Meet the Seminarians
Billy J. Burdier
I was born in the country side of the Dominican Republic or, as I like to call it, the Island of the mangos. For me childhood was a true blessing for although I was born into a poor family, I had all the freedom of the world. I have fond memories of climbing mango trees, and eating all the mangos I wanted.
Apart from the happy and healthy childhood I lived, I was blessed with an amazing Catholic family, who did not go a day without praying the rosary. The rosary and Mass were daily practices in the early years of my life, which led me to love the Virgin Mary and Jesus. I strongly believe that these were strong influences in the planting and cultivating the seed of my vocation.
At the Age of 7, my family and I migrated from Dominican Republic to the United States. This was due to the lack of food and the struggle we underwent in my native land; we moved searching for a better situation in life. As the years went by and as I got older, I was slowly losing my faith. In my teenage years I drifted away from the faith for about 3 to 4 years. I doubted God, I questioned his existence. Thanks to a youth retreat at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Providence, I was able to return to the faith and this led me on the way to discerning God’s will for my life.
I became involved in youth ministry and this brought great joy to my heart. For the more I helped at the parish with either the placing of a chair or the passing of a flyer, and sharing of Christ I was at peace for I knew I was serving God. At one point, all I wanted to do was to be in church and be with Jesus and no one else. This led to a greater awareness of God in my life where I felt called by him to do more. One day, as I was praying in the chapel, this verse called out to me: “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. Follow me, he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9).
This verse from scripture came to life for me. Now that does not mean that I was willing to follow the calling of Jesus right away as Mathew did, rather, I hesitated. For me it was a process that took a few years. I first questioned him and thought that I could never be a priest. In all honesty, I felt unworthy, and unfit to follow Christ. Now in seminary, I continue my discernment. As time goes on I am more certain that God may be calling me to be a priest. With an open heart, I pray, “May it be God’s will and not mine”.