Christopher Carmody Pilot photo/ George Martell, Office for Vocations
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Home Parish: Immaculate Conception, Newburyport. Seminary: St. John’s Seminary. College:
Franciscan University of Steubenville. Hobbies: Running, reading, movies.
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
The priesthood was always an option, and at 24 I decided that I needed to seriously discern what my vocation is. Through prayer and talking with others the priesthood and seminary kept coming up.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?
I was a member of my parish youth group during high school and college. With the youth group I went to World Youth Day in Toronto and many Steubenville East retreats in Attleboro, Mass. I have been on a variety of retreats and Catholic activities such as the summer harbor cruises. I attended the Boston discernment retreat in the spring of 2007.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
Acts 1:8 -- “And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” This passage is important because it talks of the loving God who supports us through the power he gives us in the seven gifts of the Holy Spirt. In addition, the passage speaks of how he is involved in each of our lives and rests on each of us personally.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
Go for it! The seminary is an amazing place where I have the time and the opportunity to learn more about my faith, go deeper in prayer, and talk with priests and other seminarians. If you think you MAY have a vocation then take time to talk with God about it -- with a priest first and then at a seminary.
Please tell us, what are some of the most important parts of discernment?
Two things: prayer and talking with others. Prayer is the most important part because it is God who gives you your vocation and only he can tell you what it is. Talking with others, especially a priest or spiritual director, is important so that you don’t keep everything inside.
What activities would you recommend in order to foster a culture of vocations?
First would be adoration. A community that spends time with God in adoration is going in the right direction. Second, people need to be bold and directly ask guys if they thought about the priesthood.
What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?
Pope John Paul II was the model for the priesthood. Through his life I was able to come to know what a priest should be and how a priest should interact with the world. I am also confident that it is through the prayers and intercession of John Paul II, both while he was alive and now that he is in heaven, that I am in seminary.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
My parents have always been great examples of having Jesus and the Church in our lives. In high school my youth minister and other adults in the parish showed me how to pray in a deeper way, and provided me with opportunities to encounter Christ. It was in college, through the help of my friends, that I began to understand the Catholic faith and know Jesus Christ in a more personal relationship.
What were some of the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and shape your personal relationship with Christ and his Church?
Adoration and encountering other Catholics. Sitting and kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament helped me to have a personal relationship with Christ and continued to help me draw close to him because it allowed me to know God as a loving God who died for me, a person who loves me. Also, having Catholic friends and talking with other Catholics who have a relationship with Christ helps me when I am struggling because I am able to see and hear about Christ working in their lives.
What signs led you to believe that God was calling you to be a priest?
After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville I had two jobs -- middle school teacher and youth minister...I enjoyed both jobs because of the friendships I made and the kids that I worked with.
Please describe the importance of prayer in your life.
Prayer is central to not only my vocation, but all my life. While prayer is always a battle and I have to work at it everyday, prayer puts me in touch with the Father who loves me; calms me when I am anxious or angry; directs me when I am confused; consoles me when I am feeling alone; and, unites me with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?
Besides the Bible (a must read!), I enjoy reading about the saints -- especially the Doctors of Church. I find it fascinating to read about the faith of the saints and how they lived out their realtionship with Christ. It is also very encouraging to read how these amazing men and women of God struggled in their faith in many of the same ways I do, and to learn what helped them grow in love, faith, and trust in the Lord.
How does the priest best follow in the footsteps of the Apostles?
The priest best follows in the footsteps of the apostles by knowing Jesus Christ and having a relationship with him. This is what the apostles first did for three years, and it is what enabled them to go out and teach about Christ after his ressurection. Priests act like apostles when they build their relationship with Christ, so that they can share it with their parish and community.
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.