Mr. Paolo Strudthoff

Paolo Strudthoff
City
Rome
High School
ITC Luigi Pirandellol
Class Year
Third Theology

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
Although I was born in a Catholic family I was living my life as the world advices you to do: everything was focused on myself, on my aspirations and my desires. I was a musician, a singer-songwriter, and my career was starting to take shape. I was also working as steward for an important museum in Rome. Yet, I was completely empty and unsatisfied by life. In that moment of darkness, God, through miraculous events, showed Himself to me, bringing me back to the Church, to the Neocatechumenal Way, and rebuilding my life almost from scratch. During that period, I strongly felt the call to the priesthood as a response to all the marvelous things that God had done out of love for me. 

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
Many people influenced my decision to enter the seminary. However, if I have to mention one in particular, this is certainly the parochial vicar of the parish where I used to go to Mass in Rome: a missionary priest from Mexico called Father Hector. He was also my spiritual director during the year of discernment I had before coming to Boston.

Up to this day, I have only see a few priest with such a zealous and meek spirit. He was a man of prayer and, at the same time, a tireless consoler and an incredible preacher. A very simple preacher, indeed. Yet, I believe I still have to figure out the depth of the things he used to say. In every situation, even the most difficult and humiliating one, he has never lost his smile or his temper. There was a sort of divine certainty in the honesty of his happiness which alone showed his close relationship with the Lord.

I remember one day the grandmother of a little girl suddenly died and the only person with whom this little one wanted to speak was Father Hector. In her heart, no one, not even her parents would have been able to console her besides this priest. I will always remember this event. On that day I said to myself: ‘If I will ever be a priest, I would love God to make me a priest like he is’.

Certainly, if I am in the seminary today is also because of Father Hector’s wisdom, help and encouragement. 

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?
I think these years in the seminary are meant to make a man grow in a deeper relationship with God. Therefore, since prayer is the most powerful means we have to do it, it is fundamental. How can anyone have a relationship with someone else if they do not have many conversations every day? How can a man know what God wants from his life if he does not even know Him? This is the essential role of prayer in the life of a seminarian.

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 to trust God, Who loves us much more than we love ourselves. If He has called him to the priesthood, He will help this man to do His will; if, on the other hand, he will discover in the process of discernment that he is not called to be a priest but a father, blessed be God!

What do you like most about being a seminarian?
The way in which these years in the seminary are helping me to have a deeper relationship with God, and how this only happens in the measure in which I let go of my will, and I let my heart and my history be enlightened by Him. 

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
I think the greatest challenge is certainly to let the world behind you (affections, habits, projections) in order to let God be the only one in charge of your life.

What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I like to read, to play the guitar and to listen to different kinds of music. Recently, I started learning how to draw but this is something that I only do when I have more free time.

What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
I think the best way is to promote events which help them to have a personal encounter with the Lord, and also to show the youth that behind every priest there is a normal person with a beautiful history in which God has acted so as to bring her to Him.

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Paolo Strudthoff
City
Rome
High School
ITC Luigi Pirandellol
Class Year
Third Theology