Getting to Know Your Seminarians: Michael Santos


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Get to know a little more about the men you are praying for as they continue to prepare for the priesthood.

Age: 24

Year of Study: Pre-Theology I

Home Parish:Holy Ghost Church, Tiverton

Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Tiverton, R.I. From pre-school to 8th grade, I went to the Montessori School of the Angels (now in Fall River, MA) and then to Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth, MA. For college, I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and to the Kartause in Gaming, Austria for a Bachelors in Philosophy, and to Providence College for a Masters in Higher Education.

How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
I first heard the call as a quiet voice, a faint attraction, a few days after my first experience of Adoration at the end of 8th grade, on my last day at the Montessori School mentioned above. It did not start out as a full blown call to the priesthood, just a desire to spend more quiet time with Jesus in Adoration. In high school and with the Adoration chapel at Holy Ghost, that quality time was pretty easy to get on demand. Before I knew it, I was spending one hour in silence with Jesus almost every day after school, and an interest in the priesthood grew to a point that I could not ignore it if I tried. Between this and the encouraging example of a friend, I felt called to get up and start walking, so I called the vocation director and things unfolded naturally from there.

Favorite Hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself:
I love traveling and the outdoors, and I am most in my element when I am either on a hike or orienting myself to a new place. I am an Eagle Scout, so you could say it is in my blood.

What is something that readers may not know about what it is like to be a seminarian?
Just like many of the faithful, seminarians have hearts that move with the Church. Whatever makes the church rejoice or wince in pain has the same effect on seminarians: Marian feasts are always happy days for us; we feel crushed on Good Friday and then feel on top of the world at the Easter Vigil; watching a canonization is like a welcome home party, and any bad news about the clergy is like a punch in the stomach. Every well-meaning seminarian loves the Church and wants to protect and provide for her, just like a husband for his wife.

What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood — or maybe hasn’t even considered it at all?
The Lord is only heard in silence. Set aside some quiet time with Jesus in the Eucharist, every day if you can. If you feel even a faint attraction to the priesthood, have courage, jump in and see where the Lord brings you. Come to our next discernment retreat. You have nothing to lose that is not worth losing. Even if you find out later that your calling is elsewhere, you can be glad in knowing you have become a better man for walking this path for a while, and that you acted like a saint for trusting the Lord with your future. I promise you that the Lord does not waste anything you give to Him. Any sacrifice you make out of love for Jesus and Mary will return to you one hundred-fold and will help cement your place in Heaven (Mark 10:30).

How do you feel we can best support seminarians?
Few things in this world brighten a seminarian’s spirits more than to know someone is praying for him. The best way to support seminarians is to find the vocations poster at your parish, choose one of us, and pray for that young man by name throughout the school year. (And definitely let him know you are praying!) Call your parish office and have Masses said for him. Many parishes have cards for this occasion, please have some filled out and mail them to your “spiritually adopted” seminarian. We cherish and respond to every word of support we are given, but we have a soft spot for Mass cards, they are extra special! I was given some for Christmas last year and the thought of it still makes me smile.

What is the most surprising part about being a seminarian?
I am most surprised by the wave of support and affirmation that came almost immediately after receiving my letter from Bishop Tobin. I find that many people, even those I had never met before, are eager to speak up and voice their joy that their prayers for vocations are being answered right in front of them. I am happy to finally start meeting the people who have been part of the journey all along.

Are there specific life changes that you have had to make to be successful at seminary formation?
When someone makes the step to discern publicly and begin seminary formation, he learns how to breathe, eat, and sleep “go to Heaven and bring others, too.” I have had a few worldly life ambitions, like becoming a history teacher or academic advisor, seeing the world, and even raising a family. To be successful at seminary formation, I have had to adapt these ambitions to suit the best interest of the Church: to help God’s children make it home to Heaven. It does not mean I have to give up on my dreams, but saying “yes” to God means re-thinking the way I see my dreams and being ready to make sacrifices to reach something even better. Married couples make sacrifices all the time, so I am learning to be generous with my future wife, the Church.

Is there any saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
Yes, St. Louis de Montfort is my big brother, and he has been a great help over the years. Reading his homilies in True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin changed my life. It was his courage and his love for Our Lady that moved me to jump in and ask for a seminary application.

— Photo and interview by Laura Kilgus

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