Ordination Class of 2024: Deacon Christopher Letizia

This is the eighth article in a series profiling the 11 men who will be ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 25, 2024.

BRIGHTON -- "Music has the power to uplift our souls," says Deacon Christopher Letizia, a 32-year-old seminarian at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, "to bring us into that spiritual realm of peace. Music has the power to enhance our prayer and make it better. And singing pleases God."

He should know. Prior to entering seminary, Deacon Letizia was music director of the Natick Catholic Community, comprising St. Linus Parish and St. Patrick Parish. Before that, he studied piano and voice at the Berklee College of Music for two years.

"The Lord used music to bring me into the church and bring me into the priesthood," he told The Pilot in a Feb. 22 interview. "Music is still a part of my life, but I felt a deep sense of peace in this vocation."

Music and faith were what guided Deacon Letizia through an often-difficult childhood. His father died when he was young, leaving his mother to raise him and his older brother in low-income housing in Natick. He was drawn to singing, the piano, and the organ from an early age. He still enjoys playing traditional hymns on the organ, as well as jazz, blues, and classic rock on the piano.

The church was at the center of his family's life. He, his mother, and his brother would attend Mass at St. Linus Parish every Sunday.

"We found a spiritual home at St. Linus Church," he said. "And that's how my mother came back to the faith. That's how I learned about Christ and learned and nurtured my faith."

The parish community, especially his pastor, was "very influential."

Deacon Letizia started contemplating the priesthood at age 18. In 2012, he left Berklee to become music director of the Natick Catholic Community. He loved music but didn't have the passion to make it his career. His draw to the priesthood strengthened as he began to pray, attend Mass, and go to eucharistic adoration every day.

"I just felt that constant pull in my heart that this is something I at least need to discover or figure out," he said.

In 2017, he entered Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Providence. He entered St. John's in 2020. Being around his fellow seminarians has inspired him, as has learning "the beautiful faith of our church" through studying theology.

"We're all in this together and we inspire each other daily," he said. "We all have different gifts that we bring to the table, and seeing guys excel in their gifts and them seeing me excel in mine, it's really the work of the Lord in how diverse we all are and how we can all bring our gifts together in Christ for the church."

Growing up, he struggled academically due to his dyslexia. That struggle continued when he entered seminary, but those at St. John's helped him find different strategies for him to comprehend what he was reading, such as listening to books on tape.

"It was a challenge," he said, "but I was able to make it work, and I've learned so much. I'm grateful to the Lord for that."

Deacon Letizia was ordained to the transitional diaconate in 2023, and currently serves as a deacon at Ascension Parish, serving the towns of Sudbury and Maynard.

"I want to be a priest for the people of Jesus Christ," he said. "I want to bring the Lord to the people. I want to walk our faith with the people. I want to be able to provide the sacraments for the people."