Diocesan or Religious

Hi, I need as much advice as possible.
I’m in a Claretian(Religious Missionary Priests and Brothers) Seminary. I’ve always wanted to become a priest ever since I was in my 4th Grade. I just recently graduated from High School.(I’m a part of the last batch of the Philippines’s old 10-year Basic Education Curriculum) and entered the seminary directly after. Initially I wanted to become a Diocesan (the seminary is just one kilometer near my house) but two months before my graduation, the Vocation Director of the Claretians came to my school and had a vocation campaign. For some strange reason the features of the Religious Priesthood was more appealing than the Secular. Now that I’m here (the seminary is in Quezon City near the National Capital, my hometown is Dumaguete City look it up for the distance), I miss my family more than ever, my conscience tells me that I should stay but my moral obligations dictate that I spend more time with my family before I “belong” to the Church. Any advice? Any opinions? I need prayers and likewise I shall pray for you too if you have any sort of advice. I talked to many priests about this, some say go back, others say stay, and the rest say listen to what your heart says. Right now my heart says I need to speak to other priests. Thank You.
Viva Cristo Rey!

Can other people tell you what is best for you? Or what God wants for you? I would say that this is a matter for prayerful discernment.

Are any of those priests a spiritual director to you? Being a seminarian, you should have a spiritual director. His is the primary opinion that matters here, based upon what you tell him about the movements of your soul. Bear in mind that he won’t be able to help you come to a decision until after he’s met with you a few times.

In the meantime, stay the course in seminary. If you don’t have a spiritual director, talk to the rector of the seminary about finding one.

I have a spiritual director but he doesn’t say the same thing he said the last time. I think it’s because he’s getting old. He was the former Provincial Superior and he has an amazing memory but not too good with his short term memory. Would it be possible to have more than one Spiritual Director? He may not be good at the short term things but he’s like a seer when it comes to reflections and history especially Church and Civilizations.

This sounds like a rather difficult situation in that case. I would suggest recollecting to him in your next meeting those occasions in which he has given you contradictory advice. If he does not remember those, alas, it might be time to bring this issue to your rector.

No it’s not possible to have more than one spiritual director. While his reflections and insights may well be profound, from what you’ve said it sounds like he’s not providing you with the guidance you need. Like others have said, as a seminarian you need to discuss these things with your spiritual director and, if you feel its appropriate, your formators - they are the ones entrusted with your priestly development. If your SD isn’t fulfilling your needs then you need to find another one.

Probably you’re right. But we have been instructed that we should not relay anything related to our consciences to our Formators. I have a new SD for my Conscience and advice related matters (He is a Sri Lankan preiest staying with us for a 2 years to earn his Master’s) and my old SD has become a source of information of any thing related to our congregation and Church history (He is a Spanish veteran missionary, he used to be the Provincial Superior and Rector of the Seminary in that order, he has been to our mission areas in Africa and established the mission for South Korea, he speaks more than 5 languages fluently and can read and understand about 3 more) I don’t want to do away with him because of his experience. Thanks for the advice

I am not exactly sure why your conscience would tell you that you have to stay. That seems to be something that is not a moral issue; if you owe them money because of your residence with them, that is something that can be resolved over time.

I, too, went to seminary right out of high school, so I can relate a bit. I would say there was more confusion in my life at that time than any other up to that point.

If you truly have a vocation, it is not particularly likely you will lose it by returning to your family for some time. It might even be to your benefit, and everyone else’s, if you took some time to mature (sorry, that sounds harsh, and is not meant to be).

By and large, at least in the Unites States, people are entering seminary after they have had some time after high school, and in most circumstance, beyond college. They have had time to mature, to find out who they are, what life is really about,

You really need to address your issues/feelings/concerns about being with family, and they are not going to be addressed by staying away from them. You have the rest of your life ahead of you, and that may well include life as a Claretian, or it may include life as a diocesan priest, or something else. Leaving the seminary and going home to sort out the pieces does not preclude any of those paths.

Unless, of course, someone (presumably with authority) says that if you leave, you will not be welcome back. And while I doubt they will say that, if they told me, I would be packing my bags forthwith. That would sound a lot more like coercion than guidance.

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