Discernment and Parental Misgivings


#1

I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church and in the process of discernment regarding the priesthood. Now, as a convert from a more or less secular family, my decision to embark on the discernment process has been meet with some apprehension from my parents. Moreover, since I am a recent college graduate and thus of a mature age to decide on such a momentous act of service in my life. Nevertheless, the decision is also one that I would like to make with the support of my parents. In the end, I will bring this up with my spiritual director, but since a vocations forum does exist here, I would certainly appreciate any helpful advice.


#2

Actually checking on the Internet gives an indication that you don't have to make this decision alone, not all at once: I picked up these steps from the website listed below, and it made a lot of sense...but I don't know if it helps you. God bless you, anyway

"Pray about your vocation. Take any feelings or advice that have led you to consider the priesthood and give them to God, then wait patiently and openly for a response. Realize that everyone has a vocation and if a person is truly open to theirs, God will reveal it to him or her.

Talk to your parish priest, your diocese's vocations director, or the vocation of a religious order if you are familiar with them. You can get in touch with the vocations director through your parish or by looking in your local telephone directory. A quick Google search of the term ¨Catholic Religious Orders¨ will give you lists of different communities of priests such as the Jesuits, Dominicans, or Oblates. Also consider Missionary Priesthood. These tend to focus on cross-cultural missions where you live among the poor and disadvantaged. They will talk with you about your vocation and possibly get you on a retreat specifically for men discerning the priesthood.

Go through the application process for the seminary through your diocese or through the religious order. This process usually includes several questions about yourself and your desire to discern the priesthood.

If you're accepted, go to the seminary. Unless you're somewhat older, you should expect to spend at least 6-8 years there, depending on how much college experience you have. Typically religious orders have a slightly different formation process, based on their own needs. Check with them about the exact steps they take that lead to ordination.

While you're there, continue to pray and discern God's will. Above all, do what your rector, bishop, vocation's director, or other superiors ask you to do.

While you're there, continue to pray and discern God's will. Above all, do what your rector, bishop, vocation's director, or other superiors ask you to do.

Be ordained a transitional deacon, making your promises of celibacy and obedience.
Be ordained a priest. Continue to grow in holiness

wikihow.com/Become-a-Catholic-Priest

I'll pray regarding your parents.
A vocation that amazed me was of a Jesuit who was the only child, only son of a non-believing couple. If that can happen, anything can! God bless your parents and help them to accept whatever vocation the Lord desires for you.


#3

[quote="PA650, post:1, topic:208353"]
I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church and in the process of discernment regarding the priesthood. Now, as a convert from a more or less secular family, my decision to embark on the discernment process has been meet with some apprehension from my parents. Moreover, since I am a recent college graduate and thus of a mature age to decide on such a momentous act of service in my life.

[/quote]

I thought you were discerning, but what you say seems like you have decided.

[quote="PA650, post:1, topic:208353"]
Nevertheless, the decision is also one that I would like to make with the support of my parents.

[/quote]

That would be nice, but things don't always work that way; read about St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the list goes on. All these great saints and others, too, did not have approval of their parents when deciding on a vocation. If you are truly called, this won't dissuade you. People are fickle; God is constant, and if His will is that you be a priest, His calling you will be constant, too. This applies even if you are called to marriage or something else. When I was straddling the fence in discerning marriage or the priesthood, my parents had misgivings of both; I am now married.

[quote="PA650, post:1, topic:208353"]
In the end, I will bring this up with my spiritual director, but since a vocations forum does exist here, I would certainly appreciate any helpful advice.

[/quote]

That is a good idea, too.


#4

Also, I would suggest reading the Catechism of the Council of Trent on both Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony.


#5

How recent a convert?

Certainly in the UK, it's the 'done thing' to wait a couple of years to see if the sense of vocation 'sticks'. From what I understand, many people are caught up in the 'euphoria' of swimming the Tiber and might get carried away, accepted to Seminary, only to back out half way through. The Church needs to ensure that all the resources it expends on training you will yield results. In other words, they want to know you're 'fertile soil' rather than 'shallow soil' in which the seed of vocation is planted.

Of course you should go ahead with your discernment process. Take your time, go on the retreats suggested by your Vocations Director. If you can, spend some time visiting a Seminary to get a feel of the life there (preferably the one the diocese would be most likely to send you to).

Don't worry about your parents: they're just concerned about you. Once they see you're on a settled path in your life they'll come around. I agonised for years about telling my father - who's a devout Catholic - simply because I am an only child. When I finally expressed my wish to embark on seminary training he gave me every support I needed. Your parents, if they're good people, will want nothing better to see you fulfilled in your life.


#6

Thank you all for your helpful replies.

Trishie, thank you for the information. I have met with the vocation director of the Archdiocese, visited the seminary with my parish's parochial vicar, and so forth. Thus, I have a good grasp of what I could embark on if I choose such a path as the priesthood.

Geremia,

I thought you were discerning, but what you say seems like you have decided.

In many ways, I have decided, yet I have chosen to continue the discernment process on the advice of the vocation director since I am a recent convert and the misgivings of my parents. In the end, I am being obedient to the Church at this point in my life, and certainly striving not to make any hasty decisions.

That would be nice, but things don't always work that way; read about St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the list goes on. All these great saints and others, too, did not have approval of their parents when deciding on a vocation. If you are truly called, this won't dissuade you. People are fickle; God is constant, and if His will is that you be a priest, His calling you will be constant, too. This applies even if you are called to marriage or something else. When I was straddling the fence in discerning marriage or the priesthood, my parents had misgivings of both; I am now married.

I am aware that particular Saints of the Church did not find approval from their parents in answering God's call. Moreover, I appreciate your personal familiarity with this process.

DexUK,

How recent a convert?

Certainly in the UK, it's the 'done thing' to wait a couple of years to see if the sense of vocation 'sticks'. From what I understand, many people are caught up in the 'euphoria' of swimming the Tiber and might get carried away, accepted to Seminary, only to back out half way through. The Church needs to ensure that all the resources it expends on training you will yield results. In other words, they want to know you're 'fertile soil' rather than 'shallow soil' in which the seed of vocation is planted.

Of course you should go ahead with your discernment process. Take your time, go on the retreats suggested by your Vocations Director. If you can, spend some time visiting a Seminary to get a feel of the life there (preferably the one the diocese would be most likely to send you to).

Don't worry about your parents: they're just concerned about you. Once they see you're on a settled path in your life they'll come around. I agonised for years about telling my father - who's a devout Catholic - simply because I am an only child. When I finally expressed my wish to embark on seminary training he gave me every support I needed. Your parents, if they're good people, will want nothing better to see you fulfilled in your life.

As I mentioned above, since I am a recent convert (specifically Easter 2010) the vocation director has taken the approach that you have explained in order to truly see if the call 'sticks.' Thus, I will have an extended period of time regarding discernment. Lastly, thank you for your personal experience regarding this topic.


#7

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