Although Matthew says he first felt a call to the priesthood around nine years old, in high school he got the impression that wanting to be a priest was not "cool," and he says he largely lived his faith "only privately" for a time.
In late high school, however, his attractions to the priesthood, which had always been vaguely present, started to roar back, especially after he attended a Catholic summer camp called Camp Veritas, where he did a lot of soul-searching and discernment.
Often, when the possibility of the priesthood entered his mind, he would find himself thinking "I could never be good enough for this." But he says he felt the Lord's voice urging him to trust.
Matthew entered college seminary that year, completing his priestly studies at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, New York. His sister had entered a religious community, the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, the year before, after discerning her vocation on a 2011 pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid.
Father Breslin said that before he entered seminary, he kept his faith largely to himself, but for the past eight years, he and his sisters' relationship and their ability to talk about their faith lives has grown stronger.
Though parts of Matthew and Sr. Mary Strength of Martyrs' lives have been marked by suffering, Matthew said he has found that the Lord really is present in suffering, and if we can't find Him on our own, we need to reach out and ask for help.
"I know the Lord's hand was constantly present in my father's life and death. I know that he was guiding my mother, my sister and I throughout all of it, perhaps most especially when we didn't feel it."
In his new role as a parochial vicar, Father Breslin said he is particularly excited to celebrate Mass and hear confessions, and also to remain involved in high school youth ministry, since that was so formative for him when he was that age. He has also been assigned as a part-time chaplain for a nearby high school.
In terms of advice for those in the midst of discernment, Father Breslin advised that people can and should pray more for the grace to discern a vocation. If you feel a "tug" toward a vocation, bring that to the Lord, and to a trusted spiritual director, he said.
And if you feel a "tug" to the priesthood or religious life, talk to priests or religious who are living the life you are considering, he said.
"They know the life you're thinking about. They can give you insights you may not think of, and they can share the hardships with you."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Many young people today don't hear a call to the priesthood or religious life, Father Breslin commented, "not that the Lord is calling less, but that we are not hearing the call."
Young people should strive to be open to the will of the Lord, realizing that anything given to Him will be repaid many times over, Father Breslin said.
"People are commenting on how much I've given up [to become a priest], but I can't focus on what I've given up when I've received, even in these first five days, so much more," he said.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.