Michael Farrell Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
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Home Parish: St. Charles Borromeo, Woburn. Seminary: St. Charles Borromeo College Seminary, Philadelphia. Primary career prior to seminary: Telecommunications industry.
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
When I was in the sixth grade and speaking with my classmates as to what we wanted to do when we were older, the priesthood entered my mind as a possibility. It was far from a serious consideration at the time, however the notion was there that my love of the faith and desire to help others could be happily realized as a priest. Those childhood thoughts matured and returned to me in later years (my mid-20s) as my involvement in parish activities increased.
What is your favorite Scripture
In the Old Testament, the Book of Wisdom for its edifying eloquence of dependence on and love of God in profound yet practical language. Psalm 116, especially verses 10-19, is a beautiful psalm of thanksgiving for God’s assistance in my life and the hope of serving at his altar. The Gospel of Luke -- of the four Gospels, Luke’s account is my favorite. The focus of Luke upon Jesus’s care for the poor and marginalized of society speaks most clearly of God's constant care for all people.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
I would encourage him to pray and attend daily Mass as much as possible, pray the rosary and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament asking the Holy Spirit to guide his discernment. I would also suggest he speak to a priest or contact the vocation office. It is important to realize that you don't necessarily need to know for certain if you are called to be a priest when you enter the seminary. Part of the seminary process is discernment of your vocation and that discernment is aided by the seminary and its surroundings. There a man can focus on hearing and accepting God’s call, whatever it may be.
Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.
Father William Walsh was parochial vicar at St. Edward Parish when I attended school there. His down to earth nature allowed me to see that a priest is not some mystical monk type, but rather a man of deep faith who has given his life to God. Also, Sister Mary Catherine, a teacher at Coyle and Cassidy High School, who exhibited joy in her teaching and service to God. In both people, I saw extraordinary examples of service that inspired me to give of myself in all that I do.
Please tell us, what are some of
the most important parts of discernment?
The deepening of a man’s prayer life, in an effort to form a lasting relationship with Christ; to know and accept what is God’s will for him and realize our dependence on God’s grace in our vocation. Realizing that no matter what our vocation, we are sons of God and our lives should reflect devotion to our heavenly Father.
Through the cardinal, God is calling you personally to help rebuild his Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?
To pray and to rely on God’s guidance for all our activities. As Jesus said in the Gospel He is the vine, we are the branches. It is vitally important that God's will must be done, not our own. To serve God, we must meditate on his word and follow his example. We must also faithfully follow the direction of the magisterium who have been chosen and blessed by God with the governance of the Church.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?
“Story of a Soul” (St. Therese of Lisieux), “The Mystical City of God” (Venerable Mary of Agreda), and “An Epitome of the Priestly Life” (Canon Arvisenet translated by Father F.J. O’Sullivan)
What would people be surprised
to know about you?
For those who don’t know me, it would be my deep love of and desire to serve God.
The Pilot, in cooperation with the Office of Vocations, is publishing a series of brief profiles of the men preparing for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston. For other profiles or if you think God may be calling you to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, visit the Vocations Office Web site at www.VocationsBoston.org.