Meet our priests: Father George P. Evans

Parish assignment: St. Julia Parish, Weston and Lincoln

Place of birth: Boston

How many brothers and sisters do you have? None

High school: Matignon High School

College: Undergraduate - Boston College -- B.A., History and Education

Graduate 1 - St. John Seminary -- M. Div.

Graduate 2 - The Catholic University of America -- Licentiate and Doctorate in Theology

Date of ordination? May 21, 1977

What assignments have you had since ordination?

1977-1981 associate pastor, St. James Parish, Wellesley; 1981-1985 graduate student, The Catholic University of America; 1985-2002 spiritual director, St. John Seminary; 2003 interim rector, St. John Seminary; 2003-Present pastor, St. Julia Parish

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

I am so blessed to have been able to study theology and especially the Catholic spiritual tradition, and then to draw on that learning over many years. I enjoyed assisting the seminarians in confidential direction that called for their trust. I find the contemporary American Catholic parish a challenging and stimulating place to be.

Who influenced your vocation the most to consider the priesthood?

As an altar server, I knew just lightly my priests at St. Catherine Parish in Somerville. I remember well an inspiring, provocative Novena of Grace preached there by one of four “curates,” Father (later Bishop) Joseph Ruocco on the life and vocation of St. Francis Xavier. Many years later, I saw all the parish’s priests zealously facing the exciting adaptations after Vatican II. Even more, I think, I benefited from the fine teaching and witness of the Sisters of St. Joseph for twelve years. Some great parishioners at St. Catherine’s, as well as my own parents and committed Catholic relatives, surely made a difference. So did the insights and help of the St. John Seminary faculty on my way to ordination.

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

Starting in junior year of high school, I went to daily Mass frequently. My long interest in Catholic history and in Church issues, while probably not at the core of my vocational call, certainly helped.

What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?

I like some passages connected by the theme of providence. In Luke’s canticles of Zechariah, Mary and Simeon, chapters 1 and 2, I feel a surge of God’s gift and call to us, as well as resonance with words that can express my own gift of self to God. I also like Romans 8:28: “For those who love God, all things work together for good.”

What are some of your hobbies?

I have always been fascinated with maps, and I like to travel. I enjoy writing, plays, history, and even demographics and pastoral planning issues!

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

Attend Mass regularly, and let the words of its prayers and homilies fill you. Trust that God will lead you. Also, examine your desires and motivations, preferably with the help of a trusted priest or spiritual director.

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

I enjoy the Carmelites St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese; and also St. Francis de Sales. I wish I had more time to read them now, but they have touched my life. I read regularly the periodicals Church and America, and the reviews found in Theological Studies and Catholic historical journals.

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

One of many good ways would be through prayerfully considered future planning for our Church communities, firmly based in the mission of Christ.

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?

I think we priests who have found this calling to lead mostly to happiness and greater depth in life should try to let that be known. I have done that, and I probably should do it more.

Featured Web sites

Upcoming Events in the Vocation Office

March 30: St. Andrew Dinner at St. John Seminary in Brighton.

April 3-4: Eucharistic Congress for College Students and Young Adults in the North End.

April 8: Christ Speaks in the City at the Old State House in Boston.

May 23: Priesthood Ordination at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

The content of Meet Our Priests is provided by the Office for Vocations of the Archdiocese of Boston.