Seminarian Q&A Featuring Vincent “Jay” Zizza

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


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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:  22

Year of Study:  Pre-Theology I

Home Parish: Christ the King Church, Kingston

Where did you grow up and go to school?:
I am from Narragansett, R.I., and spent a lot of time in Rhode Island where I would seek out a passion in science so much so that my middle school teachers would call me Einstein. However, a lot changed at Bishop Hendricken High School and I began to love Theology where I then majored in Theology and English at Providence College. Unfortunately, I was never called St. Thomas Aquinas.

What does the word "vocation" mean to you personally?:
Vocation is God’s call towards a particular way of life among the Church. A vocation is not simply a call to the priesthood or a religious order, but can also be a call towards married life or single life. It is a call discovered through prayerful and guided discernment in order to be devoted to that call no matter what it may be.

How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?:
I was led to a position called Intercessory Prayer Minister which assigned me to pray for all the people on the Providence College campus, particularly those serving in Campus Ministry. This left me with a journey not only filled with prayer, but also lots of research on saints and how they prayed. The time I spent praying for others, the time I spent reflecting on the saints and the time I spent speaking to Dominican Friars at Providence College led me to finally be brave enough to apply to the seminary as the idea of becoming a priest always popped up in my mind.

Favorite Hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself:
I love swimming, running, playing ultimate frisbee and playing guitar.

What is something that readers may not know about what it is like to be a seminarian?
I am a new seminarian, but based on the first few visits, imagine how often seminarians discuss Catholic doctrine in a casual conversation and multiply it 10 times and that is an approximate amount of time spent discussing Catholic doctrine among seminarians.

What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood — or maybe hasn’t even considered it at all?
The seminary is a place of discernment, not a draft to the priesthood. Joining the seminary does not mean you will be a priest, but it is actually an extended period of prayerful formation that helps discover whether you are called to be a priest or not. If you find yourself constantly being hit with the desire or even the thought of being a priest, it would be a good idea to seek out a priest to decide whether it would be a good idea to join the seminary. It really does help clarify the discernment process, because contemplation can only take you so far, at some time you will need to make the next step. However, you need not fear, for this next step is simply a step that does not immediately lead to priesthood, but just the journey of discovering your vocation.

How do you feel we can best support seminarians?Praying the most Holy Rosary everyday for the intention of seminarians and all of our clerics as well.

What is the most surprising part about being a seminarian?
“Prayer is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings.” — St. John Chysostom
The beautiful thing about praying for a seminarian is that prayer is a petition to God in which we humble ourselves to God ultimately calling the seminarian towards a vocation. Praying for a seminarian is an act of wishing the good of him even if that may not eventually mean the vocation to the priesthood. Prayer allows this flexibility of wishing God’s chosen vocation of the seminarian, because that seminarian living out that vocation will bring a thousand blessings to the Church.

What is the most surprising PART about being a seminarian?
Finding out how many people do pray for us was both shocking and comforting. I had assumed some people prayed for seminarians, but I did not realize that so many lay people prayed for us. It showcases the beauty of prayer and how prayer unites us in ways that are unseen to even the person being prayed for. It also reveals the amazing community that we seminarians are privileged to have in our life, and I am very thankful for all of those who pray for us.

Are there specific life changes that you have had to make to be successful at seminary formation?
One of the biggest life changes I had to make was spending less time on academics. I used to wake up doing homework and fall asleep doing homework, turning 1 hour assignments into 4 hour assignments. I literally wrote essays twice scrapping everything in my first essay. During senior year, I worked quite hard to spend more time in prayer and events at Campus Ministry at PC often cutting any form of homework out by 8 P.M. However, I still need to work on not letting academics consume my schedule.

Is there any person or saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
My senior year at Providence College, I admired St. John Vianney, often trying to replicate his desire to turn every effort and suffering into a prayer for others. I prayed to him constantly, and tried to replicate him in some ways like sleeping without a sleeping bag during the March for Life trip offering the pretty much sleepless night to the countless we were marching for. (Which quickly made me admire him much more, as that was a very, very difficult and cold night). I was comforted by the fact that at the first visit of my seminary, the first statue I noticed was of St. John Vianney. Despite my love for St. John Vianney, I always pronounce his name wrong, because unfortunately I read about him before I was taught about him. So, when I read about him, I completely mispronounced his name in my head, and now I can’t get the incorrect pronunciation out of my head.

Favorite Hobbies and/or
fun fact about yourself:
I love to groundskeep, particularly brushcutting and tree trimming. This summer I worked at Point Judith Country Club and then did freelance landscaping. I got to hold a 5-week-old rabbit, pull a weed that had a nest of wood spiders, and get a vehicle stuck that required four bikers to push out for me. I also love learning about invasive species, particularly the most popular invasive species of R.I. in the brushcutting world, Japanese Knotweed. Introduced in the United States for flood prevention purposes along the road which then took over most of R.I., especially Narragansett.

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