Daniel Ginnetty Pilot photo/ Courtesy Office for Vocations
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Home Parish: St. Mary Parish, Franklin. Seminary: Our Lady of Providence Formation House, Providence, R.I. High School: Xaverian Brothers High School. Hobbies: Piano, music, politics, philosophy.
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
I began thinking about the priesthood when I was a senior in high school. I was on a retreat for the senior class and made a commitment during prayer to start thinking about a vocation.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?
I worked as a sacristan at my parish in Franklin during high school. I was also involved in youth music ministry at St. Jude Parish in Norfolk.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
Matthew 6: 5-8 is an especially rich Gospel passage. This is Jesus’ teaching on prayer given to his disciples during the Sermon on the Mount. Of course this is an important passage on its own because it is Jesus himself showing us explicitly how we are to pray. ...It emphasizes the intimate relationship God desires with us, in our “inner room,” and it challenges us to come to this place of personal prayer when we least want to.
Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.
Many people have encouraged me to pursue a vocation, especially my pastor growing up at St. Mary’s, Father Tom Walsh. The most direct influence on my vocation was Father David Goodrow who gave me a biography about St. John Vianney when I first told him that I was thinking about a vocation.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
Commit to spending some time (if possible daily) praying before the Blessed Sacrament. It is here that Jesus is present most fully and also where we are most ready to listen. Also, read the Scriptures with the thought of your vocation in the back of your mind, looking for passages that stand out to you. Finally, do not look at the seminary fearfully, as an ultimate commitment. Look at it as a place where you will most perfectly discern whether you are fortunate enough to be called to serve the Lord as his priest.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am a big fan of Bob Dylan.
What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?
I worked as a confirmation retreat leader at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center when I lived in Washington. There I was inspired by what I learned about Pope John Paul II, especially his leadership ability in a difficult, post-conciliar time for the Church.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is practically on my college campus, the Catholic University of America. I began going to Mass daily at the basilica, partly because of the beauty of its liturgies. I started to truly love the Mass and of course, to love the Mass is a major step toward knowing and loving Jesus Christ.
What signs led you to believe that God was calling you to be a priest?
Encouragement that other people gave me, even when they did not know that I was discerning a vocation. Also, my prayer always seemed to lead me towards pursuing this vocation.
Please describe the importance of prayer in your life.
Prayer is where I am the most intimate with God, yet always remembering myself within the plural “we” of the Catholic Church. Prayer gives me the strength to live in the life that Jesus died to give; and, it also reveals to me more and more what that life consists of.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?
The most important book I ever read, barring the bible (which I discussed above), was a biography about St. John Vianney...the patron saint of parish priests.
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 prepared to serve the Church in humility because he has to bring God, not himself, to the laymen.
How does the priest best follow in the footsteps of the Apostles?
By staying committed to the word of God in the Scriptures, keeping up with regular good spiritual reading, and committing himself daily to be worthy of this vocation.
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.