Discerning a Vocation to the Priesthood


Hello Everyone. I am a sophomore in high school and I am at a very confusing point in my life. I really want to become a priest. I feel God calling me in a variety of ways, yet I cannot seem to accept that he is calling me. I change my mind constantly about this and I know he is calling me, but how do I commit myself to him, so I don’t keep changing my mind? Thanks.


I’m a junior in high school, and I am also discerning the priesthood. My advice for you would be to talk to your local vocations director and close friends. We can’t help you without really knowing you very well.


I think its important to remember you are young and have at least 2 years until you are finished H.S. to discern, so take your time and don’t worry. That’s plenty of time to pray and discern.

Also, no matter what you are called too, all Catholics, regardless of their vocation, are called to grow in holiness. Its sort of a vocation within a vocation. Whether you’re called to priesthood or marriage etc, God wants you to grow closer to Him, grow in holiness, and grow in faith,hope, and love.

So, you can commit yourself to God, and still be unsure of what your vocation is. That’s totally OK. And remember, discernment is difficult and a big deal, so take your time, and pray everyday to discern Gods will for you.

Being you find priesthood attractive, very well could be a sign that you are called to become a priest. Being a priest is awesome and an incredible calling. Each calling is different, but most priests describe their calling as a sort of desire within, or interior fire, something almost unexplainable, that is drawing them to priesthood - and this was the case for me.

I believe the Lord is calling me to priesthood and I plan on going to the seminary this fall. Something that really helped me was reading a book called, “To Save a Thousand Souls.” Its a book about discerning whether or not the reader is called to diocesan priesthood.
One of the things in the book that really stood out to me, was imagining which vocation I could not live without. Like, if you had to envision your whole life from here on out, either as a priest and administering the sacraments, preaching, serving/helping others… or getting married, having children, raising a family, having a loving wife… when you are finished and look at each of your fantasies, which one of them could you not live without? And you can use this method not just for priesthood/marriage, but other vocations like hermit or religious life.

That is just one example of some of the practices one can take to discern. Its also very important to pray and take time everyday to listen to the voice of God and to pray to Him. Prayer is of the utmost importance, and no matter what vocation you are called to, we are called to holiness and to have a deep inner relationship with the Lord.


In regards to MJford, i agree it is very important to talk to other priests, including your vocation director, and ask them questions.
If you wish to go to the seminary, you would have to go through the application process, and the first step of that, at least in most dioceses, is to meet up and talk to your vocation director. Having a good relationship with him is important and he will help you greatly along your journey.
The Catholic Church definitely needs priests and Christ is def calling many to the priesthood.


Don’t wait to contact the vocation director for your (arch)diocese and alert your pastor to the situation.


I reiterate what has already been said. Just a hint of advice if you’re unsure - It’s not a horrible idea to join seminary right out of high school if you’re still unsure. Seminary is meant for formation and thorough discernment, thus even if you discern out you still have a more clear idea of what it means to live as a man of God.


I would recommend contacting your vocations director immediately, and continuing to pray. I would also strongly recommend seeking spiritual direction, preferably from your confessor.

It would certainly be an option for you to ask to spend some time with different religious orders of priests or brothers. I have known some people who have done this - one lived with an order of priests (he subsequently married), another went into the seminary (he subsequently married), and the third is a woman who lived with the Sisters of Sion for a year (she subsequently married - she is my mother!).

A seminarian, who is today a priest, told me that he was told there are two successful ways to leave the seminary: as a priest, or as a Catholic layperson. In reality, OP, you would have to complete a minimum of about 8 years of schooling, plus a year as a deacon, before you would be ordained to the priesthood. (This is true for diocesan priests here in Alberta - I cannot speak to the practices of different orders.)

When I was in high school, as you are, I had already felt for many years that God was calling me to be a religious. I had already decided that I would get a university degree, then join the Missionaries of Charity as a sister and a missionary. When I was in my senior year of high school, I felt God calling me to become a nurse. As a child, I had placed my future in His hands. Today, I am finishing a Master’s of Nursing and teach practical nursing at a local college. I am married to a wonderful husband, and I dearly love my stepdaughter (his daughter from his first marriage, which was declared invalid). We are trying to have additional children at this point. Although my life turned out differently from what I expected, I know that this is what God wanted from me. He did want me to be a missionary - He just wanted me to be a missionary by caring for, and then teaching others to care for, His people, and by raising my children to love Him.

A strong trust in the Will of God, and continuous prayer, seem to be your best bets right now. One thing that has helped me has been to always be ready to submit to the Will of God. Remember, all of us are called to lives of sacrifice - the question is one of where and how God intends you to live out those sacrifices. I will keep you in my prayers.


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