Americo Santos Pilot photo/courtesy Office for Vocations
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Home town and state -- Everett, Mass.
High School -- Inarce, El Salvador
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?
Entering the seminary was an important decision in my life. Since I was looking for meaning and purpose, I needed to find a reason to make my life meaningful and I wanted to fulfill my desires and expectations for all of my life. I was thinking about the priesthood because I wanted to follow Christ and serve the people of God, God willing as a future priest. I enjoy serving people directly and that gives me great happiness to be able to minister to the Church. Throughout time, I discovered that entering the Seminary is the best way to discern my calling to the priesthood.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
I believe that my pastor, Father Javier Guerra from El Salvador who, by his ministry, inspired me to follow priesthood life. Also, the life and ministry of some holy people I know such as Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero and Pope Saint John Paul II.
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?
The role of prayer in the life of a seminarian is the path to discover God, present first in our own life we can find his active presence showing us purpose in life. When we discover him we are able to find Jesus in other people, especially those who are suffering in this world from human situations such as illness, economic problems or discrimination. Prayer is the way to develop a relationship with God so we can talk to him and deepen our spiritual lives.
What advice would you give to a man who is thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?
My advice is to answer the call of God, because God has a plan for every person to follow his steps. If a man is thinking of a possible vocation, I would say to him to go forward with it and enter the seminary where he can begin discernment. The vocation has to be answered with generosity and love because one needs to carefully listen to the Lord Jesus Christ. One's prayer life helps a lot to be generous with God to give him an answer, this divine call to follow Jesus can be very fruitful in life causing peace and joy.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
Formation is very helpful in terms of guiding the seminarian to improve in spiritual, human, pastoral, and academic formation. In addition, the social life at the seminary is amazing because I have made many new friends who have a lot in common with me. It is great to know that everyone is on the road to, God willing, becoming a priest.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
The greatest challenge for a man who is considering the seminary could be to negate his own ideas or interpretation about the vocation, because this man needs to clarify his vocation finding help from his pastor and spiritual director. However, he needs to be open in terms of listening to formation about how to improve his personality instead of following his own ideas.
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
In my free time I enjoy cooking and watching movies, especially historical movies. I also love to go to museums, because I like to learn more about culture and anthropology.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the archdiocese of Boston?
The best way to encourage vocations in the Archdiocese of Boston is through good vocation talks in order to inspire other men to consider a vocation to the priesthood. Through vocation stories, others hearing them will think more about a possible vocation. When this encourages others to reflect on the important role of the priesthood in the Church more men will become inspired to enter the seminary. We also need to be good role models and show others that living the life of a priest is something that brings great fruit in one's life.
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.