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
Entering Boston College I wanted to explore my faith life more, but I did not know how. After taking my first theology class, Exploring Catholicism, I started to question whether nursing was my passion. After a prayer session with my mentor the words of Jeremiah 1:5 came to mind. These words were so powerful that I could no longer ignore the potential calling to the priesthood. God had grabbed my attention. Over the course of my next three years at BC I started to think about St. John's Seminary as a real possibility after graduation.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
My parents were my biggest influence in entering the seminary. From the moment I told my parents that I was thinking about entering the seminary they were joyful at the thought that God might be calling their son to the priesthood. Seeing their joy allowed me to put aside my own concerns about not being able to support them financially moving forward. I also have to give my gratitude to the person that guided me spiritually those first two years at BC: Javier Florez. It was in a prayer session with him in which God placed the words of Jeremiah 1:5.
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 is crucial in listening to God's voice. It was in the middle of a prayer with Javier that the words of Jeremiah came up. Had I not taken time to pray with him things could have turned down differently. Prayer allows me to just be aware of God's calling. In this busy world, I sometimes forget how important it is to pray in silence in order to have a proper conversation.
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 to take the first step in finding out if you have a vocation or not. Talk to your parish priest, friends, family or vocation director. Talk to whomever God puts in your path to talk about your vocation with. Do not forget to pray on your own, and to be in silence in order to hear what God asks of you. Remember to ask our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede for you.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
I get to know more about the Catholic faith. I also get to be myself. As a seminarian God begins to transform my life to become the man He wants me to be. I will get the chance to talk to kids, adolescent and the elderly about the faith. Seeing how there are Catholics who smile when they see a seminarian reminds me that this vocation is not for my sake, but for the people of God. What I like the most about being a seminarian is that I get to do what God envisions me to be, and in doing so I get to live a more joyful life.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
We live in a society that is constantly becoming more secular by the minute. Christian values and traditions that have been part of this country since the 19th century are starting to disappear because of what the media, movie and music industry are telling us is the modern thing to do. I must also mention that unfortunately some do not see the priesthood in the most favorable light, at the moment, because of what a few priests did in the past. Letting the negative comments that some might say about priests could effect a man's choice in considering the seminary.
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 spend as much time as I can at home with my parents. I am also a Football fan but nowhere near as much as a baseball fan. I am a huge superhero movies guy, and I try watching all these movies with my cousin and friends.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
Priests and seminarians need to live an authentic Christian life. This is the best way to attract men to the priesthood because actions speak louder than words. Also, joyful priests demonstrate that one can give oneself to God, and remain enthusiastic about life. Live the faith, talk about the faith and be not afraid to talk about one's calling to the priesthood. Being a witness to the faith is how vocations can blossom.