directors of vocations
Co-Directors, Fr. Matt Alcombright and Fr. Michael Wood.
Fr. Matt Alcombright
June 2, 2012
St. John’s Seminary, Boston, class of ’12
Mary, Mother of Hope Parish in Springfield, MA; Diocesan Director of Deaf Ministry
I was born and raised in North Adams, MA. From the time of my youth the church had always been a very present entity in my life. When I was little my sister and I would go with my mother to our parish rectory when she would help with the bulletins. There we would visit with our pastor and one of the nuns who lived there as well. As I grew older I started taking piano lessons, which quickly led to serving my parish in music ministry as an organist for an occasional mass here and there. This occasional mass became a regular position when I was about 14 years old and I slowly began playing organ and choir directing for various parishes in Berkshire County up until I graduated from high school.
I was also heavily involved in Youth Ministry with the former Church Outreach To Youth (COTY) Center in North Adams. Through the COTY Center I was able to participate in World Youth Days (Rome 2000, Toronto, Germany, Australia), attend Young Life camps, participate in Alpha Retreat Weekends and became involved in mission trips to Haiti. When I graduated high school in 2001 I really had a solid belief in who Jesus Christ was in my life through all of my parish involvement and ministry work.
I entered UMass Amherst in the Fall of 2001 as a music education and piano performance major and became very active in the Newman Catholic Center both as a member of the student group there and as the Newman Center’s Music Director for two years. It was in my senior year at UMass that I began to think of what I was to do next in my life. No matter how much I “ignored” the call to priesthood the call became more and more present in my life.
When I finally decided to respond to God’s call I was in my last year at UMass and working as the Music Director at St. Mary’s Parish in Longmeadow. My activity in the parish had grown out of just the music director job to becoming totally involved in youth ministry, teaching religious education, helping with parish functions and many other activities.
I am so thankful for all the experiences that God has graced me with in life. The call to priesthood was not only through God but also through the people God planted in my life to assist me in my discernment.
The greatest joy in the priesthood is serving the people of God each and every day. Part of the excitement of being a priest is that no day is like the other. We have our normal daily tasks but God calls us in different ways to be a bridge between Him and the people we are called to serve. What a wonderful gift and honor it is to bring people closer to God through prayer and the sacraments.
I would encourage anyone who is seeking possible vocation to the priesthood or religious life to listen to God always but to also see how God is speaking to you through others and in what situations of your life is God calling you. Remember it is not “Listen Lord, your servant is speaking” but rather “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
Fr. Michael Wood
June 4, 2011
St. John’s Boston
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, West Springfield, MA
Growing up I went to Mass each Sunday with my family. I knew in an academic way from what my parents had taught me that the Eucharist was the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. One weekend, during a difficult point in my life, while I was recovering from a major surgery, something hit me at Mass. For the first time I saw Jesus present in the Eucharist, not in an academic way, but in a personal way. I saw in a new and powerful way that Jesus truly is present in the Eucharist, and that it is the priest he uses as an instrument to make that happen. At that moment I felt in my heart God asking me to allow him to use me as such an instrument.
Could God be calling you to be a priest?
God made you for a unique purpose. Even before you were born, he knew your vocation, your mission in life. And if you are a faithful Catholic man, God may be calling you for a higher purpose—to become a Catholic priest.