How to tell my parents


#1

Hey everyone. If anyone on here has been paying attention to the people who start new threads, then maybe you’ll known a little bit about me due to my frequency of posting on here. Anyways, I am a 15 year old boy. I am going to be 16 in less than 3 months. Ever since Pope Benedict announced he would resign, my interest in the Church has greatly grown. I went to a Catholic school from kindergarten-8th grade. I always felt comfortable at church. For a good portion of my life since beginning high school I have felt kind of like an “extreme sinner.” Recently I had what I guess you could call an “intervention.” I realized that I didn’t want to sin. Fine. I rethought my life. Now, ever since the Pope resigned I had been increasingly curious about the church, to the point where I would constantly read about it in my spare time. I would read the Bible, search the internet, purchase books about it, etc. The moment I realized that God might just be calling me was a scary moment. I went into denial about it and pushed it off as pure curiosity. The more I contemplated over this possible “vocation” I realized that I was and still am being called by God to become a priest. I feel called to the religious life and to the diocesan priesthood. I am attracted to the Dominicans and Jesuits because of the intellectual life and prayer life they lead. I am attracted to the Franciscans because of their service to the poor, their prayer life, and their intellectual life. I am attracted to the Diocesan priesthood because of the independent life style. Really though, I have come to the revelation that I am more called to religious life. Over all I am more attracted to the Capuchins and Dominicans. Whatever order God helps me decide on I definitely would want to be a priest, not just a brother. I feel like I should tell my dad more than my mom as of right now. I want to tell my dad desperately. I’m scared that if I don’t tell them that they will think I am gay for not entering into a relationship with a woman or showing interest in women. I am also scared what they will think when I tell them I not only want to be a priest, but a Religious Priest. I know this is my decision and when it boils down to it, I will join the order regardless of what they think.

So here are my questions…

-When should I tell them this? A year from now or right now?
-How should I tell them?
-And finally, is it hard to get accepted into an order?
-Can I join right out of high school? That’s definitely the rout I would like to take.

Thanks and God Bless!


#2

I’m a mom of a boy just about your age…so I can only tell you what I would wish from my own son. I wouldn’t want my son to wait a year to tell me something so important! If you wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer…would you wait a year to bring that up? I hope not. I would want to know what my son was thinking so that I could help him in any way I could.

Maybe you could print your post and say “Hey Mom & Dad…I found this Catholic forum and I’ve learned a lot lately about Catholicism. I don’t know how to say this, but I would like you to read a question that I posted there the other day/week…” and let them read it.

I pray that they are open to your vocation and that they will support you during your discernment!


#3

First of all, WOW! that is amazing and exciting that you are feeling such a strong interest in religious life. I am always kind of awed by people who get a call at a young age.

I, too, am a mom to a 16 year old and I agree with the other post that I would want you to share about it! It might reassure your mom and dad to know that the process of becoming a priest is pretty long and involved, so there is a lot of time for you to really discern if this is the right path. I don’t know any of the particulars as I am a new convert to Catholicism, but I know that many monasteries have vocation retreats to help introduce people to the life. Maybe a conversation with a local priest would be a good step.

I am sending up a prayer for you right now.

Blessings,
EJ


#4

Share with them now and include them in your discernment. I am sure they will appreciate that.

It can be difficult to enter some orders straight out of high school. Also done orders (or maybe all) will require a college degree if you wish to be ordained in the order. It all depends on the order though so find some your interested in and pay them a visit!


#5

If you were my son I would be overjoyed . Praise be to God. Share with your parents now so they can support you


#6

God bless you and I will keep you in my prayers! What a wonderful decision. I myself have thought of the priesthood and I’m a high schooler as well.

Blessings!!!


#7

I’d share your thoughts with them and let them help you discern.


#8

#9

Tell them as soon as possible. They can help guide you in your discernment. I will pray for you.

:slight_smile:


#10

First off, congradulations! I imagine it must be wonderful to have such a clear sense of direction at an age when most people don’t even have a firm grasp of who they are, let alone who God wants them to be. That said, I’m curious as to why you would hesitate to tell your parents about this. It sounds as though you’re at least relatively certain that God is calling you into the discernment process, so why wouldn’t you want to share that with them? You don’t necessarily have to announce “Mom and Dad, after graduation I am going to join a religious order and become a priest!” Pray about it, get more involved in parish activities, seek spirtual direction, talk to priests. You’ve got several years before it would even be possible to enter seminary. My suggestion is to just be honest with them about what God is doing in your life, and if and when the Spirit leads you, mention that you feel you may be called to the priesthood and/or religious life. Pray about it, after all, God gave you these parents for a reason!


#11

Is there a reason for your hesitation? Do you think they might not approve? It might be prudent to casually bring up that you are discerning the religious life and would like their support. I strongly suggest getting a college degree as well.


#12

My advice is that you should keep it a secret from parents. It is very common that good Catholic parents try to stop their children. Many have reactions that they would not expect themselves.

I once told my mother that I was thinking about becoming a monk. She has cried and tried to stop these thoughts by all means possible, and she is not a bad person. I have seen this with others also, good Christians who try to discourage their children on this one. It is something natural for mothers and fathers to want their children to be happy, and we are by instinct taught that we become happy from belonging to another human. Celibate life is supernatural, it is somehow not “normal” to want to live without a spouse… This is normally not something intellectual, rather emotional.

There is no reason for you to tell your parents yet. Some even exclude their families during aspirancy. Your father will not think you are gay, especially if you tell him that you think dating should wait until you are old enough to marry (which it probably should).

Your friend in Jesus,
Nils

PS.
Maybe this homily could be of some help.The audiosancto is sometimes a bit harsh and maybe legalistic/semi-jansenistic from time to time, but some of it is really good! /DS

audiosancto.org/sermon/20060903-The-Religious-Life.html


#13

WHEN?
If your parents are supportive: tell them now, don’t wait … Be happy, be disciple of Christ.

If your parents aren’t supportive: …Don’t really know … I’m, for example, now praying, and secretly attending Holy Mass - almost every day, and praying and praying and waiting … My parents will find out two weeks before my entry … Be strong and count on God, He will do what is right … Pray also for me!

HOW? It’s my only way, just in the priesthood I will be happy; I will be happy if I will serve to God …

AND last two questions: Nothing isn’t hard if God is with you. Simple answer … :slight_smile:
And yes, you may join right out of high school.

In prayer with you, in Christ, Our Lord,
brother Attempto

You may send me a PM, if you want :)!


#14

Tell them now. the love and support of your parents will be really really helpful on your journey.

-How should I tell them?

There’s no one “right” way. You need to make it clear to them that you’re not about to drop out of school and enter a monastery tomorrow but are instead just in the early stages of your discernment. You’re parents will obviously want what’s best for you and that includes not seeing you get hurt. So it’s understandable if they might be a little be concerned - especially if they think that you’re making a hasty decision. Again, make it clear that you’re not about to make any major, life-changing decisions any time soon!

-And finally, is it hard to get accepted into an order?

I’m never quite sure what to say when people ask me this question about the seminary. On the one hand, I don’t want to deter people, but on the other I don’t want to make it sound like there’s an open door policy. I guess what I can say is this, entering a seminary or religious order is a major decision and the application process reflects this. The order / diocese’s concern will be to make sure that you’ve though the decision very carefully and that you’re ready to make this decision.

-Can I join right out of high school? That’s definitely the rout I would like to take.

As somebody else says, that’s up to the order. Personally, I would discourage someone from joining and order or seminary straight from school. I know others would disagree with me on that and I respect their views. That said, I strongly believe that there’s an enormous amount of benefit which can be gained from giving yourself some breathing space and time for life experience after finishing school.

Above all, what I would emphasise most is this: be patient! I know only too well that it’s easy said than done but things happen in God’s time not ours.


#15

These are your parents; the people who love you and cherish you most. They will love you no matter what their faith, level of faith, or no faith at all; or at least, they should. You know your parents better than any of us but I’m fairly certain that anyone your age that has the obvious education that you have (Your grammar is amazing for a fifteen year old) will probably be supportive in any other avenue you choose for yourself. Follow your dreams. Do what you think is right. There is still plenty of time to make decisions but if you found a track in life you might like, experience it! :thumbsup:


#16

There are some valid points in this post, but I cannot recommend keeping such an important and huge aspect of your life a secret from your parents.

OP, upon further reflection, the one caution I would urge is that you ponder just WHY you are so eager to tell your father about your discernment for the priesthood. Is it just so that he doesn’t worry that you are gay? Or is it because you believe he and your mother will be supportive? Or do you fear they will NOT be supportive and you want to get it all out on the table for discussion now?

If you have not yet spoken to your priest, I would recommend that you do this ASAP. Ask him how to go about telling your parents about your strong calling to the priesthood. And ask for direction in your discernment. It takes years and years to become a priest, and you will hopefully have support from your parents, but some parents do need a time of adjusting their hopes and dreams to accommodate God’s particular calling for their son or daughter. For example, I would be thrilled if one of my sons felt a calling, but I know my husband would have to go through a grieving period and it would be difficult for him. It would be similar if one of our sons wished to join the military. We would have fears and concerns for him. Obviously the priesthood is not dangerous in the same way, but there are far-reaching consequences to this decision that need consideration.

So OP, I hope that you will take your calling to your priest, and then with his guidance, also tell your parents. I would tell them both together, not just your dad. You can talk to him more about different aspects of your discernment, but tell your mom and dad at the same time.


#17

Pray! Pray! Pray! and ask God through the Blessed Virgin for peace of mind when telling your parents that you are discerning the priesthood.


#18

I think you should bring it up to your parents soon as they can help you answer your questions or get you to the people who can. You might want to phrase it as you believe you are called to a priestly vocation and you want to find out more about it if you are not sure they will be 100% supportive. Otherwise, they may take it as simply a phase.


#19

Keep strong! I converted in high school and was very fearful of even telling my dad that I was becoming Catholic. I am going through the rounds with my dad right now as I prepare to go to the Dominican novitiate. Partly it’s being an only child (and so no grandkids), partly its a lack of understanding since he’s an agnostic. My mom, OTOH, I have to ask to back off because she doesn’t understand discernment is a work-in-progress. Even if it is difficult to discuss with them, ultimately, your parents love you. They may fight you, but they still love you and only fight you because of that love (however misguided it may be).

First and foremost, your vocation is to holiness. That is your primary vocation and everything else should flower from that. Your secondary vocation to a state in life will come when it is needed, but it is good that you are trying to be open and listen to where God might be calling you. Right now, though, your working vocation is to be a student. Be the best student you can be–Opus Dei. Do the work of God, even if you are scrubbing a toilet. Be an evangelized evangelizer to your friends and your family, recognizing that even Jesus had a difficult time in his home town. The more you experience the Spirit working in you and through you, the better you will be able to understand what sort of charism you may be called to do.

I’m biased towards the Dominicans… but from my experience, I would highly encourage you to consider going to college first. Not just because the Dominicans require a Bachelor’s degree (many orders assist with paying college debt), but college can be an extremely important and formative time for you. If you are at a college that has a solid Catholic formation, then you can continue your discernment, transfer to a college seminary if you decide on diocesan, or enter a religious. But at least you are continuing your formation intellectually, socially, and spiritually. My personal thought is that the college years provide important social formation that can be lacking in some seminaries and formation programs. How many newbie priests do you see who seem totally awkward whenever they interact with females? Priests and Religious need to understand what it means to have an integrated sexuality, comfortable interacting with members of both sexes in a chaste and loving way as Christ did. The only way to learn that is to do it… and high school is marred with teenage drama. College is when you mature and begin to recognize a sense of authentic masculinity. Having friendships with both genders is important, especially with people that will support developing this sense of a true Christian friendship.

Check out the Newman’s Guide to Catholic Colleges or evaluate the Newman Centers and Catholic Campus Ministries at schools near you. Find out what orders are nearby. I was fortunate to find Univ of Dallas where I had a solid intellectual, social, and spiritual formation, as well as introduction to lots of different religious (Cistercians, Dominicans, Diocesan, various women religious, Opus Dei, Neo-Catechumenal Way, Fraternity of St. Peter, etc.) And although I was introduced to the Dominicans there, I didn’t find myself drawn to that province. Recognize that different provinces and different groups have different personalities in how they live out their call to evangelize. The joke is that there are only two things that God doesn’t know: how many churches there are in Rome and how many different kinds of Franciscans there are. Consider your practice (what you do) versus your mission. Franciscans are centered on a way of life (poverty, etc.), each group living the spirit of St. Francis in the way they think most fitting, and their apostolic works and mission is shaped by that. Dominicans have a mission (preaching) and their way of life is modeled to fit the mission. It’s one of the reasons why the Dominicans don’t have lots of different Dominican groups.

There are a lot of good resources out there to help you discern. The IVE Press publishes a few good booklets, one of which addresses discussing things with parents. As I am all too familiar with, there is a negative side to discussing discernment with parents or others outside of your spiritual director. Parents, family, and friends hold an impressive sway over a young man, especially one as intellectually attuned as you… and can push someone both towards or away from religious life. It is easy to begin listening to others instead of to God. Reason is a gift from God, but Satan loves to use bits of truth and reason to confuse. (A broken clock is valid twice a day!) If you do decide to discuss it with your parents (and I think you should at some point), ask them for their support and to understand that this is a process of personal understanding. It took several years to impress on my mom that she needed to back off sometimes, instead of asking me why I hadn’t applied yet. It’s not like deciding you want to be a firefighter or a doctor. Discernment continues until the day you take vows or ordination. On the other hand, she had a tendency to recognize when I was growing stale and needed a kick in the rear. Be prudent. One of the friars on PreachingFriars.org, Br. Nicholas Monco (the Harry Potter friar) has a very good story about his vocation to the OP. His parents are very Catholic, but they also had a very hard time with their only son taking a vow of poverty and not continuing the family name.

I recognize a lot of what you are going through as things I dealt with and still do! So, if you can get past my shameless plugs for Univ of Dallas and the Dominicans, I hope my ramblings have helped. Ultimately, God’s will is the only thing you need to be concerned about… everything else is in His hands.

“Be Not Afraid!” - John Paul II quoting Jesus.
“I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it!” Spiering on Benedict XVI


#20

I am also the same age as you i am 15. And i have also felt the call to priesthood at a very young age 13. And the feeling keeps on coming back but I decided i will follow the call and try my best in high school and in college I also don’t no what my parents will say about how i want to be a priest. But i wish you best of luck in your discernment. And i will prey for you you never no what your parents will say. God bless


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