about

Welcome From

Bishop Tobin

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to welcome you to the website of the Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Providence. Here you will find an excellent source of information regarding the development of priestly vocations in the Diocese of Providence.

Message From The

Vocations Director

Dear Friends,

Purpose. This word resonates with us as human beings. Our search for purpose occupies a lot of our time, energy, and reflection. The secular world may speak about purpose in terms of finding the place where one’s gifts meets the needs of the world. But for the Christian, purpose is much more.

Meet The

Seminarians

Meet the Seminarians currently in formation for the Diocese of Providence. Each seminarian is listed with his sending parish and current place of studies. Click “Learn More” to read more about each seminarian. Please pray for them.

Fourth Theology

Rev. Mr. Joseph Brodeur

St. Pius X, Westerly
Pontifical North American College,
Rome

Fourth Theology

Rev. Mr. Jairon Olmos

St. Patrick, Providence
St. John’s Seminary,
Boston

Second Theology

Stephen Coutcher

Sacred Heart, West Warwick
Pontifical North American College,
Rome

Second Theology

Nathan Ledoux

St. Joseph, Newport
Pontifical North American College,
Rome

Second Theology

Mateusz Puzanowski

St. Joseph, Central Falls
Pontifical North American College,
Rome

Second Theology

Vincent "Jay" Zizza

Christ the King, Kingston
St. John’s Seminary, Boston

First Theology

Nicholas Jones

St. Kevin, Warwick
St. John’s Seminary, Boston

First Theology

David Bardales

St. Charles Borromeo, Providence
St. John’s Seminary, Boston

Second Pre-Theology

Alexander Richardson

St. Luke, Barrington
Our Lady of Providence
Seminary

First Pre-Theology

Joseph Marra

St. Teresa of the Child, Pawtucket
Our Lady of Providence
Seminary

Fourth College

Adam Habershaw

St. Paul, Cranston
Our Lady of Providence
Seminary

Second College

David Del Bonis

Our Lady of Mercy, East Greenwich
Our Lady of Providence Seminary

Second College

Jesus Reynoso

St. Patrick, Providence
Our Lady of Providence Seminary

Second College

Steven Diel

St. Rita, Warwick
Our Lady of Providence Seminary

Second College

Thomas Edsall

St. Philip, Greenville
Our Lady of Providence Seminary

Contact Us

Diocese of Providence Office of Vocations

Do you have questions about the priesthood? Want to speak with our Vocations Director or tour the seminary?

We are here for you.

Rev. Ryan J. Simas

Director of Vocations

Bishop Emeritus of Providence

Bishop Tobin

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to welcome you to the website of the Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Providence. Here you will find an excellent source of information regarding the development of priestly vocations in the Diocese of Providence.

The work of promoting vocations to the priesthood is one of the primary pastoral activities of the Church, and it is a mission that belongs to all members of the Church! Pope St. John Paul II reminded us of that when he wrote:

There is an urgent need, especially nowadays, for a more widespread and deeply felt conviction that all members of the Church, without exception, have the grace and responsibility to look after vocations. (Pastores Dabo Vobis, #41)

The Catholic Church needs good, happy, holy and healthy priests now as much as ever. If you are a young man considering a possible vocation to the priesthood, I invite you to contact the Office of Vocations to pursue your interest and for more information. And most importantly, I urge you to stay close to our Lord Jesus—in personal prayer, in the reception of the sacraments, in charitable service to others, and by your active participation in your parish or school community.

Is God calling you to the priesthood? At this point, only God can answer that question. But, simply say to the Lord, as Samuel did in the Old Testament: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sam 3:10)

Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop Emeritus of Providence

Director of Vocations

Rev. Ryan J. Simas

Dear Friends,

Purpose. This word resonates with us as human beings. Our search for purpose occupies a lot of our time, energy, and reflection. The secular world may speak about purpose in terms of finding the place where one’s gifts meets the needs of the world. But for the Christian, purpose is much more. We understand purpose in terms of vocation (from the Latin vocare, which means to call forth). The word vocation suggests a relational dimension: someone assigns and calls me to something. Discovering vocation is a two way street. It is not all up to us to “figure out” or “decide” our future, but rather in faith I trust that God created me for a reason and He desires to reveal my vocation to me.

Since vocation involves a relationship with God who created us, we need to pray. Without serious commitment to prayer, our future remains fuzzy and unclear. We risk missing our call or becoming indecisive, halfhearted in our pursuits. Clarity about vocation flows from full engagement of our Catholic faith: reception of the sacraments, freedom from sin, consistency in prayer, and community. That last piece bears special importance for embracing our vocation. The community of the Church strengthens us through positive encouragement and accountability, meaning my brothers and sisters in Christ inspire me to live holiness. God often uses family members, friends, teachers and mentors to confirm our vocations.

In light of the above, the Diocese of Providence Office of Vocations strives to support discerning men in three main ways through various events and retreat programs: First, we cultivate good, Christ centered friendship through fostering communal prayer and fraternity. Second, we offer opportunities for men to strengthen their faith by learning about Catholicism and meeting Christ Jesus in a personal way through prayer and the sacraments. Finally, we aim to assist every man we meet in discovering God’s purpose for their life. If you’re a man seeking your vocation, we hope this site will guide you and supply the tools to help you take the next step. You’ll find a list of dates for our discernment events here. We hope you can join us in the future. Above all, have faith. God loves you and wants you to discover His purpose for your life, your vocation.

Rev. Ryan J. Simas
Director of Vocations

Joseph Brodeur

St. Pius X, Westerly

North American College
Rome, Italy

Jairon Olmos

St. Patrick, Providence

St. John's Seminary
127 Lake St.
Brighton, MA 02135

Steve Coutcher

Sacred Heart, West Warwick

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Nathan Ledoux

St. Joseph, Newport

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Mateusz Puzanowski

St. Joseph, Central Falls

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Vincent "Jay" Zizza

Christ the King, Kingston

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Nicholas Jones

St. Kevin - Warwick, RI

St. John's Seminary
127 Lake St.
Brighton, MA 02135

David Bardales

St. Charles Borromeo, Providence

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Alex Richardson

St. Luke, Barrington

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Aidan Blanchette

St. John Paul II, Pawtucket

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Adam Habershaw

St. Paul, Cranston

Seminary of Our Lady of Providence
485 Mt. Pleasant Ave.
Providence, RI 02908

Deacon Patrick Ryan

SS. John & Paul, Coventry

North American College
Rome, Italy

Walking the Journey

With Your Son

“Every priestly vocation comes from the heart of God but passes through the heart of a mother.”
—Pope St. Pius X

A reflection on walking the journey to the priesthood with your son by Judy Murphy, mother of Rev. Christopher J. Murphy, who was ordained June 23, 2012. Ms. Murphy shared this reflection following his ordination.

“First of all I’d like to thank all of you for joining us in celebrating the ordination to the priesthood of our son Christopher James, now Father Murphy. As you might expect I am very proud of him. Answering the call to the priesthood is not easy in today’s secular world. Material goods, personal happiness and a quest for success often consume more of our thoughts than developing a relationship with God and caring for others. I believe that without God at the center, money, personal fulfillment and career success will not bring lasting joy.

“For me, walking along this journey to the priesthood with Chris has brought me closer to God. Despite some tribulations along the way, knowing that God is always there with me has helped me to survive and thrive. I’ve loved praying the Liturgy of the Hours with Chris. These readings have helped me to really appreciate the love that God has for us. Men like Chris, Ryan, Frank and all of the other fine seminarians I met in Rome and at Saint John’s seminary who answered God’s call, give me such hope for the Church in these turbulent times. I have no doubt that with God’s help, Chris and the two other new priests will touch the minds, hearts and souls of many in the years ahead.

“My pride and joy in Chris is not limited to Chris alone. There is no greater joy for a mother than to see her children find their passion and pursue it relentlessly. I have been truly blessed by God in my children who have all been called to serve Him in
different ways…I am so proud of all three. I am humbled by the gifts I have been given by God in Gerald, Christopher and Alicyn. I thank God every day for the blessings and joys I’ve experienced in my family.

“So I will end like I began. I’d like to thank all of you again. Just as Chris has touched others, you have greatly touched him and our family. Each of you has contributed in some way to Chris’ strength in his vocation. Your prayers, encouragement, questions, and joy have shown us the beauty and connectedness of our Church community. Without a doubt there is no greater beauty than the love that God has for his people.”

Parenting A

Vocation

“The world looks to the priest, because it looks to Jesus! No one can see Christ; but everyone sees the priest, and through him they wish to catch a glimpse of the Lord! Immense is the grandeur of the Lord!
Immense is the grandeur and dignity of the priest!”
—Pope St. John Paul II

Parenting a Vocation to the Priesthood
by Rev. Carl Fisette, Pastor of St. Joseph, Woonsocket

“Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward” (Ps 127:3). Parents are filled with such joy and at the birth of their child and rightfully so since children are “a gift from the Lord.” You want the best for them. You care for them and help them to grow and mature as human persons and as Christians. You are their first catechist.

Recognizing that parents are the first teachers of the faith, Blessed John Paul II noted that parents and extended families have a significant role in fostering vocations to the priesthood. He stated:

A very special responsibility falls upon the Christian family, which by virtue of the sacrament of matrimony shares in its own unique way in the educational mission of the Church – teacher and mother. As the synod fathers wrote: “The Christian family, which is truly a ‘domestic Church’ (Lumen Gentium, 11), has always offered and continues to offer favorable conditions for the birth of vocations…Families themselves, generously accepting the gift of human life, may be ‘as it were, a first seminary’ (Optatam Totius, 2) in which children can acquire from the beginning an awareness of piety and prayer and love for the Church. (Pastores Dabo Vobis, n. 41)

Along with this unique responsibility that parents have in fostering vocations can come conflicting emotions and concerns about encouraging their own son to consider and respond to a call to the priesthood. It is only natural because you have questions and you want what is best for your son. Children are such a precious gift from the Lord and all the varying emotions and reactions that parents experience are based on their love for their child. Some parents will be enthusiastic and will wish that their son could be ordained tomorrow; other parents actively discourage a vocation to the priesthood, fearing that their son will be lonely or will not achieve success in the eyes of the world; and most parents’ reaction will fall somewhere in between. Even the saints faced the gamut of reactions from their own families.

Will your son make sacrifices if he is ordained a priest? Yes—but a greater sacrifice for him would be to ignore God’s call since the vocation to which God is calling us is where we will find our greatest joy and fulfillment. There are sacrifices in each and every Christian vocation just as there are blessings.

Husbands and wives make sacrifices for one another and the good of their marriage; parents make sacrifices (great and small) throughout their children’s lives. Our society often views chaste celibacy as a great sacrifice; priests and religious see chaste celibacy as a great gift which allows us to freely love God and neighbor because this is how God is calling us to live.

Will you, as a parent, make sacrifices if your son is ordained a priest? Perhaps. You may not have grandchildren or someone to carry on the family name (there is also no guarantee that you will have these things if your son is not a priest), you may be concerned about who will care for you as you get older or if you will see your son as often. These are reasonable and valid questions and concerns. Will you receive blessings if your son follows his vocation to the priesthood? Yes! Jesus assures His disciples that they will receive much more than they sacrifice in order to follow His will. This promise applies to all His disciples—not only those who are called to a religious vocation. Recall Jesus words, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive [back] an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come” (Luke 18:29-30, emphasis added).

Pray

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” he depth of our hearts.”
—St. Teresa of Calcutta

What is Prayer

Prayer is our response to God who is already speaking or, better yet, revealing Himself to us. Therefore, prayer is not merely an exchange of words, but it engages the whole person in a relationship with God the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit . Prayer in the Life of One Discerning a Call to the Priesthood.

As prayer is fundamental in the life of the priest, so is it also central in the life of one who is discerning God’s call to the priesthood. Each priest is a man who is called by God to serve Him in the particular vocation of the ministerial priesthood. But we can only hear a call if we are listening and praying, that conversation with God is the way in which we listen to His voice.

Not everyone prays the same way and there is no one specific way to pray. The first step is always to do it! Make the time to pray and find a quiet place, perhaps in a church or adoration chapel or follow Jesus’ command to “go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.” Mt 6:6-7