Tomás Licheri, vocation as a priest

Tomás Licheri Bondesio tells us how a young religious seminarian of the Servants of the Home of the Mother lives his vocation

Currently, he is in Rome studying the first cycle of Philosophy at the PUSC (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross) thanks to the help of the CARF Foundation.

He was born in Argentina in 2001, into a Catholic family that helped him live the faith since he was little: praying the rosary, going to Mass on Sundays, and frequenting Catholic youth clubs, made Tomás live the faith closely. He is the oldest of seven siblings and the only boy. At the age of 16, he moved to the United States with his family. He tells us about his vocation to become a priest.

The move to the United States

At the age of 16 and because of his father’s job, he moved to the United States, to a small town in southern Florida called Ave María (Ave), founded by the Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University (AMU), a private, Catholic university. “It is the one I chose to study, because it was close to what I wanted, a Catholic environment, being close to my family, and a minimal cost.” Tomás tells us.

The place was ideal to continue growing in faith, since it had daily Mass and Confession, a chapel for adoration, an environment of students who prayed the rosary together, formation activities such as talks or praise and worship (Eucharistic Adoration with songs). .

It also had recreational activities, tournaments for different sports, talent shows, plays, everything you can find on a university campus. In all these activities, it always began and ended with a prayer and a Hail Mary. There was no shortage of opportunities to live out the faith at AMU. “The first year I didn’t take advantage of them as much, but the following years I did.”

How I found my vocation as a priest

As a child, I wanted to be a priest. Tomás tells us that as a child the doctor told him that he should eat more to gain height so that his children would become taller than him, to which he responded not to worry, that he was going to be a priest.

As time went by, that idea faded from his mind. In his second year of university he fell in love with a girl with whom he had a relationship for almost two years. She went to study in another state, which caused the relationship to distance. “When we decided to leave, I began to wonder if this relationship, which was going relatively well, ended because she was not the one, or if it was, because the Lord was asking me for something else”, says Tomás Licheri.

From that moment, he began to pray for his priestly vocation. He never sought to spend time living with priests, or missionary groups, or religious communities. He wasn’t looking for a girlfriend or to meet more girls. Likewise, he felt in the middle and didn’t want to lean to one side or the other. He stayed like this for almost two years, until the last semester at the university.

Some advice from your mother

His mother, who knows him well, suggested he go visit the university chaplain. Tomás knew him well, since he helped him as an altar boy every week. Following the advice of his mother, he went to see him, and he suggested spending the summer with a missionary group or a religious community.

It was then that he called a priest friend of the Mother’s Home (the Home) community, an organization that he had known since 2018 thanks to a class friend. That year, Tomás signed up with his partner for a summer camp as a monitor, thus getting to know this religious community in depth.

Following the chaplain’s invitation, the summer of 2023, he came to Spain to discern his vocation to be a priest. He spent two months with the religious community of the Home of the Mother. His lifestyle is very intense, following the Benedictine rule ora et labora. There is Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, rosary, spiritual reading, silent time from dinner to breakfast to encourage meditation, and also work outdoors, in the garden, with animals and other work. There he had spiritual direction that helped him discern, along with other brothers.

Priest vocation yes, but… Where? And with whom?

After a month, he saw clearly that the Lord was calling him to be a priest. But where, with whom? Tomas wondered.

At a camp for boys between 9 and 16 years old, where he attended as a monitor, he had a very special moment. One night, during Eucharistic Adoration, a procession touched his soul and gave him the light he was looking for.

During the following days of camp, he meditated on what the Lord was telling him. When he finished the camp, he attended some talks with the religious brothers and other boys who were also discerning.

Then, the topic arose of how to discern God’s will in the most everyday moments of life. During a talk, a brother gave an example of the daily life of any father and his dialogue with the Lord. «A father, before dinner, had a lot of work, but her six-year-old daughter asked him if he would play chess with her. The father took a minute and asked the Lord what gave him more peace: continuing to work or playing chess with his daughter. Being with his daughter filled him with peace, and it was then that he realized that the Lord wanted him to play with his daughter.

This example helped Tomás Licheri a lot. After Mass, he decided to ask the Lord what gave him the most peace, and he saw quite clearly that the Lord was asking him to be Home. And so, he entered the community.

And now, traveling vocation in Rome

Tomás is studying his first year of Philosophy at Santa Croce. Thanks to the help of the CARF Foundation, this opportunity has been made possible, and we are grateful for all the generosity of all the benefactors. Watch the video of his testimony.