William Lohan Pilot photo/Courtesy Vocations Office
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Home Parish: St. Theresa of Avila, West Roxbury. Seminary: St. John’s Seminary. High School:
Boston Latin School. College: Providence College. Hobbies: Basketball, running
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
I came to a day of retreat at about age 17 but did not feel called to priesthood. I begin to sense a call to priesthood at about age 32.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?
Coached youth basketball at CYO league in mid ’90s, went to World Youth Day in Toronto in ’02.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
My favorite Scripture passage is the prayer of Jesus in John 17 because it is so clear how much the Lord loves us and what he wants for us.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
I would tell him to continue to pray about that specific sense of a call each day. If he is very young he should not obsess about it but should be patient and keep praying, going to retreats and days of reflection and find good holy priests to talk to. Treat that sense of a vocation like a delicate flower early in its development. It needs constant nourishing and care but patience also.
Please tell us, what are some of the most important parts of discernment?
I think being willing to spend time in prayer and time away from the noise and business of the world are most important. Being willing to give it at least a year or two is very important. Being patient with the adjustment to seminary life is important.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I used to be a DJ.
What activities would you recommend in order to foster a culture of vocations?
Parishes and families must pray each Sunday that vocations come from their own families and parish. We can’t assume someone else will make the sacrifice and someone else will do the work.
Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.
A Dominican priest at Providence College asked me more than a decade before I sensed the call to think about it. I politely declined and just considered it a compliment but not applicable to me.
What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?
Seeing him in ‘02 in Toronto as I was applying helped to give me the courage to come into the seminary. It is clear how much he trusted in God for all things in his life and it lessened my fear as I entered.
What were the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and shape your personal relationship with Christ and His Church?
Certainly more frequent attendance at Mass and eventually daily attendance. Adoration and frequent confession were also important. A rediscovery of the rosary after many years of not saying it was also helpful.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/ books/ passages?
“Confessions,” by St. Augustine; “In the Likeness of Christ,” by Father Edward Leen; “The Imitation of Christ,” by Thomas A. Kempis.
Through the cardinal, God is calling you personally to help rebuild his Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?
The priest must be willing to recognize that more than ever in the USA (especially this part of it) the Gospel is counter cultural. We must be willing to speak out as prophets to a world that for the most part will not listen to us and will even ridicule us. We need mature men that are willing to take on this challenge.
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.