Meet our seminarians:Deacon Martin Dzengeleski
When was the first time you thought of priesthood? I first thought of priesthood in high school.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?
I went to see John Paul II in New York and New Jersey. I went on Marian pilgrimages and several retreats.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
Matthew 16:16-19 -- “Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This passage marks Jesus building the foundation of the Church on Peter and His promise that the Church will always continue to exist in order to do Christ’s work on earth.
Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood?
Many people inspired me to pursue priesthood. I believe priestly vocations come from God but are nurtured by the community.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
I would recommend that if someone is considering a vocation to the priesthood, that they first discuss it with their local priest or a priest who they are comfortable speaking with. The application process to the seminary is a valuable tool in discerning priesthood. Attending daily Mass is most important in discerning priesthood. A love for the Mass must be evident.
Please tell us, what are some of the most important parts of discernment?
In order to discern, one needs to pray, ultimately God communicates a vocation if it is genuine. If the thought of being a priest is a source of peace and joy that would be an important sign. I recommend being open, being able to say yes to whatever God may be calling you to whatever it may be. Trust in God, if you feel you may have a calling, apply to the seminary, if you are accepted, take advantage of the opportunity to explore your vocation in the seminary where you will learn the skills you need and discover if a priestly vocation is suitable for you. It sounds very easy, but for those who are discerning it can be difficult to make the first step.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I have really enjoyed seminary formation and education.
What activities would you recommend in order to foster a culture of vocations.
Eucharistic adoration is key to vocations. Our eucharistic Lord speaks to those who adore Him. The gift of the Eucharist is the heart of the Church and the heart of vocations. Young people will encounter God present in the Eucharist if we make Him available to them. Youth ministries need to include eucharistic adoration in order to form young people in the truth of the faith.
Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.
I was not invited to consider priesthood as a young person. Perhaps that is why my vocation came later in life. I was encouraged by a couple of people to consider priesthood after I had already begun to be more active in the Church.
What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?
Pope John Paul II was an incredible example of holiness. He certainly inspired me in many ways.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
I learned my faith from my family and got to know Jesus Christ by spending time in prayer, especially at Holy Mass.
What were the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and shape
your personal relationship with Christ and
What was your career or background before entering the seminary? Please elaborate.
Before entering the seminary I studied agriculture and worked on a farm for about 20 years.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?
I enjoy reading lives of the saints and books about the Blessed Mother. The Holy Bible and solid commentary on the Bible interest me greatly.
What is your day like in the seminary?
The day starts with prayer and Mass and finishes with prayer. During the day there are classes and studies. There is usually time for some socializing and visiting friends. The days are full but they have a healthy balance to them. You are assigned a spiritual director and a faculty advisor to help you to make sure you maintain a healthy balance and not neglect any area of life.
Through the cardinal, God is calling you
personally to help rebuild His Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?
The cardinal is our spiritual father. He should be loved, obeyed, and respected as one would their natural earthly father. The priest’s duty is to carry out the will of his bishop to the best of his ability. One should be mindful that it is God who shepherds His Church through His appointed bishops. As successors to the apostle they should be loved and trusted to be doing God’s will.
I believe that we should be praying for vocations at every Mass, just as we should be praying for world peace and the protection of the unborn, the poor, and the weak at every Mass.
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 www.VocationsBoston.org.