Discernment Help!


#1

I am currently a sort of “entry level pastor” within the United Methodist Church and come from an Episcopalian background. I consider myself very “High Church” and miss my “smells and bells” style service! Left the Episcopal Church due to “liberal theology.” I have long felt a call to the Priesthood and also a DEEP desire to “come home” so to speak to the RCC. My problem is this…IF I seek Holy Orders through the RCC my Diocese will require me to be a member for roughly 7 years before they’ll even consider me for the ordination process. I have already put off seminary for quite some time due to Protestant church politics and can not even imagine the anguish I will go through having to wait so long to serve God and serve the Church. Please offer me your opinions on what I should do!!! I know that waiting 7 years in no way compares to the anguish that Christ suffered and I know that I need to be firm in my foundation as a Catholic, but 7 years seems like a heck of a long time. I live in Pennsylvania and would be in the Harrisburg Diocese. I graduate this year with a BS degree. If this matters.


#2

try another diocese or religious order I always thought the wait was 2-3 years not 7


#3

I spoke with the Vocations Director for my Diocese and he told me that the Bishop will not even entertain a call to Holy Orders unless the candidate has AT LEAST 5 years as a practicing Catholic, but they (the powers that be) like to see closer to 7 years for new converts. I just can't understand why the long wait when the RCC is hurting (like all other denominations) for clergy.


#4

The minimum wait would be 2 to 3 years after full entry into the Church. You would go through the RCIA process in most dioceses and that would add about another year.

Your vocations director might be telling you it will be about 7 years before you can be ordained. Which would just about fit, 1 year RCIA, 2 year wait to enter the seminary, and then 4 years or so in the seminary.

If you have a bachelors degree that could help out for when you enter the seminary, you will be required to have 30 credit hours of philosophy and 12 credit hours of theology from a Catholic institution that the major seminary accepts.

There are a lot of factors but again, the minimum wait would be 2 to 3 years after full entry into the Church. You could contact other dioceses and religious communities but I would suggest that you start entry into the Catholic Church as soon as you can. Why wait. If it is a 7 year wait would that make you not enter the Church?


#5

[quote="seg000, post:1, topic:224843"]
I have already put off seminary for quite some time due to Protestant church politics and can not even imagine the anguish I will go through having to wait so long to serve God and serve the Church.

[/quote]

I find your impatience refreshing and encouraging; seminarians that sound like you are priests that sound like they will be well worth the wait.

The convert in me loves impatience for the faith, and also knows that Gods grace flows from unexpected sources. The Holy Spirit worked through a whole passel of people (non of whom were priests) on my behalf. I was where I was supposed to be, and so were they. At the time, I wouldn't have told you I was in a conversion process. Ha. Me? Catholic. No. So if in fact you have to wait 7 years, it might be where you need to be.. for someone lost (like me- there's one in every crowd you know) :) or for reasons you might not know in this life.

In any case, you have a great story, and the world needs examples of someone who is frustrated but who perseveres anyway and --oh joy! more the better that you will be a priest!! So be the benefactors of your path fellow seminarians, parishioners, or the clerk at the gas station, the next 7 years could be a very holy and purposeful way to serve God and serve the Church.

Besides all that, maybe you'll get a pass. St Therese of Lisieux talked Pope Leo XIII into letting her enter Carmel at 15: after he had in essence declined and told her to do what her superiors decided. So of course, you never know.

I don't think you should fret: You're coming home!

Welcome back.


#6

You really do need to get on with your entry into the Roman Catholic Church...It will do little good for your to live in a state of anguish about becoming a Preist in the RRC if you put off becoming a Roman Catholic. That is the very first step you must take & take soon if you wish to have the hearing & attention of any Bishop or Religious Superior. Your studies may count somewhat, but that will depend on what you studied. It would also be a good idea for you to find a good priest for counseling & support in your journey. He in turn would be able to present you to a Bishop when the timing is right. Obviously, this forum is not a place to find all the answers to your questions. Any Priest can serve as your Spiritual Director & there is no cost. It is pert of his vocation.


#7

You really do need to get on with your entry into the Roman Catholic Church...

You're right. I contacted the Priest of my local parish today. I saw on their website that RCIA starts in September. For those of you who know, does that mean I will have to wait until next September to start the membership process? I contacted the Priest via e-mail so I am still waiting to hear back from him. Thanks!


#8

[quote="seg000, post:7, topic:224843"]
You really do need to get on with your entry into the Roman Catholic Church...

You're right. I contacted the Priest of my local parish today. I saw on their website that RCIA starts in September. For those of you who know, does that mean I will have to wait until next September to start the membership process? I contacted the Priest via e-mail so I am still waiting to hear back from him. Thanks!

[/quote]

Maybe. Maybe after meeting the priest and him talking with you he might decide that you are far enough along to enter the current group.

It is all very subjective. You will need to speak to the pastor of your local parish.


#9

[quote="seg000, post:1, topic:224843"]
I am currently a sort of "entry level pastor" within the United Methodist Church and come from an Episcopalian background. I consider myself very "High Church" and miss my "smells and bells" style service! Left the Episcopal Church due to "liberal theology." I have long felt a call to the Priesthood and also a DEEP desire to "come home" so to speak to the RCC. My problem is this...IF I seek Holy Orders through the RCC my Diocese will require me to be a member for roughly 7 years before they'll even consider me for the ordination process. I have already put off seminary for quite some time due to Protestant church politics and can not even imagine the anguish I will go through having to wait so long to serve God and serve the Church. Please offer me your opinions on what I should do!!!! I know that waiting 7 years in no way compares to the anguish that Christ suffered and I know that I need to be firm in my foundation as a Catholic, but 7 years seems like a heck of a long time. I live in Pennsylvania and would be in the Harrisburg Diocese. I graduate this year with a BS degree. If this matters.

[/quote]

Right on, brother! I'll pray for your discernment!

If you're interested in the diocesan priesthood, your opportunity to serve God and the people of your diocese might come sooner than you think--ask your VD and local pastor if there are any societies or clubs you could join/help out in. It would be a great opportunity to start assuming responsibilities and start building contacts that would help you during your priesthood.


#10

C.M.B.
I will surely be praying for you! God bless you many times over. Please be patient with Him and let Him work. A vocation to any state in life is

JMJDTF+
~Betsy

Totus tuus Maria! Let's see what the good God wills!


#11

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