5 Minutes With Father T.J. Dolce
July 15, 2014
HOUSTON — Celebrating his fifth year as a priest, Father T.J. Dolce exudes great love for his vocation.
“I know I was called to the priesthood,” he said. “This is exactly where I am supposed to be.”
Starting this month, the Houston native will help others discover their own calling as the Office of Vocations director for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Prior to his new assignment, Father Dolce was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Martha Church in Kingwood for three years. He then served one year as parochial vicar at St. Mary Magdalene in Humble before being named administrator at St. Thomas More this past year.
As a parish priest, the 35-year-old embraced his opportunity to interact with the community — particularly young people, “inspiring and helping them connect with Christ,” he said. “I have a very strong desire to help young people find joy and happiness in their faith — no matter their future vocation in life.”
In a recent interview with the Texas Catholic Herald, Father Dolce discussed his passion for the priesthood and his new position with the Vocations Office.
TCH: How will your perspective and experiences at the parish help you as Office of Vocations director? Are there any specific challenges or goals you look forward to most in this role?
Father Dolce: I’ve been to three parishes in my first five years as a priest, so I feel I have a good sense of the diversity of the Archdiocese. I have been a parochial vicar and have experience as an administrator, so I understand the diversity of assignments for the priesthood.
I look forward to visiting all of the parishes in the Archdiocese. There are a lot of parishes that I’ve never visited, so I look forward to meeting the priests, the staffs and the parishioners from all over the Archdiocese.
I am also looking forward to working with Sister Anita Brenek, C.D.P., (Office of Vocations associate director) in fostering a culture of vocations to religious life for women because the Church needs more sisters and nuns!
TCH: Do you have any specific goals or plans as you transition into this role?
Father Dolce: As many people know, the Cardinal’s goal for me is get more seminarians. We don’t have enough priests to keep up with the needs and the growth of the Archdiocese.
I plan on continuing the work of Father Clint Ressler and Father Dat Hoang (previous Office of Vocations directors) and increase the number of seminarians every year. I also hope to get to know the current seminarians better because we have some great men in formation for the priesthood.
TCH: Outside of ministerial and pastoral service, what do you enjoy doing for recreation during your spare time — whenever there is spare time?
Father Dolce: I really enjoy sports. I like to play golf and basketball when I can, and I will pretty much watch any sport that is on TV.
My favorite teams are the Rockets, Texans and Astros and I have followed them my whole life. I enjoy attending games, watching them on TV and reading about them.
I also enjoy hanging out with my family, especially my 7-year-old nephew and 1-year-old niece.
TCH: Speaking of vocations, what words of advice do you have for those in the early stages of discerning the priesthood or religious life?
Father Dolce: Pray, pray, pray. I think a vocation of service to the Church is born out of our prayer with God. If God wants someone to be a priest, brother, sister or nun, then it will become clear in prayer.
TCH: From your perspective, what has been the most rewarding aspects of being a priest?
Father Dolce: I get to help so many people. I can’t think of anything I could do with my life that would be more rewarding or more helpful to people. I get to bring them hope, love, joy, peace and sometimes even fun as the minister of Jesus Christ.