My name is Alex Boucher, and I am a seminarian of the Diocese of Portland currently studying at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. Growing up in Biddeford, I attended Saint James School. It was as a young student at Saint James School that I first perceived that God might be calling me to serve him and the Church as a priest. I had the privilege of attending Cheverus High School, Portland’s Jesuit college preparatory school, where I was active in campus ministry, student government, and community service. While in high school, I was also involved in parish and diocesan youth ministry. In these years, I encountered teachers, Jesuits, and diocesan priests who encouraged me in my discernment and challenged me to deepen my knowledge and love of the faith.
After high school, I attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where I studied theology and philosophy, receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Theology & Religious Studies. During my time at Catholic University, I was very active in campus ministry and the Knights of Columbus. I also volunteered as an altar server and master of ceremonies at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
As a college student, I continued to discern that God might be calling me to the priesthood. I was fortunate to be in an environment that was conducive to vocational discernment, and I developed enduring friendships with women and men of great faith who supported me in my discernment. Daily prayer, the sacraments, and spiritual direction deepened and enriched my discernment and my desire to serve Christ and the Church as a priest. Many of my friends were also actively discerning vocations to the priesthood or religious life, and several close friends are now also in seminary, religious formation, or have been recently ordained. Before entering the seminary, I worked for several national Catholic organizations in Washington, D.C., as well as in parish ministry as a pastoral associate with the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes in the areas of liturgy and parish life. During my last year of college, I made the decision to apply to the Diocese of Portland for acceptance into priestly formation. I was accepted as a seminarian by Bishop Robert Deeley and was assigned to study at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.
For the young man considering a vocation to the priesthood, I would echo the words often spoken by Pope Saint John Paul II: “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ!” Find a priest to talk with about the stirrings in your heart. Pray for clarity and courage to be faithful to the call that you are discerning, ask for the Blessed Mother’s intercession, and turn to the saints for inspiration. Stay close to the sacraments, and make sure that good spiritual reading becomes a part of your prayer life.
For parents, friends, or family members of a young man that you think might have a vocation to the priesthood, pray for him and consider encouraging him to discern the vocation. Don’t push, but realize that you might be the first person to mention it to him.
Hobbies and activities: Traveling, reading, music, spending time with friends and family
Favorite Authors: Fulton Sheen, Joseph Ratzinger, Dan Brown
Favorite Movies: The Godfather trilogy, Indiana Jones trilogy, The Scarlet and the Black
Favorite Music: Billy Joel, The Beatles, Beethoven, Jimmy Buffett
Favorite Sports Teams: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals
Favorite Foods: Anything at home (I mean it, Mom and Dad!), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Favorite Scripture Passages: John 21:15-19; John 13:1-20; John 15:9-17; Matthew 11:25-30; John 17:1-26; Luke 15:11-32
Favorite Churches: Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Baltimore, Maryland), Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.), Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (Rome, Italy)
Favorite Saints: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Joseph, St. Josemaría Escrivá, St. John Paul II, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. John Vianney, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Vincent Pallotti, St. André Bessette, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe