Becoming a priest


#1

Hello everyone, this is my first post on this forum. I’ve come here seeking advice on becoming a priest/ entering the seminary. I am a 20 year old man currently attending a private university in Central Massachusetts studying English and Philosophy. I have always had a complicated relationship with the Church, but around 1 year ago I experienced what I can only describe as a “calling.” I woke up one day and the thought of becoming a priest and dedicating the rest of my life to serving God and helping others filled me peace and joy. I have spent the past year both reflecting on the idea and praying and it seems like the right thing for me to do. I do not mean right in the sense that is the noble thing or the correct thing; this sense of “rightness” far outweighs that. It is a “rightness” where all of my other aspirations and desires seem deceptive and contrived in comparison. I have discussed this with a few family members and close friends and most laughed knowing the person that I have been, but they were all nevertheless supportive of my decision. I feel as if I have reached a point in my life where I am ready to let go and let God and dedicate myself to Him.

My problem is I know neither where to start nor how to start. That is why I have come here. I will be greatly appreciative of any help offered.

Thank you,
Jason


#2

How about asking your parish priest or ministry for guidance?
Or contact your nearest seminary institute.

Admissions at St. John's Seminary, Camarillo CA 93012
stjohnsem.edu/admissions.htm


#3

MAY THE SACRED HEART BLESS YOU!!

It is wonderful to hear this news, please pray for me and I will Pray for you, as I am discerning a vocation as well!!

  1. Get in touch with your diocese Vocationds Director, arrange a meeting, sit down and talk with him, visit the Seminary etc.

  2. Pray, pray and pray some more : The Most Holy Rosary and EUCHARISITIC ADORATIOn are two things that I highly recommend

3.read this link:
pamphlets.org.au/ireland/ctsise029a.html

I hope this helps!!


#4

Jason,

Awesome! I'll keep you in my prayers!

One question for you: are you thinking about becoming a diocesan priest (i.e., like a parish priest), or about joining a religious order and becoming a priest in that order?

Even if you have one in mind, don't let that close off the possibility of discerning the other!

In any case, the recommendations to make contact with a diocesan vocations are spot-on! (Of course, it leads to another question: which diocese? the one where you're a student? or the one back home? part of the discernment of diocesan priesthood isn't just "what?" but also "where?")

One last piece of advice: discernment isn't like a college course. There's no syllabus, and there's no pre-defined date at which point you take a 'final exam' and finish discerning. It's a process, not something you plan on a calendar. Relax, stay open to hearing what God has in mind for you, and enjoy the ride!


#5

Thank you. The problem is that I have been outside the Church for some time. What was my local parish growing up has been merged with a different parish and none of the priests I knew are still there. Furthermore, I am in Massachusetts right now (grew up in New York) and not sure to which authority I should defer.

I went to a Jesuit high school and have a great respect for the order as educators and men of faith. I would be very interested in joining that order, but I know they are an academically oriented order and I am not sure how I would fare given my current level of education.

I am more interested in Outreach/Community Service/ Retreats and potentially Education/Counseling than I am in being a Diocesan Priest. I do recognize, however, that it is still early and I do not know what path I may go down.


#6

Well, it’s not so much “deferring to an authority” as it is making a decision of which diocese you feel called to serve in. Some folks go back to their home diocese; others stay in the diocese where they went to school or got a job. There’s no one ‘right’ answer.

I went to a Jesuit high school and have a great respect for the order as educators and men of faith. I would be very interested in joining that order, but I know they are an academically oriented order and I am not sure how I would fare given my current level of education.

Theirs is a long process; part of that process includes getting the level of education that they require. You don’t have to walk into the Jesuits with a PhD… but you just might get one while in the order!

I am more interested in Outreach/Community Service/ Retreats and potentially Education/Counseling than I am in being a Diocesan Priest.

Two thoughts: first, “outreach/community service/retreats” and “education/counseling” are both examples of tasks or things you do; discernment to the priesthood is more about who you are called by God to be. A diocesan priest is most often a parish priest; but in that role, he is often engaged in outreach, service, retreats, education, and counseling!

(On the other hand, discernment to a religious order also brings with it the gaining of an understanding of what the particular charisms of the various orders are, so you can discern whether your calling is to that charism in that order.)


#7

[quote="Gorgias, post:6, topic:301337"]
Well, it's not so much "deferring to an authority" as it is making a decision of which diocese you feel called to serve in. Some folks go back to their home diocese; others stay in the diocese where they went to school or got a job. There's no one 'right' answer.

[/quote]

In that case I would feel much more comfortable serving where I grew up than where I am now. I do have a lot of obligations to clear up where I am before I can begin then. If that means takes a little longer then so be it.

Theirs is a long process; part of that process includes getting the level of education that they require. You don't have to walk into the Jesuits with a PhD... but you just might get one while in the order!

Haha, yes. This brings up another issue, however. I am not sure if I should continue my education at my current university or transfer into a Catholic university. Having any religious leanings where I attend school now is considered strange or even stupid. Most of my peers are atheists or agnostics. It does not bother me at all; I do not try to debate or argue with them about my feelings on the issue. All the same, being a Catholic is the butt of many jokes and I do not feel a sense of community that I think is vital to my vocation.

Two thoughts: first, "outreach/community service/retreats" and "education/counseling" are both examples of tasks or things you do; discernment to the priesthood is more about who you are called by God to be. A diocesan priest is most often a parish priest; but in that role, he is often engaged in outreach, service, retreats, education, and counseling!

(On the other hand, discernment to a religious order also brings with it the gaining of an understanding of what the particular charisms of the various orders are, so you can discern whether your calling is to that charism in that order.)

Thank you for making the distinction. What I meant in my earlier post was that I am not sure if being a parish priest is right for me. But it is far too early for me to know one way or the other. I think I will only be able to come to an answer through prayer and guidance.


#8

Contact your diocesan vocations director! That's the way to get the ball rolling.


#9

[quote="JasonDe, post:7, topic:301337"]
This brings up another issue, however. I am not sure if I should continue my education at my current university or transfer into a Catholic university. Having any religious leanings where I attend school now is considered strange or even stupid. Most of my peers are atheists or agnostics. It does not bother me at all; I do not try to debate or argue with them about my feelings on the issue. All the same, being a Catholic is the butt of many jokes and I do not feel a sense of community that I think is vital to my vocation.

[/quote]

Hmm... Is there any kind of Catholic campus ministry organization that operates on your campus? Or a Catholic student organization? Or an Oratory? Or is one of the priests at a local parish assigned as 'chaplain' to the university community? Any one of these resources should be able to help you connect with a "Catholic community" within the university (or at least, a group of like-minded Catholic students)!

I'm not certain that I would necessarily recommend transferring universities at this point, though, especially since you're just beginning your (formal) discernment.


#10

I have spent the past year both reflecting on the idea and praying and it seems like the right thing for me to do. I do not mean right in the sense that is the noble thing or the correct thing; this sense of “rightness” far outweighs that. It is a “rightness” where all of my other aspirations and desires seem deceptive and contrived in comparison.

This is very similar to me; I think I know what you mean!

This initial period after having accepted the possibility of this calling can be both wonderful yet very stressful, so, as has basically been recommended already, I would recommend finding a spiritual director to discuss these things with if you haven’t done so already.

I will keep you in my prayers! :thumbsup:


#11

[quote="JasonDe, post:5, topic:301337"]

I went to a Jesuit high school and have a great respect for the order as educators and men of faith. I would be very interested in joining that order, but I know they are an academically oriented order and I am not sure how I would fare given my current level of education.

I am more interested in Outreach/Community Service/ Retreats and potentially Education/Counseling than I am in being a Diocesan Priest. I do recognize, however, that it is still early and I do not know what path I may go down.

[/quote]

Your traits are more to Franciscan than Jesuit in my opinion.
Maybe this thread will interest you;

CAF : Diocesan,Franciscan or Jesuit
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=493269


#12

[quote="JasonDe, post:5, topic:301337"]
Thank you. The problem is that I have been outside the Church for some time. What was my local parish growing up has been merged with a different parish and none of the priests I knew are still there. Furthermore, I am in Massachusetts right now (grew up in New York) and not sure to which authority I should defer.

I went to a Jesuit high school and have a great respect for the order as educators and men of faith. I would be very interested in joining that order, but I know they are an academically oriented order and I am not sure how I would fare given my current level of education.

I am more interested in Outreach/Community Service/ Retreats and potentially Education/Counseling than I am in being a Diocesan Priest. I do recognize, however, that it is still early and I do not know what path I may go down.

[/quote]

Ah, the question of where to go.

When it comes to diocesan priesthood, you are free to apply to any diocese you feel like. Many people do apply to the diocese they have grown up in and spent their life. Others (including myself) apply to the diocese where they went to university/college. The second one is often found in young men who have fallen away and "reverted" to practicing the faith while at college (or while working or whatever).

For religious orders/congregations, you have to look at their charism and see if that matches up with you. For diocesan and religious it is really recommended to go on vocation retreats.

Like it was said above, get involved in campus ministry or your catholic student's group if you have one. It's a good place to network and grow in faith in a community.


#13

Carus frater Jason,

from todays readings:
Lk 11: 9-10

9 “I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.

Pray and you will get the answer. Ask Lord: What do you want for/from me?
God loves us on mysterious ways, remember that.

I am very happy for you. If you have your call and if you are on the same path like us you should know that we are here for your questions, conversation and support. :slight_smile:

In prayer with you,
frater tuus Attempto


#14

You may be asked to fill out a criminal record check. Regardless of your history, plead conscientious objection to the request. See my post:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=9891023#poststop


#15

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