Seminarian Spotlight: Thomas Sullivan

Thomas Sullivan Courtesy photo

Home town and state -- Watertown, Mass.

High School -- Boston College High School

Seminary Attending -- St. John's Seminary, Fourth Theology

What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?

The main factor in my decision is the obvious one and the only good one -- I felt called. My first thoughts of becoming a priest came as a little kid serving Mass in my home parish and they never left me from that point on.

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?

Growing up in a family that practiced the faith and that had produced several religious vocations gave me the foundation I needed to make the decision to enter the seminary. More specifically, being raised by a mother and a father to whom the faith was important helped me to see how important it should be to me. Influential, too, was my pastor at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Watertown, Father John Nichols. He involved me in the life of the parish at a young age and gave me a real love for the rites of the Church and an appreciation for their reverent celebration.

What would you say is the role of prayer in the life of a seminarian and what effect does it have on one's ability to see God's call?

Prayer is vitally important to the seminarian, and should be to all the faithful. It's especially important in the dry times, when we receive little consolation and when God feels distant. Persevere. If prayer doesn't come easy, and it doesn't always for me, don't give up on it. If you remain faithful in prayer, he will make his will known to you.

What advice would you give to a man who thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?

If you think God might be calling you to the priesthood, he's almost certainly calling you to deeper discernment and greater commitment to the faith. Use the tools he gave you in the Church. Go to frequent Confession. Attend Mass as often as possible.

Pray constantly. Go to Eucharistic Adoration. Stay close to the Blessed Mother through the rosary. Call upon the saints for their prayers and assistance. In other words, live the life every Catholic man should and if you do so faithfully God will show you where to go from there.

What do you like most about being a seminarian?

I love the order of daily life in the seminary. Community prayer, the Mass, classes, meals, recreation. We get a lot done each day and the time flies. Also, I love being with my brother seminarians -- they give me great encouragement and hope for the Church.

It's a good life.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?

Himself. Don't let fear hold you back; it cripples the soul. Satan wants you in fear, so trust in God. If he is calling you to the priesthood then he will provide for you. If the call is true, the Grace will be supplied. And the seminary is the place to put that vocation to the test.

Seminarian Spotlight is a collaborative effort between The Pilot and the Archdiocese of Boston's Office for Vocations to introduce readers to the men preparing for priesthood in the archdiocese. More seminarian profiles and information on discerning a vocation are available at www.VocationsBoston.org.

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