Feel called to priesthood but want to marry

Simo,

Just to make sure that it gets said: the desire to marry does not go away, even for the committed celibate. Christ Himself had desires as anyone else and he, The Celibate, also had that same desire to marry. But He willed to remain celibate, to express the love of the Father for His Church, and to point to the age to come. If you have not read any of the material that the Church has accumulated over the centuries regarding the unique privilege of the Western priesthood’s union with Christ in His celibacy, I recommend you begin with Paul VI’s Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 1-59 (the last section in that citation is specifically geared towards loneliness, and the union with Christ in that loneliness which does sometimes beset the priest).

vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis_en.html

The Church has a very deep theology of priestly celibacy that you can talk about with a spiritual director. Christ will be with you - and He is enough for you.

A few ideas:

[LIST]
*]Start dating and see if that is what you are called to do. Sometimes you need to get that out of your system. Sometimes you need to enjoy it and see where it happens. Most of the priests I know had girlfriends before they got accepted into the priesthood. There are others who discerned and realized that married life was for them as well.
*]Meet a priest and ask if you could shadow him for a few days and see if that is something you would like to do. I would shadow a couple of them in order to get a real idea of what their lives are about.
*]You could always apply to seminary and see if you can get in. Just because you apply doesn’t mean you will get in nor does it mean that you will complete it either. Also you might feel like you like it but you are called to serve God in other ways. There is a couple I know who dated for a while. Then they broke up. He applied and got into seminary. He studied that for a few years and then, he quit seminary and got back together with his girlfriend. They got married, had children and one of their sons became a priest a few years back. The years of training he received at seminary helped to build a strong relationship with God that later helped their marriage.
*]Get involved in the community and see where you would like to work. To serve God, doesn’t mean one has to become a priest to accomplish this. This world needs lots of people in different areas to serve him such as medicine, teaching, the police department, etc.
*]Get into spiritual direction.
*]If you like the first two options, you could also look into eastern Catholicism. I think that is what it is called where it allows you to become both a priest and marry.
*]Becoming a deacon is also possible.
[/LIST]

Life is a journey and sometimes, you just need to experiment and see where it takes you.

I hope these suggestions will be helpful.

SG

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