Some, like Matthew R. Paratore
, seek a vocation to the priesthood after nearly a lifetime of service to the Church as a lay member.
Before serving as an acolyte at a Mass for pilgrims at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Oct. 18, Paratore said he has served the Church at the diocesan, national and international level for more than 35 years.
That familiarity helped influence his
decision to become a priest.
"The apple didn't fall far from the tree," Paratore
said with a smile.
, who is in his
fourth year at Pontifical Theological College at The Catholic University of America
, also Washington, is scheduled to be ordained to the diaconate at St. Philip and St. James Church
, Phillipsburg, Dec. 7.
On May 23, Paratore
and fellow seminarians Keith M. Cervine and Edmund A. Luciano III will be ordained to the priesthood at St. Francis Assisi Cathedral
, Metuchen, May 23.
appreciates the "affirmation" provided by the pilgrims praying for vocations at the shrine, which sits next to Catholic University
"Priests and bishops and the Holy Father need this constant affirmation to continue to move.
Without it you can kind of get dragged down," he
said what he
is looking forward to most as a priest is "bringing together all the gifts God has given me and offering them to the service of his
church in the name of his
Prior to re-entering the seminary, Paratore served as secretary general of the International Catholic Stewardship Council, which Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski currently guides as episcopal moderator, from 1987 to 2006.
Paratore has also served as director of seminary relations, assistant to the rector at St. Bernard's Seminary, Rochester, N.Y.; executive director of the International Liaison (for lay mission programs, Washington); director of mission development in the United States for the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in New York; and director of Institutional Advancement at the Washington Theological Union.
Paratore said he has served on numerous international and national committees and boards in the area of evangelization, seminary education, church personnel, Catholic missions, Catholic laity and Catholic theological education and leadership programs for the U.S. military bases in Europe.
He completed his undergraduate studies at St. John Fischer College, Rochester, and his graduate studies in theology at St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore; and canon law and theology at the Catholic University of America, also in Washington.