Rev. Michael Phillippino
Age entered the Seminary: 33
Age ordained: 37
Date Ordained: 5/26/90
How did you first experience or hear "The Call" to the Priesthood?
From 1975 - 1978 I was a teacher; from 1978 - 1980 I was a LaSalette Candidate and from 1980 - 1985 I was a service Technician at Cardinal Cushing Hospital.
What were your thoughts and feelings when you first thought about becoming a priest?
I think my first thought of becoming a priest was at the age of ten. My family and I were over my grandmother's on a Sunday afternoon, and we were watching the story of Fatima. As it happened my uncle, who is a priest in the Diocese of Fall River (Massachusetts), came in the door. He was wearing his collar and I briefly entertained the thought (about 5 seconds) of becoming a priest. My reason for dismissing the idea: the collar looked too tight and uncomfortable.
The thoughts of priesthood again entered my head while in high school. For some reason it was all I could think about in my junior and senior year. I finally rejected these thoughts believing I was not worthy. The real reason was fear of such a commitment.
As I matured and became more committed to my faith and the Church, I slowly began to realize that God was calling me to the priesthood. I wanted more assurances, however; so I decided to live with the LaSalettes and get a closer look at what I might be getting into. They had a program where anyone interested could live with them and if they wanted to get more serious could take the necessary steps. I was with them for over two years when I became ill and had to leave. The experience, however; proved to be a stepping stone toward the priesthood. In those two years I learned a lot about myself, and about what the call entailed. It would be another six years before I would try again.
When I left the LaSalette Fathers and Brothers in Attleboro, MA, I assumed that was that. I tried it, I got sick, it must not be my calling. I was wrong. The "Hound of Heaven" would not leave me alone. One day in 1986, I came home to find an application on my desk, placed there by a friend. The application was to Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. At first I hesitated, but thought, let's see what happens. As I made out the application I told myself this would be the last attempt. If I don't make it, get sick, or if whatever happens to prevent me from entering or finishing, then I would consider that a sign from God and pursue another vocation. I also said, however, that I would make a real effort this time and give it my all.
Happily, I am now a priest in the Diocese of Norwich. My experience at Holy Apostles Seminary were the happiest four years of my life. Only to be outdone by the years following my ordination as a priest.
What are your thoughts now after becoming a priest?
I am very happy to be a priest. I enjoy it for the most part and feel that I have accomplished some good. I also feel that I need to grow more in my relationship to the Lord and in the exercise of my priesthood.
Do you have any further thoughts about your vocation?
What more can I say? Here I am in Norwich enjoying my work serving God, and helping people in their walk with the Lord as well. I could not ask for anything more!