Parish assignment: St. Rose of Lima, Chelsea
Place of birth: Boston
How many brothers and sisters do you have? I have four brothers and two sisters.
High school: I graduated from Woburn High (‘82).
College: Undergraduate - St. John’s Seminary College, Brighton
Seminary (Theology) - North American College, Rome
Date of ordination? June 16, 1990
What assignments have you had since ordination?
My first assignment was at Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale. Then, after a short stint at Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion in Lawrence, I did a split assignment caring for the Hispanic parishioners at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End and St. Patrick’s Parish in Roxbury. Since 2001 I have been pastor of St. Rose.
What have been some of the greatest joys for you as a priest?
Seeing people who had been far from God draw near to him is always thrilling. Imagining that one can play a role in that movement--an instrument in God’s hand--is a great joy.
Who influenced your vocation the most to consider the priesthood?
Mostly my parents--John and Rosemary Moran--and the priests of my home parish, St. Anthony’s in North Woburn.
What events or practices in your life helped you to discover and discern your call to the priesthood?
For me it was the tumult at the end of high school that was the fertile soil for the Lord’s call. I was really up in the air about what I would study in college. During that time I started reading the Bible and asking God to guide me. As a result, the idea of priesthood came into my head and I couldn’t quite shake it, though I tried.
What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?
There are so many. One passage that I often turn to is the exhortation to trust in God in Sirach chapter 2. Great stuff for the tough times!
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to hike, bike, take my canoe for a spin, and I’m always reading.
What advice would you give to a young man who is considering the priesthood?
I’d recommend the simple steps I took: listen to God often in Scripture and just ask him what he would have you do. You absolutely can’t go wrong. If he steers you to the priesthood, Amen! If he steers you elsewhere, Amen! Again and again, Jesus teaches that doing the will of his Father is the most important thing we can do.
What are some of your favorite books/ spiritual reading/ magazines?
Ray Brown’s “Intro to the New Testament” is fantastic and stands up to repeated readings. One, the magazine of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, is my favorite Catholic magazine. For fun, I often go to P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain. I enjoy history as well, such as Massachusetts’ own David Hackett Fischer.
Through the cardinal, God is calling each of us personally to help rebuild His Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?
If we were rebuilding a physical church, it would be essential to ensure that the structure be firmly fixed on its foundation. That means that a priest’s ministry has to be fixed on the foundation of Christ the Cornerstone and the faith of the Apostles. Our ministry has to be nourished by the Scriptures and the Church’s tradition. What we do is fundamentally what they did, to call all to conversion and to faith; then to strengthen and support the communities that are born of that common faith.
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?
Vocations to priesthood and religious life are really the fruit of our collective response to live the fullness of the Christian life. When families and communities commit themselves to serve God with all they have and are it is only natural that among them, some will sense that call to serve God and his people in a particular way.
Upcoming Events in the Vocation Office
March 30: St. Andrew Dinner at St. John’s 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
The content of Meet Our Priests is provided by the Office for Vocations of the Archdiocese of Boston.