Seminarian Steven LeBlanc Pilot photo/courtesy Office for Vocations
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Home town and state: Hanover, Massachusetts
High School: Xaverian Brothers High School
Seminary attending: St. John's Seminary, Third Theology
What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?
Many factors led me onward, but they emerged slowly over time. Notably, as a high school and college student I found that in the midst of all the "noise" of the world, it was Jesus Christ who always spoke the unvarnished truth. I noticed that absolute truths do exist and that worldly success and fleeting pleasures are not all that they're hyped-up to be. Rather, Almighty God calls us to eternal life with him, and that is very refreshing! This was fascinating and a great source of interior peace for me; Christ became my trusted friend and ally. Post-college, I worked in the finance field for a few years, yet I found myself focusing on the life of prayer, spiritual reading, daily Mass and adoration, etc. My interests were becoming clearer and I even found myself asking, "What exactly does a priest do anyway?" Finally, I noticed that it was in the confessional that I could open up and talk with priests who could not only forgive sins, but also offer wisdom, direction and rock-solid advice.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
Some people who influenced my decision to enter the seminary were the priests who I would see at daily Mass, priests preaching holy hours and those hearing confessions. Watching and listening to them was very inspiring as I picked up more "clues" on how to pursue my vocation. My friends were (and remain) of great importance since they encouraged and prayed for me. Of course I only would tell selected people as I went forward. After hearing me describe my high interest in the Church, one good priest advised me to go home and write a letter or email to the vocations office expressing my interest. Next, he instructed me to complete the application and send it in. It was so obvious, but I needed his gentle push. I followed his advice and remain very thankful to this day.
What would you say is the role of prayer in the life of a seminarian and what effect does it have on one's ability to see God's call?
Prayer is central to the life of a seminarian. He must develop his prayer life so that he can listen more closely to the call of the Lord and so that he can remain docile to the formation process. It is the stuff of his relationship with God and is crucial to his healthy spiritual life.
What advice would you give to a man who thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?
Continue your life of prayer and sacrifice (fasting, etc.) Fasting helps clear away the damage done by our sins and allows grace to operate more effectively in our lives. This will be good for you in every way, and will also help you get more clarity.
Ask God directly, "What do you ask of me? Please lead me." If you're interested in the priesthood, then that itself is a sign that you should at least contact the vocation office and inquire about the application process. You will be rewarded for your efforts!
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
It's a happy life because I can focus on God, my prayer life and studying the 'things of God'. All this in order that I might make a more perfect priest one day and lead souls to Heaven. The guys in the house are good and friendly folks, we have regular sports games and enjoyable local outings when time allows.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
The greatest challenge is overcoming the devilish opposition to the development of good and holy priests. Thus the attractions of the world seem magnified as he "works on" each man to distract him from pursuing his vocation. Much of this opposition is manifested through society's secular world view and the nearly constant campaign against Christian virtue.
Seminarian Spotlight is a collaborative effort between The Pilot and the Archdiocese of Boston's Office for Vocations to introduce readers to the men preparing for priesthood in the archdiocese. More seminarian profiles and information on discerning a vocation are available at www.VocationsBoston.org.