Meet our seminarians: Mark Barr

Home Parish: St. Patrick, Natick. Seminary: St. John’s Seminary. High School: Wayland High School. College: Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Hobbies: Reading, music, computers, video games

When was the first time you thought of priesthood?

Occasionally I considered priesthood while growing up, but did not give it any serious thought until college.

What were major Catholic activities you participated

in prior to the seminary?

I attended several of the discernment evenings as well as the discernment retreat hosted by the archdiocesan vocation office.

What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?

2 Corinthians 1:18-20 -- That our response to Christ is “yes.”

Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.

Primarily the example of my pastor, Father [Brian] Kiely, showed me what it is to be a priest, and that such a life is indeed possible to live and a source of great joy to those who are called.

Is seminary formation what you thought it would be? How is it similar or different from your expectations?

The day to day life is a little more intense than I expected, but otherwise exactly what I experienced on the vocation retreats.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I was raised Episcopalian and converted to Catholicism while in college.

What activities would you recommend in order to foster a culture of vocations?

Priests constantly promoting vocations both from the pulpit and by seeking out young men and asking them directly if they have ever considered the priesthood.

Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.

Father Kiely at my home parish.

What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?

My entire understanding of the Church was shaped by Pope John Paul II.

How did you come to know Jesus Christ?

Primarily through regular attendance at Holy Mass and also through trying to develop a habit of personal daily prayer.

What was your career or background before entering the seminary?

I worked for about five years as the head of network operations for a linguistic software company in Boston (Teragram), managing the telecommunications and computer network.

What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?

“Imitation of Christ”; “Introduction to the Devout Life”; various lives of the saints.

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

The essential nature of the Church is communion. Through his cooperation with the mission of the bishop, a priest must strive to foster community that is not centered around the parish as a sole entity but is in union with the bishop and the universal Church.

Anything else?

Vocations simply need to be actively and consistently preached as part of the regular course of parish life.

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