I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Providence, RI on June 4th and I am so very grateful for my time at Saint John’s Seminary. In formation at Saint John’s, with the help and guidance of the priest faculty, and through theological studies, the wonderful gifts of daily Mass, adoration, and prayer, as well as pastoral experiences and living a community life with brother seminarians, a man is able to grow in his maturity, and most especially in his faith and prayer as a man of God. Seminary offers an environment for a man to focus on Jesus, and grow especially in a deeper knowledge and love of God and His Church. I will miss my time at Saint John’s for all these reasons. Having the structured life of study and prayer, and being surrounded by a faculty who desires you to be a better man, as well as brothers who are all like-minded, working toward the same end - priesthood - Seminary is truly such a gift and a “retreat” with the Lord as one listens to His voice in depths of his heart to see where God is calling him.
I honestly cannot believe just how fast my 6 years of total seminary formation flew by, especially my 4 years at Saint John’s. But, I know I must remember that my time there was for the purpose of my being ordained a priest of Jesus Christ, and I am so full of joy and excitement that God has finally brought me to this point. I most look forward to seeing how God will work through me in my ministry as a priest. Most especially in celebrating the life-giving sacraments of the Church, I look forward to sharing the life of Christ with those God entrusts to me, and being a spiritual Father to them - I am so humbled to be chosen by God to do His work.
I think the most challenging part of being a priest today is the culture and world that we are being ordained and sent into. We know we live in a particularly very secular and confused world where the truth of the Gospel is challenged and rejected by so many. While this is a challenge we will face as new priests in the Church, it is also a gift, because as the apostles went out from the upper room on that day of Pentecost with the power of the Holy Spirit into mission territory, into a world that did not know Christ, we too are being sent out in a similar environment. We must always remember that as priests, it is firstly God who accomplishes His work, while we are His instruments.
If I had any advice for a young man entering seminary today, I would have to echo the words of our Lord said throughout all of scripture, and also those of Pope Saint John Paul II: “Do not be afraid.” Even though we are so unworthy, and while it can be scary to respond to God’s call, especially in our world today, we must remember that it is HE who calls, and HE will always provide us with the grace necessary to accomplish His will through us. We do not go out into the world alone, but in the name and power of Jesus Christ who said to us, his disciples: “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).
By: Fr. Mark Gadoury
Class of 2022
Diocese of Providence, RI
About the Seminary: Founded in 1884, New England’s oldest Major Seminary, Saint John’s Seminary serves Catholic communities across the New England region and beyond by educating and training men to be Catholic priests and by providing a graduate education in Catholic Theology to laity, deacons, and professed religious who serve the Church in a variety of different ministries.