School: St. John's Seminary
Year of Study: 3rd Theology
Tell us about your family background.
I grew up in Chicopee with two younger siblings, Michael and Molly along with my mother Eileen. I attended Catholic schools my entire life: St. Patrick’s, Holyoke Catholic and Our Lady of the Elms College. Being a part of the Catholic Church community was important to me and my family. And through it, I have had many opportunities to participate in and learn about my faith by active involvement in parish life. My mother worked for many years in parish communities so I was able to be a part parish life from a young age and was able to see the value of worshiping within a community. As a young adult, I have continued that participation as an organist, sacristan and religious education director.
Can you point to a time in your life where your faith began to deepen significantly?
I have had the opportunity for my faith to deepen gradually and steadily throughout my life. From the wonderful example that my mother set for me and my siblings about how important faith is in your life, through prayer and worship at Mass. I had that foundation of faith instilled in me early in life. Through Catholic schools I was able to learn more and grow in my relationship with God right through college. I was fortunate to have been nurtured by teachers whose faith made them wonderful examples of living out their vocation through education both academically and spiritually. In adulthood, I have been able to have great examples of living faith. People I’ve met in the church and relationships I have been a part of, have helped me to continue living out my faith. Most especially the priests in my life have provided a wonderful example of leadership and the joys of priesthood.
When did you first think about the possibility of the priesthood?What happened in your life to lead you to apply for seminary?
The first time I thought about the Priesthood I was in second grade. We were learning about the sacraments and reading a book about the seminary. I remember thinking at that moment that I would like to and could become a priest. From that point forward the call remained, greater at some times in my life and lesser at others. Never the less it did not go away and was constantly present in my life.
For most of my life, I told people that I was either going to become a priest or a bus driver. I worked in the school bus industry for eight years and was very happy. Despite being satisfied with my life, that call to priesthood kept coming back. In 2012 I began to have a more significant role in my parish, which led me to think more seriously about priesthood. Around the same time Pope Francis was elected and the things he said and did right away in his pontificate made me realize that the example he gave matched up with how I saw myself as a priest. I quickly realized that it was time to answer that call and begin to seriously discern the priesthood and enter seminary.
What advice do you have for a young man considering the priesthood?
The advice I would give first is to take the call seriously. It is easy to say “not me”; however God may be working in your life to direct you to priesthood without you realizing it. Also, talk to people that are close to you about the calling. Especially people who have a strong relationship with God and who live out their lives in the church, they can be invaluable assets to you. Take an active role in your parish community. The more you are around the parish and see a priest in action, the better your understanding of what a priest does and how he interacts with people will be. Create relationships with different priests, that way you will get an idea of how they live out their priesthoods in their own ways. Most importantly, pray regularly and attend Mass. This calling comes to us from God and He is an integral part of our discernment. If we don’t include Him we cannot fully discern our calling.