Have you ever felt a calling to the Priesthood?

Dear Friends,

Has anyone ever felt they had a call to the Eastern Catholic Church as a Priest or Religious?

What were the circumstances when you felt that? Did you think of acting on testing your vocation? What happened in the end?

And did that experience leave you with something “you wish you did?” Did it perhaps lead you into a lay ministry of some sort?

Alex

Good question. Have you?

I must admit I have toyed with the idea in my mind. But thats how I think, I always think of myself doing many different things. I’ve become a Catechist to be of service to the Church. I don’t take my thoughts that seriously, I’ve always been a dreamer. But who knows, maybe one day God will give me a serious call. I might actually see if I have a calling to be a deacon, but again not today.

Sometimes I think it would be cool to be a cleric. But with many of my other friends, I feel it just might be a desire to serve the church and immediately many of us jump to the conclusion it would be best to be ordained a cleric in the church. So I’m not sure about this. I have this nagging doubt in the back of my mind, that I feel would be detrimental to me if I was to serve the Church in a clerical capacity. However, the diaconate would be a beautiful vocation as CTG says. There ain’t enough good deacons out there. The lives of Ephrem, Francis, Romanos are inspiring as to the humility of the order of deacons.

I did when I was a young man. Then I met my wife and fell deeply in love. My vocation as a father was then clear, just a different kind of father. :slight_smile:

In the Byzantine Rite, this is not a problem. Our priest is a spiritual father to us, and also an actual father to a cute little girl.

Yes I have.

What were the circumstances when you felt that?

Looking back on my life, I had felt this way as far back as I can remember. I was baptized Catholic as an infant (not Chrismated or given First Eucharist as I was born where there was no Byzantine Ruthenian parish, my parents’ were going to fly me the (close to ) 1700 miles to have me baptized at St Nicholas in Clinton Twp in Michigan but the bishop told them that this was a hardship and he dispensed them to have me baptized in a local Roman parish) but I was raised with no faith formation so I did not know what this feeling I had was until I fully enter the Catholic Church on my own at the age of 33.

Did you think of acting on testing your vocation?

Yes I tested it. I am still testing it.

What happened in the end?

I entered into formation with the Carmelites and am currently in temporary vows in the internship phase of my formation program. I have 3 years of theology study and possibly one more year of internship (I find out this Friday) and my final vows before ordination to the priesthood (God willing).

And did that experience leave you with something “you wish you did?”

I am where I am supposed to be at this time so I can truly say no. I have thought that I would like to have gotten started sooner on this but I do not think I was ready for this when I was younger. Everything that occurred in my life happened for a reason.

Did it perhaps lead you into a lay ministry of some sort?

For me it lead me into religious life with the Carmelites.

Now I know many will as what a Byzantine Catholic is doing in a Roman religious order that does not have any Byzantine foundations though we do have a few bi-ritual priests.

The answer is a complex one. I did discern the secular priesthood and diaconate with the Byzantine Ruthenian Church. I met privately with the Metropolitan to discuss my vocation and then later followed up with his vocation director. For some reason they (the Metropolitan and the vocations director) got the impression I was not serious even though I went to Pittsburgh, PA, from Rochester, NY, for interviews with less than a one week notice. Then I applied to the Eparchy of Parma but there was an issue with my application (somehow they claimed that they had only received half of it) also the vocations director there did not seem very interested.

I also felt a call to active religious life. So after the above disappointments I decided to discern religious life. There really is not much active religious life in the Byzantine Church. The two groups I found were the Byzantine Redemptorists in Toronto and the Byzantine Franciscans in the US. The Franciscans are small and are now more parish priests rather than living in community and I got some advice from multiple sources that the Redemptorists would not fit for me.

I found that the Carmelite spirituality resonated with me though a bi-ritual priest who is my friend/mentor. IMHO the Carmelites are the most Eastern of the Western Orders. They were formed in the East.

Hope I didn’t ramble too much.

That’s a cool story. Do you know a Father David Fontaine Byzcath? He’s a carmelite in the US.

He is in my province but I do not think I have met him. Maybe at the Chapter this summer if he comes.

Brother David, what aspects of carmelite formation do you find to be rather “eastern”?

Also, from your experience do you feel “Orders” and their spiritual formations tend to be different in the way slavic byzantine Christianity is different from hellenic? Or are the differences much more drastic?

For me its a feeling I get. I think it has to do with our focus on contemplation and private prayer/mediation as well as community prayer.

That and the place of our foundation, Mount Carmel, as well as looking to our spiritual founders, Mary and Elijah.

There is also the image La Bruna.

Also, from your experience do you feel “Orders” and their spiritual formations tend to be different in the way slavic byzantine Christianity is different from hellenic? Or are the differences much more drastic?

I am not quite sure what you are asking here.

Thank you for your very heart-felt posts, Brother David!!

Certainly, the Scapular of Mt Carmel was bestowed on St Simon Stock at Aylesford at a time when the other Latin Religious Orders there were thinking of having the Carmelites ejected since they considered them to be an . . . Eastern monastic order of hermits.

The scapular is a symbol of the Protective Mantle of the Mother of God - honoured in both East and West.

I once corresponded with Archbishop Raya who said that in the Holy Land there were both Eastern and Western Rite Carmelites.

In terms of Eastern spirituality, the experience of “Poustinia” or the desert together with ceaseless prayer - much like the life of the monastics of the Thebaid - would be the pillars of an Eastern Carmelite way of life.

The original Carmelites wore brown and white striped robes that immediately set them apart from other western religious Orders.

Perhaps if an Eastern Carmelite foundation was to be had, they could go back to that style and way of life.

Alex

While I am perfectly satisfied with my chosen path, and wouldn’t change it for the world, I do at times wonder about the priesthood or monastic life. I wish I had more time for prayer, reading the Scriptures and Fathers, attending the Liturgical and para-Liturgical services, etc. But as St. Therese of Lisieux said, “My vocation is to love,” and if I can’t love God 100% by giving myself up for my bride as Christ does for his Church, then I have no business in a seminary/parish or a monastery.

Dear Sir,

I wanted to thank you for this insight and reflection as it completely meshes with my own experience.

Except that, at the end, you answered a question that has been nagging me for a long time.

I thank and salute you sir!

Alex

Phillip Rolfes quote:

Dear Sir,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I salute your desire to serve God wholeheartedly…and you can do that right where you are.

Are you married? (Yes, I know that in many EC churches one can be both married and a priest.)

To paraphrase Mother Superior to Maria in “The Sound of Music”: “Just because you love [your wife] does not mean you love God any less”.

Even I, as a Latin (as a rule of thumb, one cannot be a Latin priest and married at the same time) think about the priesthood from time to time. But my heart is set on marriage and a secular career (medicine), and I accept our Lord and Master’s sovereign Will that if He wanted me to be both a married man and a true priest of His holy Catholic Church, He would have me born in an EC church. Thankfully, there are means to growing in holiness in all walks of life, not just the clerical or the monastic life.

Praise be to God always!

I know what you feel. When I was younger I am always inclined to say yes when asked about a vocation. In fact, when I was a highschool senior going to a La Salle school, I don’t know why but I told the La Salle brothers I might be interested in becoming a brother. But after a while I decided against it. I guess St. Paul said it best to describe me, “better to marry than burn with passion.” I don’t think I could survive a celibate life. Sexuality is my weakness. At least now I can focus that energy on the one person I can, my wife. But even before joining the Ukrainian parish, I had thoughts of becoming a permanent deacon. Funny though that the Archdiocese of Vancouver launched a program now for permanent deacons, but I’m with the Ukrainian Church. Still canonically Roman though so I can pursue that if I want to. My wife asked me about it one time out of the blue which surprised me. But I have a lot of things to figure out right now, professionally, and with my family I need to support as well. That is my vocation now, to provide for and support them. Maybe in 5-10 years I will think about testing my vocation into the diaconate, hopefully with the Ukrainian Church, God willing.

yes but it was narcissism,unfortunately! size does count for something at least,big sihhhh.

Actually, our Subdiaconal program is really taking off and I’ve been invited to speak to the candidates about saints and such several times! :slight_smile:

I tell them to promote the Jesus Prayer since their “parish priests can’t possibly do everything . . .”

There are some really good, enthusiastic and pious men out there who make very good subdeacons and deacons and add to the vibrancy of the Service of Christ!

If you have a calling to this (and why shouldn’t you?) run, don’t walk to the program right away!!

:thumbsup:

Alex

I’m still giving myself time to really commit to the Ukrainian Church. I haven’t appiled for canonical change, I’ve been going for only 6 months. Although the priest is impressed by my devotion to learn the Byzantine faith and my eagerness to share it.

What does a subdeacon do, really? We have a wonderful subdeacon but unfortunately he’s leaving because of his other vocation, which is his family. I don’t want to get into much details about that as its someone else’s life so I’ll leave it at that. Our parish unfortunately only has one priest and of course the bishop, since its the cathedral. I think there’s only one deacon in the entire Eparchy and I’ve seen him only once since I started attending. He probably belongs to a farther away parish.

I actually entertained the thought of the priesthoodhood. Especially since as a Maronite I can be married and then get ordained. However, that came crashing down when I started to research it. for If I resided in any other part of the world it could be done, but in the United States they’ve adopted Celibecy for all Maronite priests. It’s a Latinization that completely turned me off to the idea of being a priest since I’m going to propose to my girlfirend very soon. If I wasn’t seeing someone seriously, I’d explore it more thoroughly.
Perhaps, the Diaconate though they want the Maronite Deacons to be 40 and I’m 37. i briedfly thought of being a monk, but then I met the woman I plan to marry that eneded that. In the mean time I’ve decided to learn all I can about the Maronite Catholic faith.

You can actually start your formation today and be 40 by the time of your ordination should you be called.

I recall my Filipina wife told me a long time ago that EVERY Filipino goes through the stage of wanting to become a priest because every Filipina mother inspires such a calling.:smiley:

Blessings,
Marduk

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