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?
I came to discern the signs of my vocation through my search for meaning and the desire to understand human suffering. Growing up, I was faced at a very young age with the reality of suffering through the premature death of my mother, and I felt determined to embark on a search for the meaning and the purpose of my life. I have begun to understand that God calls each person to do His will, and, through the help of the Church, my search has led me to the seminary to discern the vocation to the priesthood.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
My mother used to say that God has a plan for each person. Her faith and love of God encouraged me to enter the seminary. I know that the voice of God is not always easily heard and the signs He gives are not always clear. Nonetheless, inspired by my mother’s obedience to God, I decided to leave my studies and enter the path of discernment and formation 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?
When I pray, I know that God, who is my Father, listens to me and speaks to me. I need to pray as I need the Holy Spirit who gives discernment, wisdom and other graces that are necessary to follow God’s will. A seminarian cannot live without praying; it’s essential in his life as this relationship gives strength to live in the presence of 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?
Do not be afraid! The time in the seminary is a time of grace and a place, where you will experience God’s love. The rector, other priests in charge of the formation and the whole seminary community will help you to see the signs of the calling and will support you in the process of discernment.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
I like to discover who I really am. I have learned that in spite of my weaknesses or vices, I am loved and accepted the way I am by others, and above all by God. This gives me strength and hope that one day I will be able to help people to discover this unconditional love as well.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
The greatest challenge for a man considering the seminary is the distance from family and friends. The other trial is to leave behind a career and the aspirations of the “past life”. In the seminary we, seminarians, do not have money to learn that everything comes from God, who is our good Father. At the beginning, to accept that I could not have my own money to do as I pleased was the greatest challenge I had to face; now, however, I am learning how God provides for my needs and I am grateful that, through my formators, He is teaching me to become free.
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 play basketball, walk, read books and watch movies.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
The best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood is to support our families and priests because the witness of their Christian life is the best factor that can ignite the desire to follow God’s will. The joy of Christians is in my opinion the greatest advertisement that God is alive and wants our happiness.