Meet our priests: Father Emile R. “Mike” Boutin, Jr

Parish assignment: Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, co-pastor (team ministry)

Place of birth: Lowell

How many brothers and sisters do you have? One sister and three brothers

High school: Central Catholic, Lawrence, 1981

College: Undergraduate -- Tufts University, 1984, B.A. music and French

Graduate 1 -- Notre Dame University, 1991, M.A. Liturgical Studies

Graduate 2 -- Catholic University of America, working on Doctorate in Ministry

Seminary (Theology) -- St. John’s Seminary, 1991, M.Div.

Date of ordination? June 22, 1991

What assignments have you had since ordination?

St. Mary, Chelmsford, 1991-1996; St. Catherine of Siena, Norwood, 1996-2000; Immaculate Conception, Stoughton, 2000-2005; Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, 2005-present.

What have been some of the greatest joys for you as a priest?

Celebrating the Eucharist, preaching, especially at funerals and during the Easter Triduum, leading pilgrimages around the world, working with young people, Bible study, sharing music, especially singing the Eucharistic prayer at Sunday Mass.

Who influenced your vocation the most to consider the priesthood?

Father Omer Barrette, who celebrated Mass in my home parish, St. Louis de France, Lowell, where I was an altar server, and Father Charles Aubut, who actually grew up with my grandfather, and was a really kind man and a good priest. Father Bob Labrie cared for my family when my father died in 1973 and was instrumental in my vocation, as were the Sisters of the Assumption, particularly Sister Fernande Joyal, and Sister Claire of the Trinity, with whom I studied piano. And of course, my own family, especially my Mom, who has an incredible faith and deep love for Christ and the Blessed Mother.

What events or practices in your life helped you to discover and discern your call to the priesthood?

I was a music director in various parishes in the archdiocese before I was ordained, and having the opportunity to work with parish ministers, and leading small prayer groups became more important to me than what might have been musical highlights. Sunday Mass and being involved in my local parish were also important.

What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?

2 Corinthians 4:7-10. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” This passage also gives me great hope, especially as it is interpreted in the song “I’m Trading My Sorrows” by Darrell Evans, that God is in control, and that I can be joyful in life, because even in the dark times, my life is blessed....

What are some of your hobbies?

I like to read, cook, entertain friends and family, and travel, and right now, I’m working on a degree at Catholic University in ministry.

What advice would you give to a young man who is considering the priesthood?

Listen to your heart. God speaks rather clearly there. Spend time talking with other priests of various ages and experiences. Get involved in the life of your parish. Get a spiritual director. Live life to the full, love well and if God is calling you, you’ll hear God’s voice in lots of different experiences and places.

What are some of your favorite books/ spiritual reading/ magazines?

I’m a big fan of Max Lucado’s writing: he’s a really inspired preacher. I also enjoy Henri Nouwen, Bill Bausch, and St. Francis de Sales. For periodicals, I read America, Church, and Parish.

Through the cardinal, God is calling each of us personally to help rebuild his Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?

I think one of the most important things a priest can do today is to be happy in our work. I have the best job in the world; I get to encounter people at the most important moments in their lives, and to share God’s unconditional love and mercy with them. I also think that one of the priest’s most important and privileged tasks is preaching: finding a way to connect the Scriptures with real life in a way that gives meaning to people’s experience.

When Cardinal Seán came to Boston, he wrote a pastoral letter entitled “Vocations: Everybody’s Business.” What are some ways that we can help all individuals and families understand their role in promoting and supporting vocations?

We can’t just have a prayer at Mass about an increase of vocations. Instead, all of us need to be looking for vocations in our parishes and encouraging young people to consider a life of service in the Church, even if that means we tell our own son or daughter that they might be a great priest or youth minister or deacon.