June 2, 2012
St. John’s Boston
St. Thomas the Apostle, West Springfield, MA
I come from a pretty religious family that certainly was not perfect but also took their faith seriously. Going to Mass on a regular basis was an important thing that we did as a family. My parents have been married for nearly 35 years and I am the oldest of 6 children.
My faith life changed significantly during my junior to senior year in high school. I attended a powerful,life changing retreat my senior year. This retreat led me to reflect on the more important questions of life including: what is God asking me to do with my life? It was also around this time that a priest told me that he thought that I might have a vocation to priesthood based upon some of the questions that I would ask him. I was afraid to seriously consider a vocation to the priesthood because I initially wanted to get married and have a family.
God had bigger plans in store for me however. Several events led to me seriously considering the priesthood.
During my sophomore year of college, I can remember making a decision one day that I wanted to start attending Mass on a regular basis again. I also felt a need to go to confession for the first time in about two years. This entire process starting taking place around the time of September 11, 2001. It was at this particular time when I thought to myself that maybe God is calling me to be a priest. I wanted to be happy and virtuous but nothing seemed to be filling the void that I was experiencing in my life. I started to pray more and asked God what He wanted me to do with my life. One evening after a moment of deep prayer, I asked God if He wanted me to be a priest and if the answer was yes that I would be one out of love for Him. At that very moment I experienced such a peace and joy that the world simply cannot give. I knew that I had to pursue further discernment to the priesthood. I have been discerning priesthood ever since and there have been many challenges and hardships for me along the journey of discernment. However, these years have been the most fulfilling and joyful years of my life. In particular, strong devotions to the our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary have truly helped me to persevere in pursuing the priestly vocation.
I applied to seminary shortly after graduated from Our Lady of the Elms College in 2006. I was ordained in June of 2012.
My greatest joys of priesthood are celebrating the Mass, preaching, hearing confessions, anointing the sick, pastoral counseling and just making myself available to helping others in any capacity. I am a people person and get excited at the opportunity to make new friends and bring the person of Christ and the Gospel message to others. In turn, the people of God have been tremendously good to me and a true joy to serve. I love my people with all my heart!
I advise any man discerning a call to priesthood to pray, pray and pray some more. When you pray, do not ask for your own will but in humility, sincerity and truth ask God to reveal His plan for you in your life. If when you think about being a priest, a continual sense of peace and joy remain, then that’s a good sign that you are being called to priesthood. Following God’s will leads to peace and joy, fruits of the Holy Spirit and indications that we are following His will in our lives.