Father Tom Lafreniere grew up in Connecticut. When he was about 16 years old, he heard God’s call to the priesthood, but didn’t feel he was ready to follow that call. So after graduating from high school, he went to the School of Business at the University of Connecticut. After graduation, he worked for Aetna Life Insurance Company for six years.
In 1995, he moved to Boca Raton, Florida, where he worked as a Corporate Educator. After working for about eight more years, he again heard the call of the Lord to priesthood and, this time, he responded. He began his seminary studies in 2003. After graduation from seminary and ordination in 2009, he began his priestly ministry at St. Luke Parish in Palms Springs, Florida. In 2011, Fr. Tom was asked to become the new Director of Vocations and Seminarians for the Diocese of Palm Beach.
Fr. Tom believes that the story of God coming to Elijah is a great vision for vocations, “Can you hear God’s whisper?” Please read the following excerpt from that story to help you understand.
Fr. Tom’s vision:
Then the LORD said to Elijah: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD — but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake — but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire — but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light whisper. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. [1 Kings 19:11-13]
Fr. Tom explains the story this way: “The story of Elijah tells us a lot about how God speaks to us. He often speaks in a whisper. In fact, he speaks so softly, that we sometimes miss the words that God is trying to tell us. That is why it is important for us to be quiet and listen, in order to hear God. Sometimes, we just have too much noise in our lives. Because we are listening to so many other voices – like our own, our friends’ and modern society’s – we don’t hear God’s voice, softly calling us to what He has planned for our lives.”
Fr. Tom would like to encourage you to begin your search for God’s call (your vocation) by praying that the Lord will show you what He would like for you to do with your life. On other pages of this website, we have prayers to discover your vocation, for parents to help their children discover God’s call in their lives, and for all people to pray for and increase in vocations. We also have some information on discernment, which is the process of learning about God’s plan for your life.
If you should have any questions, or would like some more information about vocations, especially in the Diocese of Palm Beach, please contact Fr. Tom Lafreniere in the Vocations Office.