It is with great joy that I reflect on the recent ordination to Transitional Deacon of Reverend Mr. Larry Barile and the Priestly Ordination of Father Michael Bovino. These past months have been so different, and yet much remains the same. As men continue to respond to the will of God in their lives, determining whether to continue to move forward in formation, your prayers as members of the Church and of the diocese are always hugely important to them. This month, you have an opportunity to hear from Mr. Alex Pandolfe, one of our eight seminarians. A fine gentleman, Alex appreciates your prayers for him and for all his diocesan brother seminarians as they enter this year of priestly studies and human formation. May God’s will continue to become more clear to each of the men studying for the Norwich Diocese and also for those young men and women quietly discerning if they should step forward and make a greater commitment to answering a call from God to either the priesthood or consecrated religious life. Thank you, Alex, for your yes.
– Fr. Greg Galvin, Director of Priestly Vocations
Currently in my third year of seminary formation at Mount Saint Mary Seminary, I recently finished my pre-theology studies and am now beginning my first year of theology. But to give you a proper account of my movement toward the priesthood, I must start with the fertile ground in which our Lord placed me at birth: my loving family.
Being raised by a father and mother that told us that God and His love are more important than anything else in the world, my older brother, older sister, and I were given a firm foundation. Even more importantly, however, the constant, selfless love of my parents allowed us to experience their verbal claim of God’s love. It seems that God gave me them so that I might begin to understand Him. If indeed God is asking me to be one of His holy priests, I could answer affirmatively largely because He has already revealed His loving invitation to a life of holiness through those who are closest to me.
Probably at around the age of five, I often said that I wanted to be a priest. Perhaps I had some insight at this age, but I think mostly I had an incomplete understanding of the priesthood. For years to follow I put such thoughts behind me. Not until I left home in Middletown and began college at UConn in 2014 did I begin again to consider the priesthood, this time much more seriously.
At UConn, a strong community of friends, FOCUS missionaries and priests of the diocese welcomed me into a more intimate relationship with our Lord that in some ways seemed altogether new. Also at this time, I was told that every Catholic man should at least consider the priesthood, and from that point on I seemed never to stop considering this possibility. For some years, I was unsure that the Lord was actually calling me, but as my college experience moved toward a close, it seemed that I could do nothing else without first giving seminary a try.
As I have come to know, seminary formation does not give hard and fast answers to every question a man has about his life prior to entering. I continue to discern whether the Lord is calling me to the ordained priesthood, but I have learned with greater understanding that the Lord is definitely asking us all to live a life of holiness, in intimate relationship with Him.
I ask you to continue to pray for me as I discern God’s will, particularly as I discern the priesthood in a more focused way here at seminary. I say thank you to my family, my friends from youth to present, the ordained and religious of the diocese, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, and to the many of you that pray for me.