Meet our seminarians: Guy Sciacca

Guy Sciacca Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

Seminary: Blessed John XXIII National Seminary, Weston. College: Boston State College, North Adams State College. Hobbies: Swimming

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

I participated in directed retreats at Eastern Point Retreat Center. I also attended the Catholic Men’s Conference held in Boston in 2006.

What is your favorite Scripture passage?

My favorite Scripture passage is: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30).

Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.

I believe that my vocation began as a young boy when my mother taught me to pray the Rosary and I would accompany her to Mass. Several parish priests in my life played a significant role in fostering my vocation. I have a very deep devotion to Our Lady. Ultimately, I believe that it was she who gently led me to where I would be of greatest service to her Son -- the priesthood.

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

Don’t wait. A vocation is a precious gift from the Lord. It is a privilege and an honor which should not go by the wayside.

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

A deep spiritual life. A burning desire to serve the Lord. A steadfast committment to follow Jesus wherever he may lead us. A solid belief in the teachings of the Church. Spiritual direction with someone in whom you have complete trust and confidence is invaluable in the discernment process. An openness to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit within us, is, I think, the most important part of discernment.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I think some people might be surprised to know that I am somewhat of a traditionalist in my thinking.

What activities would you recommend in order to foster a culture of vocations.

I would recommend participation in Bible study groups. I would recommend vocation fairs sponsored by the Vocations Office for young and older men. A vocation can come at any age. It is not limited only to high school or college students. I would recommend more outreach on the part of seminarians to young and older possible vocations. It is one thing to read about seminary life and a vocation. It is quite another to actually hear what it is like from someone who is experiencing it.

Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.

My sister-in-law wanted to know why I left the seminary years ago. I said it just wasn’t the Lord’s will for me. Then other people told me that they thought I would make a good priest. The desire was always in me but these people stirred that desire.

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

When I was discerning my vocation, this time, I prayed daily to Pope John Paul II that my vocation would be confirmed in some way. He answered my prayer in some very concrete and some very subtle ways. Now, I continue to pray to Pope John Paul II every day that my vocation will be strengthened.

How did you come to know Jesus Christ?

I came to know Jesus Christ by realizing the futility of life without him in it. I came to know that I could come to Jesus with my problems, concerns, and even my anger and frustration and he would always accept me, where I was at that time. I credit this in large part to participation in the 19th Annotation Retreat, held at St. John’s Seminary.

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

Participation in the 19th Annotation Retreat; Spiritual direction; regular attendance at Mass (daily, if possible); regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation; regular attendance at adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, whenever possible.

What was your career or background before entering the seminary?

Before entering the seminary, I was a financial administrator at Harvard University for 16 1/2 years.

Please describe the importance of prayer in your life?

Prayer is the center of my life. If I do not pray then I don’t consider my day to be complete. It is important for me to begin my day by getting on my knees and asking the Lord for the grace for what I may need for the day. Throughout the day, I call on the Lord often, when daily life, seems to overwhelm me and I am brought back to what is really important. In the evening at the seminary, I stop whatever I am doing at 8:30 p.m. and spend a half-hour in the chapel with the Lord. This is the time when I do not pray in the sense that I ask for anything. This is the time when I just want to be with the Lord, quietly, and let him speak to me.

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

The Psalms, especially Psalm 131. My favorite books are: ‘‘The Confessions,’’ ‘‘The Dark Night of the Soul;’’ ‘‘The Interior Castle;’’ ‘‘The City of God;’’ ‘‘Into Abba’s Arms.’’ My favorite passage comes from ‘‘The Confessions of Saint Augustine’’ -- “Let me know myself, Lord, and I shall know thee.”

What is your day like in the seminary?

My day is full. Our schedule is set around prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours is said in common, morning and evening. Mass is celebrated every morning except on Monday, when it is celebrated at 5 p.m. We have classes every day except Thursdays and Sundays. Afternoons and evenings are usually free for study.

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

The priest should respond to this mandate in a spirit of humility. The priest must be willing to respond with confidence and faith to whatever the cardinal may ask -- for it is to greater honor and glory of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

How does the priest best follow in the footsteps of the apostles?

The priest best follows in the footsteps of the apostles by being a man of faith, courage, and integrity. He must be a man who is unafraid to stand up for the values, ideals, and principles which are sent to us by the teaching office of the Church.

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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