notmagic - Saint John's Seminary

This isn't magic.

It's Grace.


On Ordination Day, you seem to witness magic. You pray for new vocations. When one appears, he’s hustled off to seminary. 6 years later, a bishop says some solemn words. Hands are placed on the seminarian’s head, and suddenly his soul is changed.

What happens in those six years? Do seminarians live like monks? Do they spend their days in a castle? Do they study Latin so that someday they can do magic too? The whole thing is strange, mysterious. Of course it seems like magic.

But there is so much you never see. You don’t see the late nights mastering theology. You don’t see the Saturdays with the poorest of the poor. You don’t see the brotherhood that grows among our seminarians. You don’t see the wisdom and the counsel of the priests who guide our men to ordination. You don’t see the hours passed in adoration before a tabernacle.

What you don’t see is the exhausting work of seminary formation – the constant toil to help men grow in holiness and learn to be your priests. And you don’t see how God inspires those efforts and perfects them – how He transforms a young man into a priest of Jesus Christ.

When you witness all of that, Ordination Day is only more amazing.

Because it isn’t magic.

It’s grace.

We may not always see God’s grace in action. But we can still work with it. We do that at Saint John’s every day. I ask you to join us. Donate to our mission today.


Father Paul Born

A son of Stephen and Pamela (DiClemente), he was born in Boston on Aug. 1, 1991, and raised in Stoneham at St. Patrick Parish. He is an alumnus of Boston College’s Class of 2013, having graduated with a degree in finance. Prior to entering Saint John Seminary, he worked in New York City as a financial analyst at Barclays. He entered St. John's Seminary as a member of the class of 2023 and has been serving a diaconal assignment at St. Mary, Waltham.

Father Jose Ignacio Montero Burgos

Born on April 5, 1993, in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, in the Dominican Republic, he is the youngest of the three sons of Francisca de Montero and the late Placido Montero Alcantara. His home parish is San Pedro Claver in Pedro Brand, Dominican Republic. He attended elementary and high school in the Dominican Republic. He is an alumnus of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline. He has been serving his deacon assignment at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, East Boston.

Father Rodrigo Martinez

A native of Metapan in Santa Ana, El Salvador, he was born on Jan. 6, 1991. He attended elementary school in El Salvador, then the Mildred Avenue Middle School in Mattapan, and East Boston High School, East Boston. In 2019, he graduated from Providence College with a degree in philosophy and entered Saint John's Seminary as a member of the Class of 2023. During his deacon year, he has been serving at the two parishes in Stoughton: Immaculate Conception and St. James.

Father Peter Schirripa

Father Schirripa was born on Jan. 27, 1993, in Mountain View, California. St. Mary Parish, Dedham is his home parish.
He is a proud alumnus of St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., graduating with a degree in history and secondary education. He returned to his middle school alma mater, Jonas Clarke, Lexington, and taught English and Social Studies until entering Saint John's Seminary as a member of the Class of 2023. His seminary formation has been at St. John, Brighton, and his deacon year was at St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish, Cambridge.

Father Alphonsus Hien Quang Vu

Born on Nov. 21, 1987, at Ha Noi, Vietnam, Father Vu is the eldest of the three children of Hien and Huyen Do Vu. All of his education from elementary through college was in his native Ha Noi, Vietnam: Ninh So School, Nguyen Trai-Thuong Tin School, and Ha Noi Open University. He is an alumnus of Saint John's Seminary and has been serving his deacon year at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Winthrop.