Get to know a little more about the men you are praying for as they continue to prepare for the priesthood.
Year of Study: Pre-Theology I
Home Parish: St. Joseph Church, Newport
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I am originally from Rehoboth, Mass., where my family still resides. Though I grew up in Mass., I frequented the parishes that my grandparents went to when I was growing up. I fondly remember attending Mass at St. Joseph’s in Newport and St. Leo the Great in Pawtucket throughout my childhood. I am a proud alum of the great La Salle Academy in Providence where I had the special privilege of attending both the PEGASUS 7/8 Program and the high school program.
What does the word “vocation” mean to you personally?
Vocation is to be called or selected for a particular service. In the Christian context, our vocation has an impact not just on an individual, but on the whole community. Thus, the discernment of our vocation is something that must be done in the context of the Christian community and within the interior life of prayer. I recognize that vocation is a word that has a particular connotation in the Catholic-sphere, but it is one that we must strive to understand in both the context of religious states of life and life of Christian marriage, for each person’s vocation has a deeply important role in God’s plan for us.
What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood — or maybe hasn’t even considered it at all?
Pray. Pray. Pray. The Lord never abandons us in our desire to know and love him. Any man who seeks to do the Lord’s will should have a conversation with Jesus in his heart every single day. Speak to God about your fears, joys, tribulations and aspirations in life. It is when we become vulnerable before the Lord that we can hear him call us. Whether the Lord is calling someone to priesthood, married life, or another state of life, our desire to know him and to listen to his voice will surely lead to a fruitful discernment of his will. So, do not be afraid to open your heart to God and to allow his love to transform your life. When you allow God to take the primary place in your heart, all other things will become clear.
How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
During my time at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to pray and reflect on where the Lord may be calling me to serve. With access to the sacraments and my affiliation in the local council of the Knights of Columbus, I had a space to consider that the Lord was inviting me to discern more seriously the priestly life. The support of friends and family, the guidance of professors and priests and religious in my life provided a backdrop of support and wisdom from which I was able to make the step to apply to seminary.
What is something that readers may not know about what it is like to be a seminarian?
Even in the short time since being accepted as a seminarian I have been able to see how seminarians have the important responsibility of praying with and for the community. It is essential that the seminarians be a sort of beacon for other young men and women who wish to live out their faith, but perhaps don’t see anyone else their own age doing so. Seminarians are public witnesses for our fellow young Catholics that God calls all of us to live out our baptismal gifts of priest, prophet, and king with great zeal! We are able to live our lives for him — no matter if we are called to the priesthood or another state of life, and we must encourage and accompany each other on that journey.
How do you feel we can best support seminarians?
There is something to be said about the warm feeling that I get when someone stops me to ask if I am a seminarian. I am floored by the love and care that so many people in our parishes throughout the diocese have for seminarians. The greatest support often comes in the smallest gestures. When someone stops me to say a quick hello and promises to pray for me — I am overjoyed with the knowledge that someone thought of me and wants to see me flourish. I am so grateful for these moments of encounter and that people genuinely wish to see many new priests in the diocese.
Is there any saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
St. Thérèse of Lisieux. For anyone who does not know the story of St. Thérèse, please take some time to read about her life at Carmel and her family. I firmly believe that St. Thérèse has been an integral part of the discernment process for most priestly vocations. I see the fruits of her prayers for me each time I ask for her intercession and offer her my intentions. There is a tradition that says St. Thérèse will leave a rose for you as a sign of her affection and her prayers. Needless to say I have been blessed with many instances of St. Thérèse’s spiritual closeness to me through such signs. She promised to spend her entire heaven doing good for God on earth, and I am convinced that she prays without ceasing for me before God now.
Favorite Hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself:
Two brief fun facts about me: I played the Phantom in my high school production of the Phantom of the Opera and I am a Past Grand Knight of my college Knights of Columbus council in Washington, D.C. Spending time doing service activities or getting up on stage for a little musical fun constitutes some of the variety of the things that I truly enjoy getting to do.
— Photo and interview by Laura Kilgus