lot of time with the Scriptures. It was during that bus ride that I thought about the priesthood, and to my surprise I wasn’t disturbed by the thought of it. The fact that I wasn’t disturbed was what really worried me. Up to that point, in fact, I was convinced that my life would have been that of a musician. For the rest of the pilgrimage I was deciding whether to enter the seminary or not. I was looking for happiness and, surprisingly, I found peace in the decision to enter the seminary.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
On the pilgrimage we were accompanied by a group of seminarians from the Diocese of Bridgeport. I knew them well and it was the spirit of joy they had that helped me the most. Seeing their joy in entrusting themselves to the Lord made me desire to have such a life. My future wasn’t clear to me, but at that moment I felt the desire to put my future in the hands of God. On that pilgrimage we stopped by the town of Ars, in France, where St. John Vianney served. We celebrated Mass where his body rests, and in his homily the priest accompanying us said, “Actually, to be a priest is really fun”. That took away one of the fears I had about the priesthood.
What would you say the role is 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 very important. The dialogue between the discerning seminarian and God must be constant. Having a relationship with God helps you understand what particular vocation is prepared for you. Prayer helps you to know God more deeply, so that you can really begin to love him.
What advice would you give a man who is thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?
To those considering the priesthood I would say to find some time, like a weekend, to spend somewhere alone with God. In the world we live in, many distractions prevent one from establishing a relationship with God, so it is almost impossible to pray about a vocation. I would also tell Him not be afraid, for when you give to God, He gives you more. When you entrust your life to God, you see that He only wants the best for you. Finally, I would tell him that a vocation to marriage isn’t any easier.
What do you like the most about being a seminarian?
Living in a house with other people discerning the priesthood is an amazing experience. Here we help each other out, and I really feel under God’s wing. This place gives me the opportunity to change, to learn how to love Christ more. Finally, the support of the seminary and the daily prayer schedule is certainly a great help for me to focus on God.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
I think the greatest challenge for a man considering the seminary is his own will: the plans he has for himself in the future. These plans may not be bad as such, but they can prevent him from seeing God’s will. It may happen that, as one looks into the priestly life a little closer, one doesn’t like it. Yet, time in the seminary teaches one how to love it. After all, it is like seeing some kind of food for the first time. How can you be convinced that you don’t like it, if you never really try it? Are we not always willing to try new things out of love for someone, so that over time we may develop a taste for it? In the same way, by entering the priesthood out of love for the Church, you could fall in love with the priesthood.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things that you like to do in your “free” time?
I like soccer and I’m always up to play some kind of sport, even if I’m not good at it. I like to watch movies, listen to music, and play games.
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 make the youth meet seminarians. If you meet a priest, you meet the “fruit” of many years in the seminary. On the other hand, when you see seminarians, you realize how God calls all kinds of people. This may really be a relief to someone considering the priesthood. It could drive out the fear that he wouldn’t be a good “candidate.” God calls sinners, and it really helps to know that. Everyone has his “flaws,” but this shouldn’t get in the way of discerning God’s will.