Diocesan Priest Vocation Discerners - Have you read To Save a Thousand Souls?


Outward signs? :ehh: One does not need “outward” signs to have a vocation; often, inward signs are more important. I certainly have never had any “outward” signs (unless you count the Bishop, Vocations Director, and seminary staff “signing off” on everything, so to speak), and yet I will be entering the seminary this Fall. Even there I will continue to discern.

Frankly, I’ve actually had people tell me that I shouldn’t become a priest, for a variety of reasons (most having to do with our secular culture).

I personally didn’t like his writing style, nor some of the ideas expressed in the book. It seems to me that he describes the ideal candidate, and then (whether he means to or not) tells everybody else something to the effect of “well, you can apply, but I don’t think you’re going to get very far”. Certainly, if we are picking our priests, this “ideal candidate” might be prudent advice. In practice, however, we do not pick our priests; they are called by God. Why He chooses to call some and not others is anyone’s guess; He chooses at His pleasure. I know of priests who (sometime before entering priesthood) had same-sex attractions, did drugs, were alcoholics, had relations with others, etc.; none of which would have been able to enter if we went by this book, but now live their lives as very holy and reverent priests.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: if one feels that they are being called to the Catholic Priesthood, short of true mitigating factors (such as outlined in Canon Law, the Program for Priestly Formation, or being told so by the Vocations Director/Bishop/Superior General) you should explore that call regardless of what anyone says. I would go so far as to say that this is one’s obligation, if one truly seeks to do the Lord’s will. “Vocat te Oriens et tu attendis ad occidentem” (The rising sun (i.e. Christ) is calling you, and you look to the West (i.e. in the direction of fallen man))


I just have heard people talk about their pastor saying you should be a priest and such. God does use other people in your life. I just know that I had too much drama, more and more bishops want young people… and all that. In my case nothing worked out. for one I was broke. My mother fell ill with breast cancer. I had to go to regular college to get courses I didn’t have (like what the hell does algebra have to do with priesthood) and then I couldn’t pass the math even though I prayed to Christ everyday and still was failing. Just nothing seemed to work out. I think that when you are a second career vocation (wish to Christ that I was a young seminarian,remember Jesus, John 14. 12-14, Let’s go,) They should fast track you. I think living to your 30s and 40s life experience needs to be considered. with all this said I think that I was not called and it was just what I wanted thinking it was God. I remember a priest in Corbin KY was saying how he heard a voice in an attic he was working in (electrician) and he kept ignoring it… but heard a voice again and people were telling him that he needs to be a priest. and he became a great pastor and priest. If I had no debt healthy parents that were financially well off and math came to me without struggles, that would be indicative of a call. I truly have no idea what God wants from me… just wish he would reveal it. Remember God, tempis fugit momento mouri Anyway I am so glad you are entering the seminary. Hope a conservative one.


I have read it once before and am actually beginning to read it a second time.

Before you buy it, you can request a copy free of charge at gopriest.com/. It took 3-4 weeks for me to receive my copy.

Some of the formatting is a bit messed up on the Kindle version, so be aware of that.

It’s a wonderfully inspiring book. It led me to go on a “Come and See” weekend at my seminary a couple of years ago.

I’d definitely recommend it to all who are discerning (casually or seriously) a vocation to the diocesan priesthood (not religious priesthood).


Since I started this post about three years ago, I have had time to “mature” and reevaluate things.

If you feel like you may be called to religious life or priesthood, do not drive yourself crazy and think you have to make a life or death decision. This was one of my mistakes. I wanted to KNOW right then and there.

I still am discerning informally. I haven’t made the decision to enter seminary; I am going to go to college first and then decide what I want to do after that. Sometimes I think it is best to experience some of the “real world” first before secluding yourself (for lack of a better term). Maybe in four years I will decide to enter the seminary and check it out. There’s nothing I can lose by giving up a few years to see if that life is the life for me. Who knows?


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