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Meet our priests: Father John Culloty

Posted: 4/3/2009

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Father John Culloty Pilot file photo

Parish assignment: St. Timothy, Norwood

Place of birth: Cambridge

How many brothers and sisters do you have? Three sisters (deceased)

High school: Mission High Roxbury

College: Undergraduate -- Cardinal O’Connell St. John’s Seminary College

Seminary (Theology) -- St. John’s, Brighton

Date of ordination: May 20, 1972

What assignments have you had since ordination?

Immaculate Conception in Salem; St. Stephen in Framingham; Campus Ministry at Wellesley College and Framingham State College; St. Timothy in Norwood

What have been some of the greatest joys for you as a priest?

Being able to be a part of people’s lives in moments of joy and sorrow. Celebrating significant moments in people’s lives in the context of the sacraments.

Who influenced your vocation the most to consider the priesthood?

Parents/ older cousins who were priests and religious/Father James Dalton -- a priest in my home parish when I was growing up.

What events or practices in your life helped you to discover and discern your call to the priesthood?

Seeing the way so many people live out their faith and put that faith into practice in real ways in their daily lives.

What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?

1 John 4:11-18: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his son as Savior of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the Day of Judgment because as he is, so are we in this world.”

This passage speaks of God being love and if we say we love God who we do not see we must love the people we do see.

What are some of your hobbies?

I used to be a racquetball player until my knees gave out. I run and bike a bit these days.

What advice would you give to a young man who is considering the priesthood?

Get involved with parish life. Volunteer with some groups that help the less fortunate.Take quiet time with the Lord and try to hear his voice.

What are some of your favorite books/ spiritual reading/ magazines?

America, Commonweal, The Tablet. “The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton,” by Michael Mott. In this year of St. Paul, “Paul His Story” by Jerome Murphy O’Connor.

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

Try always to treat God’s people with respect. Remember that we can never make others change -- we can only change ourselves. Treat others as we would treat Christ.

When Cardinal Seán came to Boston, he wrote a Pastoral Letter entitled “Vocations: Everybody’s Business.” What are some ways that we can help all individuals and families understand their role in promoting and supporting vocations?

I think we need to show others that we are truly fulfilled in our role as priests. If we truly love what we do that speaks volumes to others.

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Upcoming Events in the Vocation Office

April 3-4: Eucharistic Congress for College Students and Young Adults in the North End

April 8: Christ Speaks in the City at the Old State House in Boston

May 23: Priesthood Ordination at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston

The content of Meet Our Priests is provided by the Office for Vocations of the Archdiocese of Boston.