Meet our seminarians: Tamiru Atraga

Tamiru Atraga Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

Home Parish: St. Anne, Dorchester. Home Country: Ethiopia. Seminary: St. John’s Seminary, Brighton.

High School: Minor seminary in Ethiopia with Vincentian Fathers. Hobbies: Spiritual reading, lives of

the saints. When was the first time you thought of priesthood?

I was 14 years old when I went to the minor seminary. It was always in my heart to become a priest and to serve God and His people. There have been a lot of difficulties and challenges on my way, but God is always helping me to pursue my vocation with great zeal. I pray always to respond to God’s call. What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?

I participated in seminary retreats and vocation office retreats to make the right decision for my life.

What is your favorite Scripture

passage? Why?

I like to read the call of the prophet Samuel. I like it because God had a great plan for Samuel, but it was not all clear for him until Eli told him that God was indeed calling him. I believe that many young people want to serve God, but they need someone who can help them as Eli helped Samuel.

Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.

Many people inspired me since childhood to become a priest. I had great priest friends to talk with about my vocation.

What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?

I would say it’s worthwhile to give one’s life to Jesus because He first gave His life for us. There’s nothing greater in life than to love the Lord and to love His people.

Please tell us, what are some of the most important parts of discernment?

One of the most important parts of discernment is to know what is from God and what is not from God. As Scripture says, the devil is the father of all lies. It is important to know Jesus. It is important to come to know God and His Word. ‘‘To be ignorant of Scripture is to be ignorant of Jesus’’ (St. Jerome).

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Some Ethiopian people would be surprised to know that I am studying to be a priest for Boston. They know that to be a priest in Boston is more of a challenge than to be a priest in Ethiopia with the different culture and language. But it is God’s work, not ours.

What activities would you

recommend in order to foster

a culture of vocations?

I would recommend a good spiritual director and a year of discernment of living in the community. The more young people know of the life of the saints the better to love God and His Church.

Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.

My parish priest was always encouraging me and helping me in my discernment process.

What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?

John Paul II was a man of prayer. He was in love with God and His people, especially with the young people. I was influenced by his book ‘‘Theology of the Body.’’ I believe that it would be a great help for young people to read this book to remind them that we are created for love as a unity of body and soul.

How did you come to know

Jesus Christ?

I grew up in a very devout Catholic family and I was in formation for a long time. Above all, Jesus Christ came to my life and saved me from my struggles and temptations.

What were the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and shape your personal relationship with Christ and His Church?

Receiving the holy Eucharist, regular confession, reading spiritual books, [and] consulting with spiritual people greatly shaped my personal relationship with Christ and His Church.

What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?

I like to read the spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, Theresa of Avila, John Vianney and St. Alphonsus Liguori.

What is your day like in the seminary?

The day is full. We start with morning prayer at 7 a.m., then we have Mass at 7:30 a.m. We have class in the morning until noon. Some students have an elective class in the afternoon. We have adoration between 5-6 p.m. Some days we have human and spiritual formation in the evening. The rest of the time is spent reading and writing papers.

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

I believe with the guidance of the cardinal we all need to help to rebuild God's Church. Let us use the people who have the gifts in various areas of spiritual life. I think we need more of a strong sense of unity and working together in order to rebuild God’s Church. God is in charge and our enemy will be defeated if we all work together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Anything else?

I think we need to follow the examples of the holy martyrs who have gone before us. People will hate us and reject us, but we need to prepare to give our life for the sake of Christ and for the salvation of souls.

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.

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Nation
Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Nation
Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Local
Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

World
Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

World
Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

Nation
'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Local
Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Local
Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

Local
CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Local
Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Nation
Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Nation
Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...