Meet our priests: Father Thomas J. Reilly

Parish/assignment: St. Michael Parish, Bedford

Place of birth: Pearl River, N.Y.

How many brothers and sisters do you have? One brother, Ken

High school: Pearl River High School, New York

College/university/ seminary

Undergraduate -- State University of New York (SUNY), College at Oneonta, B.S.

Graduate 1 -- SUNY, College at Oneonta, M.S. in Ed.

Graduate 2 -- SUNY, Buffalo, Doctoral Work

Graduate 3 -- Boston Univ.; UMass, Amherst, Physics

Seminary (Theology) -- Blessed John XXIII National Seminary

Date of ordination: May 27, 2000

What assignments have you had since ordination?

2000-2005 St. Barbara Parish, Woburn; 2005-2008 St. Michael Parish, Bedford; 2008-present St. Theresa of Lisieux, North Reading

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

My greatest joy as a priest has been encountering the Lord in his people. Opening one’s heart to the Holy Spirit is most fulfilling. I love the sacramental ministry, preaching, teaching and hospital visits.

Who influenced your vocation most to consider the priesthood?

Many persons helped me to consider the priesthood: my parents; certain priests including Father Michael Stock, OP and Father Robert Flagg; and my friends.

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

I discovered and discerned my call to priesthood through friendships; my experience as a Catholic school teacher; my participation at daily Mass; through prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament; and doing the works of mercy.

What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?

“Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19). These were Our Lord’s first words to His disciples on Easter Sunday night.

What are some of your hobbies?

Sports, travel, music and walking.

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

Pray. Go to weekday Mass whenever possible. Share your thoughts with a priest who knows you. Be involved in parish life.

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

I enjoy Bible study; reading the lives and writings of the saints; and The Pilot.

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

The priest must be serious about his call to personal holiness. He acts in persona Christi.

What are some ways that we can help all individuals and families understand their role in promoting and supporting vocations?

Our Lord calls certain men to the priesthood (Jn 15:16). We must support those whom He calls. Our Lord asks us to pray for vocations (Mt 9:38). Pope Benedict XVI said recently how important prayer is in this regard.