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
My call has always been to serve the community. Therefore, I have always been involved with the Hispanic Youth Ministry and helped as an Altar Server at my home parish, but something inside was telling me that I was not doing enough. That burning desire to engage in a deeper discernment of my vocation with Jesus Christ and His church was what led me to enter the seminary. Sometimes it can be hard to hear clearly our Lord’s voice in a world that is full of convoluted noise caused by the busyness of our daily life.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
God has been good to me. I have been blessed to have excellent role models during my discernment. Father Gabino Macias and Father Michael Nolan are both from St. Mary's in Waltham, and what I admire from them both is the way they live out their priestly ministry, always with love and enthusiasm. It makes me want to be like them.
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 should be the core of everyone's life, especially for seminarians. I believe that any vocation will fail if prayer is not the center of their lives. Through prayer, we can talk to God, and he responds in the silence of our hearts and makes us see our vocation clearly.
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
John Paul II said it many times, "do not be afraid." The best advice I could give is to always; pray, pray, pray and be open. I would recommend to anyone considering the priesthood to ask the Lord a simple question; What Can I Give You? And God will immediately turn our hearts to Mary because He wants us to give Him the answer that Mary gave; a "Yes" to His call. Jesus is looking for a "yes" from us to His call to holiness, and to His call to take part in His priesthood. But that "yes" will only be possible if you are not afraid.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
Everything about the Seminary is awesome. However, one of the things I like about being a seminarian is that I can live in a community where we all have the same goal; to be part of the body of Christ sharing His priesthood. Lastly, but for me, the most enjoyable part of being a seminarian is that I can attend daily Mass and daily Holy Hour.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
One of the greatest challenges that everyone faces is doubt. Questions like; Am I holy enough? Am I worthy? What if I fail? Would I be happy as a priest? All these questions make you doubt the call from God, and they arise because we are afraid. Then again, Jesus tells us not to be afraid because He will always be there with us, even if sometimes it seems like He is sleeping when we can't hear His answers to our questions.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
Well, there isn't much free time because there are many things you are supposed to do. But definitely, I enjoy spending time with my brothers seminarians, either at watching a Friday night movie, play some sports or just engage in random conversation.
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 in any diocese would be to have great role model priests. In the Archdioceses of Boston, I think that one of the best ways to encourage vocations is to be close to the people, especially those men who attend the annual discernment retreat. It would be ideal to follow up with them to foster a vocation. To ask how are they doing, and guide them trough their discernment. To answer their questions, and to ask questions when necessary. And finally to show them the life of the priest by inviting them to see the works of mercy that a priest does every day.