Meet our seminarians: Daniel D’Innocenzo

Daniel D’Innocenzo Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

Home Parish: St. Patrick Parish, Natick. Seminary: St. Charles College Seminary, Philadelphia.

High School: Natick High School. Hobbies: Playing sports, hiking, fishing, reading, music.

When was the first time you thought of priesthood?

The thought of me being a priest has always been in the back of my head but it wasn't until junior year in high school that I started to seriously think about it. Before then, although I was still going to church, I had other ideas for my future, getting married and having a family.

What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?

The summer of 2005 the Vocations Office organized a trip to Rome, Assisi, Switzerland and ending in Germany at World Youth Day. The pilgrimage was made up of about 12 men discerning the priesthood with two priests. I also went to CLI (Catholic Leadership Institute) and CLIMB (Catholic Leadership Institute Moving Beyond) at Merrimack College during two summers in high school.

What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?

Though this is always a difficult question, I think my favorite Scripture reading is John 14:1-14 because Jesus tells us that He actually wants to be with us for eternity and has told us how we can fulfill this desire that both He and we have, which is to be with each other forever. He tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and to follow Him.

What would you say to a young man who thinks

he may have a vocation?

Don't run away from the thought of doing something completely different from your peers. Be prepared to stand out for making the decision to enter the seminary. But first of all, grow as close as possible to God and decide that you will be doing it for Him.

Is seminary formation what you thought it would be?

How is it similar and different from your expectations? There are some things that I had expected and other things that I didn't. I knew it would involve a disciplined and scheduled life but I didn't expect the communal aspect to be as comforting as it is. I really feel like I am part of a family in the seminary and was also surprised at how many different seminarians there can be. It is a very diverse group of mostly young (but some not so young) men who are aiming at the same goal. I was also surprised at how much fun we do have with each other whether it be hanging around relaxing, playing sports together, etc.

Please describe the importance of prayer in your life.

I have found that prayer is something that not always looks like an attractive thing to do but always leads to good. I have grown close enough to God that I cannot deny spending time with Him when I don't feel like it. Like any relationship there are ups and downs but I have tried not to be moved too much by feelings. Everyday, besides from trying to live for God, I spend time with God in prayer whether it be thinking of Him, having a conversation with Him, or just being in His presence.

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

Mainly by living a holy life and growing closer to God. Now I must work on living a more saintly life and studying hard because the things I learn now I will eventually use. While talking individually with a priest who gave our end-of-the-year retreat at the seminary, after finding out I was from Boston, he said that a priest in Boston must be twice as holy and work twice as hard as a priest anywhere else because of the troubles that have happened in this archdiocese.

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.

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