Kevin Gembarski, Second College at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia

By TARA CONNOLLY Staff writer

Describe why you entered into discernment for the priesthood or when you heard the call from God.

Even before my conversion, I felt a call to live a life of holiness, one which was seated in something more than the Baptist faith in which I was brought up. I studied the faith for a few years in private before telling my parents I wanted to be Catholic.

The realization that this might be a call to the priesthood coincided with my first true encounter with the Church, and the first time I realized I wished to become Catholic. This occasion was seeing the image of St. Francis de Sales offering up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I resolved then and there that I wished to imitate that beautiful example and that I wanted to be a priest. That sense of being called has not changed since then.

Describe your parents, family and friends that have been important to your life.

Two of the central figures to my vocation have been my parish priests, Father Tom Prior and James Prior.

Not only have they been wonderful examples of the kind of ministry I wish to do as a priest, but they are responsible for me being Catholic today!

St. Thomas Becket was also a “friend” very dear to my vocation. I had to endure hardships during my conversion, having been brought up Protestant, and his saintly example in face of trial and persecution was essential.

Then of course there's the Blessed Mother, I mean.... could there be a greater friend to help us foster our vocation?

What are some of your interests or hobbies?

I enjoy reading and writing. I am House Shows Coordinator. We are hoping to get a musical together this year.

I spend time helping at Holy Family Manor, Bethlehem and running the “Dungeons and Dragons” game groups for fellow seminarians and a few of the priests.

What is life like as a seminarian?

Coming from life as a preseminarian from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priests, a Latin Mass community, adjusting to St. Charles was quite easy.

We are required in chapel by 7 a.m. and depart to classes soon afterward. Afternoons and evenings, apart from vespers and dinner, are usually free for study and socialization. There’s always something to do, and always people to be with while serving the Lord and continuing our discernment.

The most important thing to realize is that becoming a seminarian doesn’t mean leaving behind who you are. We are encouraged to be who we are. We go out to eat together and go on trips during break. It’s great to be with others who are in the seminary for the same reason.