Get to know a little more about the men you are praying for as they continue to prepare for the priesthood.
Year of Study: First Pre-Theology
Home Parish: Saint Kevin Church, Warwick
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Warwick and have lived here my entire life. I went to my parish school, Saint Kevin (Go Knights!), for nine years, graduating in 2013. I then moved on to Bishop Hendricken High School (Go Hawks!), graduating in 2017. I then attended the University of Rhode Island (Go Rams!), graduating in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts after double majoring in secondary education and history, as well as a minor in philosophy.
How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
The wise-guy answer is “Not easily.” The more accurate answer is that I’m still discerning. I’ve always admired the many priests in my life, so I had some great role models. Of course, growing up I also had some pretty horrible examples of men who failed to live up to the priestly promises they made. I knew these men where the exception, not the rule. I’m now humbled by the possibility that I might someday be someone’s only example of the priesthood. At the same time, the opportunity to help rebuild the credibility of the church very much appeals to me.
Ever since I can remember, I have liked going to Mass, although my understanding of what the Mass is has changed over time. Throughout high school, I came to more fully appreciate the orthodox and traditional understanding of the Mass as the re-enactment of the Last Supper as well as the representation of the sacrifice of Calvary, in light of the Resurrection and the Ascension. This understanding also helped me to make a very good confession my senior year of high school, as I began to seriously practice my faith in earnest. I considered an application to seminary at this time, but there was a mutual decision by all parties that I needed more time, which was a great choice.
I learned to prioritize Mass in my schedule once I began college, and gradually a healthy prayer life developed from that as well. The end of high school and pretty much every year of college brought a lot of joys, and a lot of sorrows and troubles. I recognized that my greatest joy came from developing my faith and making friends who would help me to do that, and that all of my sorrows didn’t seem so bad in light of the hope of heaven.
As I wrapped up college, it seemed like my best bet would be to see whether or not the attraction to the priesthood which it always been there was truly a call to this way of life. I found immense freedom in finally applying, and allowing God’s Church to help me find out how to best serve him.
What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood — or maybe hasn’t even considered it at all?
“He said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection.’ And so I willingly boast of my weaknesses instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.” - God and St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Whatever God wants for you, He’ll give you the grace to do it and you will flourish while you do!
How do you feel we can best support seminarians?
Prayers and mortifications offered for us are the best things anyone can do. (As an aside, that goes double for our clergy.) I know that I’m always incredibly humbled by the support people offer to me when I mention I’m in formation. It really helps especially in the moments of uncertainty that might be there for all of us. Another very important way you all can support us is continuing to do what you already do to help us materially. The entirety of my formation as a non-college seminarian is funded by the diocese, and thus by the faithful. It’s very freeing to not have finances as an obstacle to a potential vocation. Please know of my daily prayers for all of my benefactors, material or spiritual. I truly could not do this without all of you.
Is there any person or saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
Without a doubt, I have had many fantastic priestly role models who have inspired me to respond to this potential call. Aside from them, and of course my family, I have been seriously inspired by the work ethic of Tom Brady. His example has always been a reminder for me to continue to work to further myself, to try to not settle for mediocrity but to pursue greatness. As far as saints go, of course, Our Blessed Lady the Virgin Mary comes to mind immediately. Imitating her is a surefire way to grow in virtue. One other saint I constantly think of, and whose intercession I invoke daily is Simeon. His story is found at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. He had been told by an angel that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Once he beheld the infant Christ, he recognized that he had all that he needed and could die in peace. Every night the Church sings his canticle in the final office of the day, Night Prayer, begging for that same poverty in spirit. What else could we need if we have God’s grace?
Favorite Hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself:
I can walk and jog backwards without much effort. I still boast a pretty impressive Lego collection, and love building sets. I’m a big fan of playing in organized sports, despite my strong 12-26 college intramural record. I am also an avid fan of the New York Yankees, the New England Patriots, and the Rhode Island Rams basketball program and love cheering for all of them! I once camped out from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to secure tickets to the URI-PC game and then made it on the CBS Sports Twitter celebrating a moment with my friends.
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