Supporting Vocations


A Journey from Drugs to Our Lady

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By Marc Massery (May 6, 2019)
First, David Gunter of Brookline, Massachusetts, was addicted to marijuana. Then LSD. Finally, he got hooked on Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate.

David started smoking marijuana at just 14 years old. "I wanted to have friends, and I decided that smoking marijuana was the way to go because then people would like me," David said. Though he enjoyed getting high, he lived a lonely life in high school.

"In my college years, I started using drugs more intensely," he said. His grades went up and down depending on how much he was using. "Somehow I managed to graduate," he said.

Despite his behavior, despite not even being sure if he believed in God, he continued attending Mass on Sundays. "I didn't pay attention, but it was drilled into me that you just went to Mass on weekends," he said.

At the root of his addiction was a belief that he was worthless. "I was afraid to get a job because [I thought] it would come out that I was incompetent," he said. After receiving his bachelor's degree, he pursued a master's degree in business, primarily to delay having to get a job. In graduate school, he started using LSD. "How I got through graduate school, I really have no idea," he said.

Around this time, he lost a couple close friends, both to drug-related accidents. One accidentally shot himself with a rifle, presumably hunting while high. Another, addicted to cocaine, crashed his car into a tree with no evidence of him even hitting the brakes. "But despite all this, I didn't realize I had a problem," David said.

One day, David was working in the basement of his family's inn when he seriously contemplated suicide. "I thought, 'Well, just a quick nick to my neck, and it could all be over in a few seconds,'" he said. But he didn't want to die. He just wanted the pain to stop.

Another day, after smoking a joint and taking LSD, David suddenly couldn't see or hear anything. "Something had happened with the LSD ... and I was absolutely terrified," he said.

When his senses came back a couple minutes later, he finally realized he needed to make a change. The next day, he went to Mass and prayed the first real prayer he had made in many years. He said, "God, I don't know if you're really there, but if you are, I need help. I'm obsessed with drugs, and I have to stop but don't know how. Please help me."

With the encouragement of his pastor, he started going to Alcoholics Anonymous. He smoked his last joint on Oct. 15, 1989.

Though he was off drugs, he still didn't feel like he had a purpose. "I still didn't feel too good about myself. I didn't know where to turn," he said. One night, he was struck with the idea to ask the Blessed Mother for guidance. He prayed three Hail Marys slowly and drifted off to sleep.

In the middle of the night, the mirror hanging on his wall mysteriously crashed to the floor. "I looked up on the wall, and hanging on the nail where the mirror had been were my Rosary beads," David said.

A couple days later, two women checked into his family's inn and told him all about Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (The Church has not yet ruled on the authenticity of the apparitions.)

"I thought, 'Wow.' ... I had just prayed to Mary,'" he said.

Inspired by the testimony of these two women, he went to Medjugorje where he had a life-changing experience. David started praying the Rosary every day and going to Confession. "I'd like to say everything fell into place [after that], but I had a lot of learning to do," he said.

Years later, in his mid-40s, he suddenly found himself unemployed. So, he decided to use his spare time to pray more in Adoration. After steeping himself in prayer for many hours, he realized that he might have a vocation to the priesthood. He went on a vocation retreat, and before he knew it, he entered seminary. "I kind of went into seminary kicking and screaming, because I wanted so much to be married," he recalled. "But I never had a single doubt [about my vocation] since the moment of my ordination."

After he was ordained for the Diocese of Boston, five years into his priesthood, he followed a call to the Marian Fathers. Though he's already a priest, he's still going through formation in the hopes of one day becoming a lifelong Marian. "My calling to the Marians was even stronger than my calling to the priesthood," he said. "It was profound."

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Maggie - May 9, 2019

I have met with Father David and attended his mass a few times --- he is absolutely wonderful and the type of priest all churches need! He is kind, patient, insightful and willing to listen and help. He leads mass with the reverence the sacrifice of the mass deserves and he gives an interesting homily. I wish him all the best and look forward to being able to attend his services in the future.

Phyllis - May 7, 2019

Praise God for your vocation and thank you for saying yes to being a priest and now a Marian priest. May God grant you a holy and saintly perseverance.