Meet the Seminarians

 

Dan Mahoney

 

Dan Mahoney

I was born into a family with two very loving Catholic parents. My father was in the Navy and that meant that we would move around a lot throughout my childhood. Even though we moved multiple times, some things always stayed the same, the love of my family and the Mass. Regardless of where we were in the world; Sunday Mass was always the same. I believe that at a very young age this had a profound effect on me.  My first real interaction with the priesthood is one that changed my life. My family was living in Bonn, Germany and our parish priest was an amazing military chaplain and Carmelite priest named Father Bill. The way he loved our community and everybody in it was the first I remember seeing of what a priest should be.


I feel as though that time in Germany with Father Bill is where my vocation story really begins. There was a joy that radiated from him in every situation. After I received my first communion I can remember being so excited about the fact that I was now allowed to be an altar server. I would rush to get to the church early so that I could be an altar server, I loved everything about it. Though I didn’t know it at the time, God was starting to work in my heart there, showing me the joy of the Mass. I would continue to serve Mass through the 7th grade, always loving the chance to help the priest. Eventually my family would end up moving to Wakefield, and that is where my vocation story started to really take root.


I was involved with the youth group at my home parish of Saint Francis of Assisi in Wakefield, and was also a religious education teacher while I was in high school. I loved it. I found great joy in serving the Church, it was a place that I always felt confident, and that I always felt at home. After I graduated from high school I would still be involved in these things. I studied at CCRI on and off after high school, not really knowing what I was supposed to do with my life. Constantly searching, all the while, I think knowing deep down what God was calling me too.  I spent a year traveling the country with an amazing ministry organization called N.E.T. Ministries. We put on retreats for junior high and high school students. That year I helped facilitate well over 100 retreats for young Catholics. I was very happy that year, I felt as though I was doing what I was born to do: serve the church.


After that year I returned back to Rhode Island, and to my home parish. I started teaching CCD and helping with various things around the parish while working as a cook full time. I enjoyed cooking; there was a sense of service, of making people happy. I knew that I was called to serve in a different way though. I would constantly ask for time off from work to help with things at the parish, there was a sense of fulfillment in being there. I had ignored the call in my heart to enter the seminary for long enough. There was a feeling that God, through the Gospels, was calling me to give more. I fought with it in prayer; I would think to myself “how much more can I give without giving everything?” My own question was the answer. Christ was pursuing my heart, calling me to give Him everything that I am. When The Lord places a call to the priesthood on your heart, it does not go away; this is something I have learned. I finally made the decision to enter the seminary in the summer of 2012. As a person who struggled with what he was supposed to do with his life, I can say that here has been a great peace since that decision was made. Christ has put this call on my heart, and I know I cannot go wrong in following Him.