Christopher J. Casey Home Parish: St. Michael, North Andover, Mass. Seminary: Blessed John XXIII National Seminary, Weston, Mass. High school: Lawrence High School College: University of Massachusetts at Amherst Hobbies: Cooking, reading Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
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Who influenced you /inspired you to priesthood?
There were many priests who influenced me as a child. I served as an altar boy at St. Laurence’s and have many good memories of good and dedicated priests. One of these was Father Jim Molan, OSA who lived at St. Laurence’s but served primarily as the chaplain at the Lawrence General Hospital.
I remember one year he fell asleep during the Easter Vigil, and everyone in the parish knew why. It was because he poured himself into his ministry each day, and was always available to help anyone in need, and would go to the hospital any time of the day or night. He was totally dedicated to the service of others, and emptied himself every day in service to the people. This is the model of priesthood I am most comfortable with, that of service to others.
What would you say to a young man who thinks
he may have a vocation?
I would tell a young man who thinks he has a vocation to pursue it. First, pursue it by growing in your faith life by participating in Mass, daily if possible, participate in the sacraments. It is important to pray each day, and not to get discouraged. We are all called into a relationship with God, and relationships have their ups and downs, their good days and their bad days. Relationships require sacrifice, time, and patience. Finally, I would say that every person has a vocation...something that God is calling us to. We try to find out what that is by listening for God’s voice in our lives, challenging ourselves to turn away from the things that take us away from God, and investing time and energy in our relationship with Him.
Please tell us what are some of the most important parts of discernment?
I remember when I was confirmed by Cardinal Medeiros that I told him I thought I wanted to be a priest. All he said to me was “Pray! Pray! Pray!” I remember thinking “Is that it?” I think now that... it is it. The most important part of discernment is prayer. Developing a rich and varied prayer life is the only way we can hope to hear God’s voice in our lives. He is speaking! Are we listening? We listen through our prayer.
Is seminary formation what you thought it would be? How is it similar and different from your expectations?
When I first was considering a vocation to the diocesan priesthood in Boston, Father Bob Blaney told me something about seminary formation that I did not know. He told me that the seminary was a time of further discernment, and that it was a time for me to discern the priesthood and for the priesthood to discern me. This helped me a lot to understand that I did not have to have all the answers upon entering the seminary, and to understand what the seminary was there for. I think we can often think of leaving the seminary as failing at an attempt to become a priest. It is important to understand the role the seminary plays in helping discernment.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
People are often surprised to learn that I know American Sign Language and have many deaf friends.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
I credit the Blessed Mother with helping me to come to know Jesus. She will always and only lead you to Jesus, and that is true in my life. Coming into prayer life that was Marian, with the rosary and personal prayer with Mary, helped me to come to know Jesus as a God of love and mercy.
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.