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Wednesday August 05, 2015

 

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Written by Kathleen Rose Kennedy for VMO
Monday July 27th, 2015

There are only three anglophone Catholic seminarians studying for the priesthood in Montreal this year. Yet each represents an inspiring testament to hearing God’s call early in life, having the secular world intervene, then truly discerning the signs of vocation to serve the Church.

Deacon Frank Scalia, 36, entered the seminary in the fall of 2008 and is hoping to be ordained a priest by the end of this year. Scalia first thought of becoming a priest, however, when he was about 13.

“I knew that it would be a long process of discernment and I often questioned the Lord, asking him if this is what he really wanted me to do. I never completely closed the door, even throughout my adolescent years,” he told VMO.

By the time he was 18, Scalia reconsidered the priestly life after the death of his grandfather.

“He raised me like a son and he had a huge influence on both my life and faith,” Scalia says.

After moving back to Montreal, he did a double major in theology and history at Concordia.

Scalia always considered himself as an introvert, and often struggled with public speaking.

“One of the reasons I joined the seminary was to teach people to live and experience the life of being God’s child. Joining the seminary has taught me a lot about discovery, talents and limitations. I discovered my closeness and relationship with God.”

Giancarlo Qualizza, 28, started off as an altar boy and initially thought it would be “cool” to become a priest. By the time he was 17, he had joined the army, yet still thought about his faith and prayers.

By 2012, he had left the army, was focused on school – he too studied history at Concordia - and had a girlfriend. A sign in the sky changed his life.

“I was getting ready to pick up my girlfriend and I just happened to look up at the sky. During that brief moment, I saw two planes cross the sky and create the sign of the cross. And then I knew,” Qualizza told VMO.

He broke up with his girlfriend and joined the seminary in 2013. He knew that’s what God called him to do.

“When I got the sign, I said to myself: ‘You win.’”

He wanted to strengthen his faith and become an even better child of God.

Marco Mastromonaco, 37, joined the seminary as an external student at the end of 2011.

Born out of a Catholic family, Mastromonaco always thought when he was younger that becoming a priest would be interesting. The sentiment faded as he grew older. He was in a serious relationship when he began thinking about joining the seminary, and decided to give the idea a test run.

“I attended the academic classes, but it was essentially to dip my toes in the water just test it out.”

Always interested in philosophy, he was greatly influenced by Montreal’s Auxiliary Bishop, Thomas Dowd.

“He gave me lots of insight and really opened up my mind,” Mastromonaco told VMO. 

“I didn’t know if that’s what I really wanted, but I often thought about it.”

A few months later, he joined the seminary and has not looked back since.

“The deeper I dive into my faith, the bigger the smile is on my face,” Mastromonaco says. He believes that vocation is a mystery and that’s one of the main reasons why he joined the school.

“This is where I’m meant to be. We don’t become seminarians for the money or the prestige, but for the mystery of faith and vocation.”

 

 

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