Father William Ventura Pilot photo/ Courtesy Office for Vocations
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Parish/assignment: St. John the Evangelist Parish, North Chelmsford
Place of birth: Holbrook, but raised in Derry, N.H.
How many brothers and sisters do you have? 1 younger brother, Anthony, who is 28
High school: Pinkerton Academy, Derry, N.H.
Undergraduate -- Hesser College, Manchester N.H., St. John’s Seminary College
Seminary (Theology) -- St. John’s Seminary
Date of ordination: May 27, 2006
What assignments have you had since ordination?
St. Joseph’s Parish, Needham (Deacon Assignment)
St. John the Evangelist Parish, North Chelmsford
What have been some of the greatest joys for you as a priest?
My greatest joy as a priest comes from offering the sacraments Christ has entrusted to his Church for the sanctification of God’s people. Among the sacraments, to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is my greatest joy. There is no greater gift that Christ gives his priest, and the Church through the priest, than the Mass. To stand at the Altar, in Christ’s very person, and offer his sacrifice on the Cross to the Father for the salvation of the world is awe-inspiring and humbling at the same time. Another great joy is to absolve penitents in the Sacrament of Confession. Again, to sit and act in the person of Christ and offer to men and women absolution from sins, which is nothing but the mercy and healing grace of Christ, is amazing. In every absolution I realize that through this saving action, I am restoring the relationship between God and a soul and bringing about the joy that can only come through friendship with God. As I sit in the confessional, it reinforces in my mind that the gift of the Holy Priesthood that Christ has entrusted to me is not for me, but for the salvation of the world. There is no greater joy than this!
Who influenced your vocation most to consider the priesthood?
My vocation was influenced by the many good and holy parish and religious priests I had the blessing to meet and know over my life, as well as the example of Pope John Paul II. Our late Holy Father was a man who spoke the Gospel without compromise, loved with a sacrificial and Christ-like love, and proclaimed the Truth of the Church with zeal and devotion. Also, EWTN, and Mother Angelica, were a major influence in my early discernment. Mother Angelica taught with a clarity, joy, and no-nonsense approach that challenged me and moved me to greater love for Our Lord and his Church.
What advice would you give to a young man who is considering the priesthood?
My first advice is to love the Lord, Our Lady, and his Church. Love them, defend them and be faithful to them without counting the cost. This is the road to holiness, to happiness and to sainthood. If you hear the Lord calling you to be a priest, don’t wait to respond! Go when He calls you, trust in his voice, and follow Him with all your heart. The priest is essential to the life of the Church, is indeed a gift that Christ gives to his Church, and continues the sacramental ministry entrusted by Christ to his apostles for the salvation of the world. If Jesus is calling you, do not be afraid to answer! To respond to Christ’s call with love, courage, and zeal is the only sure means of obtaining true happiness and true joy.
What are some of your favorite books/ spiritual reading/ magazines?
The books that have had the most impact on my spiritual life are “The Imitation of Christ”, by Thomas a Kempis, and “The Way”, by St. Josemaria Escriva. Also, “The Passion from Within” by Adrienne Von Speyr has had a great influence in my prayer. The great Archbishop Fulton Sheen had a tremendous influence on my discernment, and continues to have a great influence on my life as a priest. Among his many books, television shows and retreat tapes his greatest is “Going on Retreat with Archbishop Fulton Sheen,” which is a retreat, available on CD, that he gave to priests and seminarians.
St. John the Evangelist Parish,
Upcoming events in the Vocation Office
> Oct. 31: “Night of the Living” (Young Adults) at St. Leonard’s in North End, Boston
> Nov. 4: St. Andrew Dinner (High School Men) at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton
> Nov. 7: Antioch Retreat for Young Adults at St. Benedict Center in Harvard, Mass.
‘Meet our Priests’ is produced by the Office for Vocations of the Archdiocese of Boston.