Christopher Wallace Pilot photo/ George Martell, Office for Vocations
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Home Parish: Our Lady of Good Counsel, Methuen. Seminary: St. John’s Seminary. High School: Methuen High School. College: Merrimack College. Hobbies: Praying, reading, outdoors, sports, board games.
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
I first had thoughts about being a priest when I was an altar boy.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?
I had attended the archdiocese’s vocations retreat in 2005, 2006, and 2007. I was also involved in Cursillo, charismatic renewal, and Life Teen youth ministry.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
My favorite Scripture passage is 1 John 4:7-21. Everyone needs to understand in the depths of their being that God IS Love: eternal, omnipotent, and unchanging, from which everything is created from and must return to.
What was your involvement in parish life before entering the seminary?
I was a eucharistic minister to homebound parishioners since 2003.
Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.
I’ve had multiple priests who, by their direct example in my life, have shown me what it is like to “live Jesus” in the office of the priesthood.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
I would say that there’s nothing more important than knowing that what I am doing is what God is calling me to do. This is the universal call for every Christian. So if you think God is calling you to be a priest, don’t be afraid; God will definitely make himself known to you.
Please tell us, what are some of the most important parts of discernment?
I think the most important part of discerning a vocation is to have the faith and love of a little child: Don’t be afraid; Our Father in heaven will always, bless, lead, guide, protect, and be with us every step of the way.
Is seminary formation different from what you thought it would be? How is it similar and different from your expectations?
Seminary formation is really liberating: It enables me to concentrate all of my life efforts on God and what he wants for me.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am an Eagle Scout.
What activities would you recommend in order to foster a culture of vocations?
I’d say that the most important thing in a culture of vocations is being around family and friends who are not afraid of embracing the challenge of being authentic, spiritually deep people. Holiness is contagious.
Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.
Father George Szal, SM, was my parish priest when I was an altar boy. He first planted the idea in my mind, and I have never forgotten it. The more closely I looked into the priesthood, there have also been many other people whom God has used to echo his call.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
I first came to know Jesus Christ intellectually by studying Catholic apologetics when I was a freshman in college. I then came to know Jesus Christ in my heart primarily through the love, preaching, and example of many good priests in the Merrimack Valley.
What were some of the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and shape your personal relationship with Christ and his Church?
Praying the rosary powerfully delivered me from a sinful lifestyle. Once that happened, I started to follow God the best I could. Daily Mass was essential for me, and the liturgy is the most important event any human being can participate in.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?
The most important spiritual readings for me have been “Story of a Soul,” “St. Faustina’s Diary,” and a non-fiction spiritual dialogue called “The Mountain of Silence.”
You can read any spiritual material under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and gain good fruit from it.
What is your day like in the seminary?
The seminary is challenging, exciting, and fun. Our daily routine provides for exercise and growth in the four pillars of a vocation: ministerial/pastoral, intellectual, spiritual, and social. They’re all interconnected.
Through the cardinal, God is calling you personally to help rebuild his Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?
I think that every Christian must take Christ’s individual call personally, and for the priest it is all the more so. A priest must respond with Mary, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your Word.” Once you live out this annunciation personally, God can announce his Word to the world through you.
How does the priest best follow in the footsteps of the Apostles?
By consistently bearing witness to the love and truth of Christ to all people, especially during the most challenging times.
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” -- St. Padre Pio
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.