Our Seminarians > Carlos Cesar Velásquez
Carlos Cesar Velásquez
Home Parish: St. Mary Star of the Sea, Far Rockaway
Pastoral Year Parish: Ss. Peter and Paul, Williamsburg
Seminary: Cathedral Seminary Residence
Congratulations! Get Ready! If you are willing to answer the Lord's call, you have a great life ahead of you! Don't be afraid! God knows what He is doing and who He has chosen.
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a priest. I can remember back to when I was 5 years old, and would be sitting in the first pew next to my mother every Sunday for the 11:00 AM Mass at Sacred Heart Parish in Brooklyn. We would usually get there about 20 minutes before Mass, and I remember sitting there in awe. Msgr. Murphy was the pastor of Sacred Heart for over 40 years; and I still remember seeing him in the sanctuary as he celebrated Mass, and thinking to myself... wow, I want to be just like him, I want to be a priest!
I never had any special revelations or anything of that sort. I just always wanted to be a priest. As I got older, I became an altar boy, lector, catechist, and sacristan. I joined the choir, and a number of other ministries that the parish had; I was also very much involved in the life of the parish. When it came time for high school, Msgr. Murphy pointed the way towards the Cathedral Preparatory Seminary; and I spent four happy years there.
I entered the college seminary formation program at Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception in August of 2005. I am currently attending St. John’s University; and I will hopefully graduate in the spring of 2009 with a Major in Philosophy with a Minor in Spanish and Business.
I was born and raised in the great Diocese of Brooklyn. There is no better place than Brooklyn. I have visited many other dioceses throughout the world, and there is definitely no other place in which I would want to be a priest other than in Brooklyn and Queens. Our diocese is filled with a rich beauty of various cultures. There is a bond that the priests here share, one I have not seen anywhere else. There definitely is no other place like Brooklyn!
The Diocese of Brooklyn has often been referred to as "A Diocese of Immigrants." Our diversity makes this great diocese so unique. Our diocese serves nearly 1.8 million Catholics, who live and worship in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered every day in about 26 different languages. We are the smallest diocese's geographically in the United States, but one of the largest in terms of population. The whole world truly is in Brooklyn!
The thing that always helped me to discern God's will, and that continues to help me to this day, is the example of the good and holy priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn. There is no better vocation poster, than the example of these good priests. The priests that have been a part of my life always made sure that they were present, and they have shown me a good example.
Stay close to the Lord, and follow the example of good priests. Always stay close to the Lord through prayer. The power of prayer should never be underestimated. Prayer before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is crucial to discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Become involved in your parish, and speak to your parish priest.
As in any walks of life, there are good days and there are bad days. Thank God, being in the seminary there are more good days than bad ones. Life as a seminarian is very difficult to put into words; Bishop Cisneros, my former rector, often said that the seminary should be neither a hotel nor a monastery. I think that this is the perfect description of the seminary, and of seminary life. Once you enter the seminary, you become a part of this big family. You all of a sudden have a number of brothers, who are all on the same journey with you. Being a seminarian involves lots of work. In the college seminary, you have to learn how the juggle schoolwork with the seminary. You are responsible for meeting the demands of the university that you go to with all of the coursework that goes along with that, while living the seminary program. It can be difficult at times, but as many say, it is all worth it at the end. You have to always remind yourself of your goal. Being a seminarian outside of the seminary is great as well! When you return to the parish, the people are so happy to see you. Everyone is always very loving and generous.