Justin Gough

While a student at Calvert Hall College High School, I came to know and love my faith more deeply through my involvement with Campus Ministry and the Choral Music Program. At the same time, I worked at my home parish as Director of Contemporary Music and as a sacristan. I also served throughout the archdiocese as a substitute organist and pianist. I graduated from the Hall in 2011, and Archbishop O’Brien assigned me to college seminary at the Seminary of Our Lady of Providence in Providence, Rhode Island.

One of the Christian Brothers at Calvert Hall asked me once if I had considered becoming a brother. He knew that I wanted to enter the seminary. My response to him was simple: “Brother, I want to say Mass.” The sacramental life of the Church is rich and a sign of the abundant generosity of God. To be a priest is to be entrusted with the sacred mysteries––mysteries given by God to his people for their worship of him and for their sanctification. What first attracted me to the priesthood remains constant, though my understanding of it has deepened: to bring God to his people and his people to himself. It is a tremendous grace to be called to this vocation, and I am immensely grateful.

A perennial source of spiritual insight for me over the years has been J.R.R. Tolkien. A devout Catholic (and father to a priest), many of his personal letters articulate his resolute faith and profoundly Catholic worldview that stands behind his fantasy novels. One such example: “We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exile.”