Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meet Seminarian Andrew McCarroll

Home Parish: Saint Robert Bellarmine, Wilkes-Barre
Year of Study: College I at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation, Douglaston, N.Y.

1.   What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern further the question of a vocation to Diocesan Priesthood?

The main factor was my parish. Growing up in a strong community of faith showed me the importance of not only the church’s role in the people’s life, but also the role of the priest. From an early age, I knew the importance of the Mass and sacraments to our parish but also the witness so many individuals gave to support our parish. From Altar serving, to singing in the choir, to even volunteering at parish fundraisers, I saw the people of God active in their faith. I wanted to not only be in that community, but to dedicate my life to the community of God’s people. I believe it is through this passion to serve the community of Jesus’ Church that I receive not only many blessings, but also the joy and peace that is brought to my heart to make this next step in my life with Christ and his Church.
Andrew served as Master of Ceremonies at his
home parish of Saint Robert Bellarmine in
Wilkes-Barre for the Christmas liturgies

2.      What is a day like at the seminary?
A day in the seminary is not always easy, but it is full of joy! Most days we start early in the morning with 6:45 a.m. morning prayer and holy hour. We then grab something quick for breakfast, and then it’s straight to class at St. John’s University. We study a variety of different topics, but our main course of study is philosophy. After class, I usually have some free time to study, spend time with other seminarians, or spend some time with the Lord in prayer. At 5:30 p.m. we pray evening prayer and celebrate the Eucharist as a community followed by dinner. The rest of our evening after dinner is usually free. This is just a basic outline of our schedule, but I can honestly say that I never had two days that were exactly the same. Each day brings different blessings and challenges that I face in confidence. Not every day is easy for me, but the joy of serving the people of God gives me the energy to overcome any challenge I face; whether it is writing a ten-page paper, or just trying to find some time to relax. But the joy I receive is amazing! I do not think that I have ever been closer to Christ than this time in my life! I have really begun to see Jesus’ hand working in me. 

Seminarians Jonathan Kuhar, Andrew McCarroll, and Kevin Miller at World
Youth Day in Krakow, Poland 

3.       What is the role of prayer in your life?
Prayer is the corner stone of our life in seminary. I do not think I could ever get through a day here without it. Our main form of prayer here is the celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours; but it does not stop there! There are so many different forms of prayer I have experienced and use in my daily life. From meditating on Sacred Scripture, to prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, to quiet mediation and examination of my day. It is through this deep connection of letting God enter my daily life that I gain strength to go wherever He guides me. But also through a strong life of prayer I realize that I cannot do this alone, but that I am more dependent on God than ever before.

4.          What are some of your hobbies? 
There are many different thinks I like to do in my free time here at seminary, but so much is offered to us that I find it impossible to ever be bored. Most of my time I spend with some of my closest friends that I have met here. We explore, go to events, or just hang out in the common room in the seminary. But on an individual level, I enjoy going for a walk at the park down the street, read a new book, or just relax. One of the greatest gifts of living in Queens, New York, is how close we are to Manhattan. To be able to explore the city always gives you a new adventure in itself.

Music Ministry at ISLI in June which Andrew was a part of it

5.  What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about a vocation to diocesan priesthood?

Seminary does not always mean you are going to be a Priest. I think that is one of the biggest misconceptions about seminary today. Too many times young men think that once you are in the seminary you are in for good or that you are signing your life away. That is really not the case at all. Seminary is just a next step. So far I have seen great guys come to seminary and figure out that seminary is not for them, and that’s okay. They gave it a try and looked into it, and they opened their hearts to the Holy Spirit and trusted. And these guys are some of the most faithful disciples I have ever met. Being a disciple is all about trust. If you feel that the Holy Spirit might be asking you to look into the priesthood, go for it! Trust God, because if you put your life into his hands, you certainly will not be disappointed. We must give all our worries over to Christ, because we cannot walk this road alone. So in the words of St. John Paul II, “Be not afraid! Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Just as Christ called Andrew and Peter from their boat to follow him, so to Christ calls each and every one of us to follow him in ways we never expected. So cast out into the deep! Trust the Holy Spirit, and let him into your heart to guide you on the way he has planned!