Lawyer wants to be a Priest!


#1

I need some answers from y'all. I am a lawyer in Dallas. I came into the Church last winter (Feb. 2012) after many years of study. As early as about 1989, when I was 13 or so, I knew that God called me to be a pastor. Long story short, I am now 37, divorced with an anullment, no children, and I want to be a priest. I want this more than anything. Period. I want to serve Christ in His Church. My parish priest is not very helpful, unfortunately. He has told me to just be a good lawyer. Anyway, I know that I will excell academically in seminary if I only get a chance. I will go to seminary wherever. I just want to be a priest for Christ.


#2

[quote="trevor1055, post:1, topic:307769"]
I need some answers from y'all. I am a lawyer in Dallas. I came into the Church last winter (Feb. 2012) after many years of study. As early as about 1989, when I was 13 or so, I knew that God called me to be a pastor. Long story short, I am now 37, divorced with an anullment, no children, and I want to be a priest. I want this more than anything. Period. I want to serve Christ in His Church. My parish priest is not very helpful, unfortunately. He has told me to just be a good lawyer. Anyway, I know that I will excell academically in seminary if I only get a chance. I will go to seminary wherever. I just want to be a priest for Christ.

[/quote]

I think it would benefit you to seek a spiritual director*(S.D)..He would be best suited to advise and monitor your progress in spirituality;so to uncover and discover the layers of your motivation,inspiration,influence,history,etc,...then to assess if you have a vocation?

A word of advice from me - If your S.D. tells you to "just be a good lawyer(which I understand is very rare and the general public could do with one),"be ever so obedient,even if it is against your will,it is by God's representative.If you we're meant to be a priest it will happen even against the greatest of odds without you forcing the issue.

The primary life,function and purpose of a priest is not to dazzle the world with their strengths in academics,but to save souls.All else is secondary.We need more St John Vianneys' in this world.

God bless you,

JMJ


#3

Your priest also may feel you should wait a while, as you are a pretty “new” Catholic. Many religious orders and secular orders will not accept converts until after a certain length of time. I don’t know if there’s a similar rule for the priesthood, but it wouldn’t be surprising. You could contact your diocese to ask about that.


#4

You should contact the vocation director for your diocese first (you should be able to find his contact information on your diocese's website, under "Vocations). All of the information above is good (find a spiritual director, be obedient, be ready to wait a while since you are a new convert), and the vocation director will be able to help you along this process. Once you tell him about your situation, he will be able to tell you if there are any barriers to a priestly vocation, how long you would have to wait before applying, and he could also recommend a priest to direct you, ministry to get involved in, etc.

No matter what God may call you to do, this may give you some of the answers which you seek. Do not be surprised if God ends up calling you to something which you do not at all expect, but in the meantime pursue what is in your heart! May the humble example of Jesus be always before you, leading you to a saintly life of service to the Church, in whatever way God wills.

In Christ through Mary,
Frank


#5

This is just me talking, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Our pastor is a retired U.S. Army colonel who commanded a regiment in one of the sandbox wars (not sure which one). However, he was already a lifelong Catholic. For you, if it comes about, as another poster has already pointed out, it will take a long time. Consider it a trial of your patience.


#6

I would echo that since you are a convert you might be in for at least a little wait prior to folks getting enthusiastic about you being a priest.

And getting top marks in seminary definitely doesn’t mean you will be a great priest. Think of it as being like a doctor or counsellor - book learning is important but more so is what is often called ‘emotional intelligence’ - the ability to sympathise, empathise, lead, counsel wisely, inspire. Also of utmost importance are holiness and a strong prayer life (so frequent confession, communion and Eucharistic adoration are musts) and service.

By the way - here in Australia we have a Jesuit priest, Father Frank Brennan, who is a top-notch expert in human rights law. So it may be possible to combine the law and the priesthood in at least some fashion.


#7

[quote="DaveBj, post:5, topic:307769"]
This is just me talking, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. Our pastor is a retired U.S. Army colonel who commanded a regiment in one of the sandbox wars (not sure which one). However, he was already a lifelong Catholic. For you, if it comes about, as another poster has already pointed out, it will take a long time. Consider it a trial of your patience.

[/quote]

This may be off the subject but in the 19th century there was a lawyer named Charles Grandison Finney who left his practice of law to become an evangelist in the protestant church. He claimed he "had a retainer from the Lord Jesus":)


#8

[quote="LegoGE1947, post:7, topic:307769"]
This may be off the subject but in the 19th century there was a lawyer named Charles Grandison Finney who left his practice of law to become an evangelist in the protestant church. He claimed he "had a retainer from the Lord Jesus":)

[/quote]

I'm a little familiar with Finney. And in our times I'm sure that there are Catholic priests who are also lawyers. I don't have time now, but a little googling should find a few of them.


#9

I had heard that for new converts to the faith, that they had to wait 3 years before being allowed to enter religious life. This was so they could “settle in” to the faith and practice it and learn more about it. Also, 3 years is the cycle of readings (Year A, Year B, Year C) to go through the entire Bible.

I would suggest to obtain a spiritual director, pray, continue to discern, and speak to your local diocesan vocations director.

God bless you!


#10

Often a divorce is considered an impediment to the holy orders.


#11

I would suggest you contact the vocation director for the diocese. Bring your situation to him and listen to the guidance he gives you!


#12

I agree with Elizabeth Anne. That’s what the Vocation Director is for. Be warned, patience and obedience are pre-requisites for formation to orders.


#13

Have you gotten in contact with your diocesan vocation office? Every diocese has one and they have a Vocation Director to help those who are interested in applying to the priesthood.

Your story reminds me a lot of my pastor’s. He was studying to be a lawyer but heard the call early on to be a priest. It took his brother’s call saying he was going into the seminary for him to finally answer his own call. Now, he is the most beloved priest.

Here is your diocese’s Vocation Office information:

Vocations for Catholic Diocese of Dallas, TX


#14

Not if there was an annulment, though. If it was just a divorce, yes, it would be a canonical impediment, but his marriage has been dissolved through a Tribunal. :thumbsup:


#15

[quote="Cristiano, post:10, topic:307769"]
Often a divorce is considered an impediment to the holy orders.

[/quote]

This may be the case, and why the priest gave him the advice he did. In any case, another thing to consider, you could start getting education in theology, canon law, or whatever is of interest to you. Did you know that the founder of Catholic Answers, Karl Keating, is an attorney? He has ran a really amazing lay apostolate and done tremendous ministry to the Church even though he is a layman. Even though he is a lawyer!!!:D


#16

Thank you all for these wonderful comments. I truly appreciate it. Take care! – Trevor


#17

Welcome Home! And best of luck to you as you start to discern a vocation! It sounds as if you may have been called as a young person and managed to stall the Holy Spirit but once you start to listen, the game is over! :smiley: May God bless you going forward!

:thumbsup:


#18

How did this all work out? Did you pursue discerning a vocation?


#19

I changed my “handle,” but … I moved back to my hometown and have started conversations with my diocese. I am also visiting some Benedictine orders. Thanks for your thoughts!


#20

Hope it goes well :thumbsup:


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