My name is Henry Laigaie and I’m a seminarian for the Diocese of Camden. I was born in 1994 in Voorhees, NJ to George and Kathy Laigaie and I have an older brother and sister. In the fourth grade I became an altar server following in the footsteps of my brother and sister.
It was in the sixth grade when I began to think about the priesthood. It was then that I spoke with my pastor, Monsignor Scott, about what I was going to give up for Lent. And he said, “Henry, you can give something up and you can do something good also.” And that Sunday he preached about going to daily Mass. And I said,” You know what. That’s what I am going to do. I’m going to go to daily Mass.” So in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade I decided I was going to go to daily Mass. And it’s there where we hear the Word of God, and as a sixth grader and not necessarily always understanding it and where we receive Christ in the Eucharist where he nourishes us. And I see that as what nourished my vocation and helped me to really dive in to the faith.
I attended Paul VI High School and during my freshman year I kind of put the thoughts of the priesthood to the back burner. But during my sophomore year at Paul VI, we had a new school chaplain come and his name was Father Michael Romano. And he brought great enthusiasm and great love for the church and for Christ. And he was a great role model for all of us and especially those discerning the priesthood. It was there that my thoughts about the priesthood rekindled. Father Romano and Father Hughes, the President at that time of Paul VI, started a discernment group. It was there that I was able to meet fellow students that also had that same tugging at their heart that maybe God wanted them to become a priest. And they had that openness to be there.
My Senior Year, Father Michael Romano became Vocations Director for the Diocese of Camden. During his first year, Father Romano started many events which began to build a culture of vocations. This includes the iRace4Vocations, the First Thursday Holy Hours, the monthly Discernment Group. It was at the discernment group where we had great that deepened my spiritual life and opened me to what God was calling me to do. I told my parents that I wanted to apply to become a seminarian and they were very supportive but I didn’t tell my siblings until after I was accepted as a Seminarian for the Diocese of Camden.
That fall, I attended The College Seminary at Seton Hall. I didn’t know what to expect, it ended up being a very healthy place that balanced my campus life and my spiritual life. After graduating from the college seminary, Bishop Dennis Sullivan asked me to attend his Alma Mater, Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York. And I’m currently in my second year.
This summer I was assigned to Notre Dame De La Mer Parish in Wildwood, New Jersey. I worked with the Pastor, Father Joe Wallace, who was a great mentor and showed me what it means to be a parish priest.
If you’re thinking about the priesthood at any level, I encourage you to speak to your parish priest. Your parish priest will guide you along the journey of discernment. Much like Monsignor Scott, Father Hughes, Father Romano and Father Wallace did for me.
Thank you for praying for me and please continue to pray for an increase in Vocations in the Diocese of Camden.
Thank You and God Bless!