Diocesan priests who are not pastors?



I am trying to discern whether God is calling me to the diocesan priesthood. Prayer and discussion with clerical friends have lead to much clarity. I am not interested in the Religious life or matrimony. It is the secular priesthood I desire… but there seems to be a problem.

A priest must learn to give himself and be a total sacrifice for all the beloved in Christ. This can be done by anyone, with the help of God. I do experience is a strong social anxiety, however. I work with a Catholic therapist who is very good, and my outward social skills are normal; however, the pressure and headaches I experience from maintaining social interaction can be bad. I worry about burnouts.

What sorts of ministries are there for diocesan priests who are not pastors? We all know Hospital, University, Military, and Police Chaplains… but are there other areas? Is this a moot question, given that it’s the bishop’s choice, or does a priest’s assignment have some leeway depending on his personality and character?

Thank you for helping… :slight_smile:


Assignments can vary, certainly. As you get older and gain more experience working with people, your social anxiety will decrease. There are a great many introverts in the priesthood, and they are very successful preachers and leaders. If God is calling you to it, He will ensure that you have what you need. :slight_smile:


Besides always being an assistant, there are jobs in the seminary, for the diocese, in diocesan/parish schools, or even some catholic organizations (with Bishop approval). Plus a diocesan priest can always be loaned out to Rome or the USCCB.

God Bless and I wish you well re whatever vocation you are called to.


If I were you, I’d contact the Vocation Director of your Diocese. That way, you can talk to him, and he can help you with your discernment along with asking any questions that you’d like to ask.




Thank you for all your replies.

As to the Vocations director - I am not there yet. I am merely trying to understand the various ministries that priests take, outside the pastorate. There is a beautiful plan that I’ve developed with a local religious order, to become a secular consecrated Associate with them. That will take 5-6 years, and during that time I hope to learn to manage my anxiety and develop a more sound understanding of the priesthood.

jmcrae, you are correct in what you say. My therapist is, in fact, a priest and is very high on the “introvert scale”. One of his dear friends was a monsignor with strong Autistic qualities who nevertheless earned gold medals for academic excellence and was one of the most sensitive pastors he ever knew. God is good.


Diocesan priests are typically expected to be involved in parish ministry. Granted not all are but nonetheless most will be at one point or another and, for this reason, parish ministry is the focus of their formation. What I would say however, is that not all priests are equally comfortable in social situations - indeed, not all priests are extroverts. those that aren’t obviously have to work harder in order to be effective in whatever ministry they undertake since all ministry is, effectively by its nature, social. Even as an extroverted seminarian however, I still sometimes struggle in some social settings but this is something that I am aware of and, through that awareness, work to make more of an effort to engage in situations where I would otherwise keep to myself. Put simply, we all have our strengths and weaknesses but what matters is our awareness of these and what we do with them and this understanding is something which develops with time and through the human formation in the seminary,


If your therapist is a priest, then I think you should ask him about this topic. He is someone you trust, so the conversation would be easy for you. Also, as for the Vocations Director, you can just send him an e-mail and ask a question. I’ve e-mailed the Vocations Director of my Diocese to ask him a question before.


Yes, Vocations Directors are very approachable and also they work with boys inJunior Seminary, which is a good option for younger boys thinking of the priesthood.


Have you ever thought about the Jesuits?
That’s the order I’m discerning.


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