Fr. Cristino Bouvette
I was born on 9 June 1986 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, to the two most loving people I have ever known. Richard and Serafina Bouvette made as their life’s mission caring for each other and for the two children which they gratefully received from God. My sister Lisa was born four years after me and gave her big brother plenty to worry about (and pick on!) over the years, though she never ceased to amaze and inspire me with her persevering spirit. Combined with incredible grandparents, loving aunts and uncles and countless cousins, family dominated my life and formed me into the man I am thankful to be today.
The first stirrings of the priesthood came as a young child. I was mesmerized by the Mass and had received the gift of prayer from my family so I put those things together and quickly concluded that I must become a priest! This was confirmed by my idol, Nonno, at age 9 and from that day forth, despite questions, doubts, turmoil and distress, I finally conceded to the voice of God in my heart and figured that I could “get the priesthood out of my system” if I just went to the seminary right after high school.
During my twelfth grade at Monsignor McCoy High School in Medicine Hat I began the application process to the Diocese of Calgary, which graciously accepted me as a candidate and sent me to begin formation at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario. In September 2004, I made the terrifying and difficult move halfway across the country and took up residence in the place I would call home for the next eight years.
Over the course of my formation I would grow in maturity and insight. My studies of philosophy and theology totally captivated me. I received numerous brothers from among my fellow seminarians who played an indispensably formative role in my life. The friendship with Christ that I was blessed to pursue became the centre of my very being. After years of sweat, blood and tears, it became clear to me that I was called to become a priest.
I wake up every morning, as if still dreaming, when I realize that I must get out of bed, clean myself up, pray and then celebrate Mass, hear confessions, attend to the sick and dying, direct people through the spiritual life or catechize our children in the faith; sometimes all in the same day! It never occurred to me that being a priest would so far surpass the joy and fulfillment I had assumed it would bring me.
I am inspired by the words of a great saint-mentor of mine, Josemaria Escriva, Men need us so much (though many do not realize it) that there will never be a surplus of priests. We need more helping hands, more time, more energy. This is why I often say to my sons who are priests that the day one of them noticed that he had time on his hands, he could be quite sure he had not lived his priesthood well that day.
It is my fervent hope to live the priesthood our Lord has shared with me in a way that will draw many souls to Him.
Fr. Cristino’s Vocation Testimony A Written Version (PDF)