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Vocation Stories

quote Seminarians AmazeenRyan Amazeen

Your Hometown: Auburn, NH
Your Home Parish: St. Pius X, Manchester, NH
Your Current Age: 24
Your Favorite Pastimes: Playing the trumpet in my high school band, going to the beach with family and friends, listening to classical music
Your Favorite Food: Pasta (and anything Italian)
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Pius X

What did you do before entering seminary?
I attended Manchester Memorial High School before entering college seminary right after graduating. During my time in high school, I worked in the customer service department at Hannaford in Manchester.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I have desired to be a priest from as early as I can remember. I first thought that God was calling me to be His priest when I was in middle school, and throughout my high school years this sense of being called and the desire to be a priest persisted.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
The most challenging part of being a seminarian is identifying those aspects of yourself and your personality that have to change in order to become a true bridge between God and His people. The process of formation that the seminary offers is so important and helpful, but it can be challenging.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
The most rewarding part of being a seminarian is to have the opportunity and time to pray and to study the truths of our faith so that God can form us to be good and holy priests. It is extremely rewarding to put yourself at God’s disposal through prayer and study and to see how He forms us into the men that He wants us to be for His Church. 

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Pray every day that God will give you the grace to discover your vocation in life, and receive the sacraments faithfully, especially the Eucharist and Penance. Develop a close relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to show you where God is calling you to go. Remember that the Church needs more holy priests, so do not be afraid to heroically lay down your life to serve God and His people as a priest.

Please pray for Ryan Amazeen and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Ryan at: Mr. Ryan Amazeen, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

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quote Seminarians GagnonDavid Gagnon

Your Hometown: Manchester, NH
Your Home Parish: St. Anthony of Padua, Manchester, NH
Your Current Age: 25
Your Favorite Pastimes: Spending time with family and friends, reading, exercising
Your Favorite Food: Pasta
Your Favorite Saint: St. Anne

What did you do before entering seminary?
I was a police officer.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
In hindsight, I feel that I was drawn to the priesthood during a particular Easter Vigil when I was still a child, possibly at the age of 8 or 9. However, I was unable to adequately articulate this desire until I was in high school.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
At times, balancing a busy schedule can be difficult but it also enables me to better appreciate the time that I have off.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Seminary provides a unique atmosphere which has allowed me to deepen my relationship with Christ and be better formed as a Catholic man intending to serve the people of God.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Discernment is a process and that takes time. Allowing oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit, listening to the Lord in prayer, and frequently receiving the sacraments is essential. I would also encourage him to become acquainted with his pastor and get involved at his local parish.

Please pray for David Gagnon and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to David at: Mr. David Gagnon, c/o St. Meinrad Seminary,  200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577

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quote Seminarians GorewitzBen Gorewitz

Your Hometown: Laconia
Your Home Parish: St. André Bessette, Laconia
Your Current Age: 20
Your Favorite Pastimes: Skiing, reading, fishing
Your Favorite Food: Chicken parmesan
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Thomas Aquinas

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering seminary I was attending Bishop Brady High School.

When did you first think that God might be calling you to be a priest?
I first felt the call to the priesthood when I was fourteen.

What has been the most challenging part of being of being a seminarian?
The most challenging part of being a seminarian is not being in a parish full time. In seminary, we often talk about parish life in the future as a priest, but in the seminary, while there is time to experience parish life, most of the year is spent at the seminary.

What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part of being a seminarian is knowing, if it is in God’s wilI, that I will be able to participate in Christ’s priesthood and help lead souls to Him.

What advice would you give a man considering a vocation to the priesthood?
I would say two things. First, pray, pray, pray! In order to know what God wants for your life, you have to make sure you are listening to Him always. Second, it if God is leading you to it, seriously consider seminary. Seminary is a place of discernment. If you truly give yourself to God, and if He wants you to be a priest, then you will be a priest. If not, He will tell you. The role of seminary is to help men discern what God’s call is in their lives.

Please pray for Benjamin Gorewitz and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Ben at: Mr. Benjamin Gorewitz, c/o Our Lady of Providence Seminary, 485 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908

Support seminarians like Benjamin Gorewitz, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection

quote Seminarians GregoryBrendan Gregory

Your Hometown: Freeland, Michigan
Your Home Parish: St. Joseph Cathedral, Manchester
Your Current Age: 22
Your Favorite Pastimes: Hiking, Kayaking, and Reading
Your Favorite Food: My mother’s lasagna
Your Favorite Saint: St. Thomas Aquinas

What did you do before entering seminary?
I lived and worked at an all-boys Catholic preparatory school in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
When I was in grade school attending Mass and religious education classes on a regular basis.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
There is a lot of responsibility and self-motivation. Discernment and formation starts with yourself and your relationship with Jesus.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Being able to make friends with classmates and share our joy in the love of Christ and his bride the Church with each other.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Pray! Know that Jesus loves you and wants to lead you to happiness in life. If he is calling you to be a priest, go and follow him and he will sustain and fill you.

Please pray for Brendan Gregory and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Brendan at: Mr. Brendan Gregory, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

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quote Seminarians LivingstonJoshua Livingston

Your Hometown: Tyler Hill, PA
Your Home Parish: n/a
Your Current Age: 36
Your Favorite Pastimes: Hiking, Reading, Ping-Pong
Your Favorite Food: Pizza
Your Favorite Saint: Not good to pick favorites in a family!

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering seminary I worked in outdoor education and then as a high school math and physics teacher.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
For as long as I can remember I've thought that God might be calling me. The first time I told anybody about it I was probably 6 or 7 years old.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
The most challenging part for me is that change is difficult, and in order to be the men God is calling us to be, we need to change and grow to be more like Him

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
This growth is both the most challenging and the most rewarding part of being formed for the priesthood.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
To someone who thinks God is calling them to the priesthood, I'd say listen to the call, and pursue it! Talk to your parish priest, talk to Fr. Matt the vocation director, start to really explore if God is calling you!

Please pray for Joshua Livingston and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Joshua at: Mr. Joshua Livingston, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

Support seminarians like Joshua Livingston, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection

quote Seminarians MoynahanJoseph Moynahan

Your Hometown: Eliot, Maine
Your Home Parish: Corpus Christi, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Your Current Age: 31
Your Favorite Pastimes: Reading, calligraphy, skiing, tubing, fishing, SCUBA diving, going to the beach, sports, skating, card games.
Your Favorite Food: depends on the day.
Your Favorite Saint: That's tough, it's like asking 'who is your favorite sibling?' Aside from Our Lady, I have a deference to: St. John Paul II, St. Padre Pio, St. John Vianney, St. Faustina, St. Therese, St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. John of the Cross, St. Leo the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Benedict, St. John the Apostle, St. Joseph.

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering St. John's I worked as an RN for six years. The kind of nursing I primarily worked in was critical care, ICU and then interventional cardiology in a cardiac catheterization lab.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
As far back as I can remember I had a desire to be a priest I was inspired by John Vianney and Padre Pio, but as I grew older this supernatural desire became something I feared and for a time I ignored it despite its quiet presence in my then restless heart. It wasn't until a graced retreat that I realized that God can be trusted and this desire deserves to be explored with authentic discernment and prayerful pondering.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Getting out of the Lord's way. Holiness and doing the will of God, which for me is formation for the priesthood, can easily become a task that we think we have to do on our own and by our own works, but in reality it's the Lord's work that I'm privileged to partake in.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Basically, getting to know and therefore love God and the Church in a far deeper way than I could have ever imagined prior to my coming to the seminary. How is that rewarding? Well, because from that love of God flows a love of people and an ardent desire to bring Christ, or rather, be an instrument of Christ to his people. Participating in such a task is the most rewarding thing in the world.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
DO NOT BE AFRAID! What do you fear? Being transformed into Christ? My friend that is the goal of the Christian life! Do you fear that He will take something from you that you desire? Brother, what He would take from you is that which harms you, but He does so only so that He can give you a share in His divinity and what is better than God! Do you fear the future? Do you think that the Providential God who is love and goodness itself will abandon those who give their life to Him? Do you fear your past? Let me tell you, you are not the sum total of your failures and mistakes but rather you are the sum total of the Father's love for you, and your capacity to become an image of the Son. Become intimate with the Person of Jesus through the Sacraments. Find a Saint who inspires you and ask for their help, also ask Our Lady to help you hear Jesus' voice. Come to the Andrew Dinners and various events in the diocese that Fr. Matt and the vocation team puts out, and ask for a priest to be a spiritual director so as to help discern the Lord's action in your life. There's nothing to be afraid of!

Please pray for Joseph Moynahan and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Joseph at: Mr. Joseph Moynahan, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

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quote Seminarians NadeauAndre Nadeau

Your Hometown: Lancaster, NH
Your Home Parish: Gate of Heaven Parish
Your Current Age: 24
Your Favorite Pastimes: Music, paintball, target shooting, camping
Your Favorite Food: Mom’s shepherds pie
Your Favorite Saint: St. Pope JPII, St. Maximillian Kolbe

What did you do before entering seminary?
I worked as a land surveyor across ME, NH, and VT for my father’s company, Horizons Engineering. I also started a young adult group, played bass in our family band, taught youth ministry, and served as a counselor for Camp Eagles Cliff in Center Harbor.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
The thought initially came to my mind in high school, but I was pursuing a relationship at that time. After graduating from White Mountain Community College in Berlin, I found I really enjoyed service and ministry work. I focused my attention there, and that passion led me to make the decision to apply for seminary. Priests offer their whole lives in service to the Church; I hope God is calling me to this vocation!

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Being away from home is certainly challenging. I grew up in a small town, homeschooled, with nine siblings, lots of land, and an active family environment.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
God has placed amazing people and opportunities in my life since my decision to join seminary. It is so rewarding to make new friends, grow in my spiritual life, and give every moment of myself to Christ in service to His Church! I also am finding new ways to serve and love my family.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
I would say do not rush your discernment. I entered seminary at age 24, and am very happy with the accomplishments and adventures I undertook since graduating high school. That time allowed me to grow immensely in my love of service to the Church!

Please pray for Andre Nadeau and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Andre at: Mr. Andre Nadeau c/o Our Lady of Providence Seminary, 485 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908

Support seminarians like Andre Nadeau, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection

quote Seminarians OuelletteEric Ouellette

Your Hometown: Epping NH, currently living in Hampton
Your Home Parish: St. Joseph’s Parish, Epping NH
Your Current Age: 23
Your Favorite Pastimes: Hiking, reading sci-fi & fantasy novels
Your Favorite Food: Probably chicken parmesan, but I’ll eat almost anything
Your Favorite Saint: St. Thomas Aquinas, unless I’ve lost something. Then it’s St. Anthony

What did you do before entering seminary? 
I went to the University of New Hampshire for my bachelor’s in computer engineering. I also worked at the UNH Interoperability Lab, testing ethernet devices during that time.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I first considered it when I was about 8 years old and had been thinking about it on and off ever since. I really began to take it seriously after my freshman year of college.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
The change from engineering to philosophy has been a tough challenge, but my professors have been great at helping me to understand everything that we’re learning.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Seeing the whole community of guys in my class grow closer together and share how we all came to seminary has been incredibly rewarding.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Find a community of people who will support and encourage you as you try to discover God’s plan for your life and be open to whatever that plan may be.

Please pray for Eric Ouellette and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Eric at: Mr. Eric Ouellette, c/o St. Meinrad Seminary,  200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577

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quote Seminarians LeQuangPhong Le Quang

Your Hometown: Vietnam
Your Home Parish: Thanh Tan Parish
Your Current Age: 29
Your Favorite Pastimes: reading, listening music, and soccer
Your Favorite Food: Vegetable, chicken
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Joseph, Saint Anthony, Saint Teresa of Jesus.

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering Saint John’s seminary, I lived in a parish while I was studying at university in my home diocese in Vietnam. After I graduated from the university, I moved to another parish to receive further vocational training. At that time, I attended some activities, such as sports, musical programs, retreats, catechism classes, etc… Most of the time I lived in parishes to get many experiences to become a good priest in the future.

When did you first think that God might be calling you to be a Priest?
When I was a child, I really liked seminarians who wore the cassock, it looked beautiful. During studying at high school, I attended a vocations group in my parish and in another parish with about 40 young people who wanted to become a priest. This was the first time I thought about my vocation as the idea was new to me. I spent a lot of time praying to discern my vocation. As the result, I have recognized that God has been calling me.

What has been the most challenging part of being a seminarian?
Being a seminarian of the Diocese of Manchester and studying at Saint John’s Seminary in the United States, has had many challenges, such as language barriers, cultural adaptation, and getting used to American food. But through it all I have realized that God is calling me to be a priest, so I feel comfortable studying here. I feel grateful and blessed to learn a new language, new culture, and new food. Luckily, I really like the American food now, such as pizza and hamburgers which I did not like before. I also love to talk with native English speakers so that they can help me improve my communication and listening skills.

What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part for me is the care and love from priests, seminaries, and professors. I have received many graces of God’s mercy through people who live around me and listen to me when I need someone to talk with. I have learned how to care and comfort others.

What advice would you give a man considering a vocation to priesthood?
I would ask “have you ever had the thought that God is calling you to be a priest?” Open your heart to talk with him and love him. If you want to serve the people of God including the poor, the needy, the lonely. If you feel you love God so much and you also feel that God loves you too, if you love praying or practicing contemplative meditation, I think that God might be calling you. You should answer him and follow his call.

Please pray for Phong Le Quang and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Phong at: Mr. Phong Le Quang, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

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quote Seminarians SimardDaniel Simard

Your Hometown: Litchfield, NH
Your Home Parish: St. Aloysius of Gonzague Parish, Nashua, NH
Your Current Age: 24
Your Favorite Pastimes: Being with family and friends, basketball, hiking, visiting new breweries, lifting weights, movies, video games, and reading
Your Favorite Food: Pizza
Your Favorite Saint: St. Andre Bessette

What did you do before entering seminary?
I completed my undergraduate studies at Southern New Hampshire University, (SNHU) in their three year Honors Program in Business Administration . After graduating in May of 2015, I immediately began working for an insurance company located in Manchester, NH as a Benefits Consultant. I worked in insurance for two and a half years. Then, after much prayer and discernment, I decided to follow Christ's call to enter seminary and was accepted by the Diocese of Manchester to begin studying at St. John's Seminary fall of 2017.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I first felt that God might be calling me to the priesthood in my early childhood; however, for many selfish reasons I decided to ignore this call for a large portion of my life. It was not until Novemberof 2014, whilst finishing my undergraduate degree at SNHU, that this call thrust itself to the forefront of my mind and remained there until I could no longer ignore it.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
The most challenging part of being a seminarian is twofold. One, the academics can be challenging; especially if you, as myself, have no prior experience with philosophy. Two, living in community can pose some challenges. I have 85 plus seminarian brothers at St. John's seminary. Think about that in light of the relationships you have with your own brothers or sisters. You may not always get along, and sometimes you get on each other's nerves, but at the end of the day, above all, you love each other.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
The most rewarding part is in being able to serve Christ and his Church. There is no experience more rewarding than to serve. This desire to serve is part of every vocation and service. Truly, this is where true peace and joy are found.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Read Scripture, pray often, and participate in the Sacraments of the Church. This will allow you the opportunity to get to intimately know and love Jesus Christ. There is no other way to get to know Jesus and His plan for your life than to spend time with Him. It is like forming a friendship. Think of your best friend, how did you become so close? The relationship probably took much time to form and over the years you have grown closer and closer to each other. This can be likened to your relationship with Christ. It is also important to surround yourself with people who will encourage you to follow your vocation. The help and support I received from my practicing Catholic friends and family made all the difference in discerning my vocation.

Please pray for Daniel Simard and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Daniel at: Mr. Daniel Simard, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

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quote Seminarians TraynorRory Traynor

Your Hometown: Chester, NH
Your Home Parish: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Hampton
Your Current Age: 24
Your Favorite Pastimes: Drawing, watching movies, spending time with friends and family.
Your Favorite Food: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Your Favorite Saint: St. Peter

What did you do before entering seminary?
I worked for my father in his accounting office and for my brother in his repairs and maintenance company. I also enjoyed some amateur acting and hiking.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I was about 6 or 7. I was with my Dad and he had taken me to my first Mass. Evidently I came home telling my Mom that I wanted to be a priest.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Learning to trust God, and believing that He is infinitely trustworthy.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Realizing that God's hand is in everything that happens, from the most profound to the most mundane.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Talk to somebody, preferably a priest. We were not meant to take any journey on our own, and God has put these people in your life for a reason.

Please pray for Rory Traynor and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Rory at: Mr. Rory Traynor, c/o St. Meinrad Seminary,  200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Support seminarians like Rory Traynor, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection