So, I'm engaged...and I think God is calling me to priesthood

I have been with my fiancee for over five years now; we are high school sweethearts. Ww first started dating when I was seventeen, about six months after I was confirmed, though Ihad already fallen away from the faith.

About a year and a half ago, I had a powerful reconversion to the Catholic Church. During that time, a little voice in my heart reawakened, a voice I had not heard–or, rather, did not pay attention to since childhood–a voice that told me to consider becoming a priest. I come from a Navy family. When I was a boy, my mother often volunteered as an ombudsman–a liason between the command and families–for the commands my father was stationed with. At one time, when she was an ombudsman for the USS Abraham Lincoln (CNV-72), her office was across the hall from the base’s Catholic Chaplain’s office. I recall spending many hours in Fr. Kloak’s office asking questions and learning about being Catholic. Throughout my childhood, I can recall being interested in receiving Holy Orders, whether as a priest or as a deacon, some day.

Now, after I fell away from the Church as a teenager, Caitlin and I started dating. She is not Catholic. But as our relationship matured, and each of our relationships with God matured, I started talking more and more about marriage within the context of Catholic adulthood, rather than the fairy-tale-esque manner often bloviated about in romantic comedies, which we had discussed in the past, during our, shall we say, “un-Christian” years.

But that voice, which had reawoken with my returning to the Church, is now too loud to ignore. Caitlin and I had a candid conversation the other night about what I am feeling–the desire to be a priest. I am not sure if I am really being called. As a 23-year-old, and one who is fairly self-aware, I know that it could be a part of my heart having some cold-feet type thoughts about the grown up relationship that Caitlin and I have discussed. But, then I go back to that desire that I had felt as a boy, wanting to become a Catholic priest.

This was been the long way around to me asking: is there anyone–namely anyone who has been in a similar situation, feeling called to priesthood, but in a serious relationship–who would share with me their vocation story? It doesn’t matter if you ended up entering the seminary or not, or if you are still in the midst of discerning…

Thanks very much for having read this much–too-long post.

you can marry and still become a Catholic Priest, just not a **Roman **Catholic one.

Fr. Michael Winn was engaged some time back. He’s the rector at Holy Spirit Seminary in Ottawa, Canada. There is contact info on the site if you wish to chat with him…

He is an Eastern rite priest, not married.

Aquila Lucis,

Being a young Catholic woman, I cannot directly relate to your situation. But I can offer some advice as I was on the receiving end of your personal situation.

First, make sure Caitlin understands to the best of her ability what you are actually trying to figure out. You said she isn’t Catholic, so it is important to explain the discernment process/calling you are contemplating on.

Also, since this calling of yours to the priesthood is a reawakened call, I think you should seriously dedicate your time–especially in regards to your prayer life–to emptying yourself so that God’s Will can fully penetrate your own will, thus becoming one. Now, I’m not saying to break things off with Caitlin; in fact, that would be quite a hindrance in this whole process. She’s been such a big part of your life for the past several years, after all. Sometimes, solitude apart from the Body of Christ is the best way to achieve communion with the Body of Christ.

Now, I pose related question to you and anyone else who can provide me some insight: I am developing feelings (romantic…I’m not sure…) for a male friend of mine who is in the seminary. I’ve been in a similar situation with a guy discerning a call to the priesthood, but never with someone already studying the priesthood. All these feelings and hesitations are overcoming me, and I ask that you give some advice on how to continue with this friendship.

Regards in Christ,

Please start your own thread instead of asking this question on the OP’s thread.

Do not encourage a relationship, as you describe it, with a seminary student. Your friend should discern whether or not he is destined to be a priest without the temptation of a female friendship. If he decides the priesthood is not for him, then you may be able to resume your friendship and see where it leads. He could resent you in the future if he gave up his religious calling in favor of a relationship with you, and then regretted his decision. That would leave you in a very bad situation. Better to just back off now and let him determine his future freely.

Bro i’ve heard many priest stories (and even know 2 priests) who were actually engaged and just months before their wedding they felt that the Call to the Priesthood was too great and had to end the relationship and follow God instead.

I encourage you to continue to pray as much as possible! God will give you an answer!

Trust me… I know :thumbsup:

God Bless (and in my Prayers)


There should be a vocations director in your diocese; your pastor should be able to tell you how to contact him :slight_smile: I hope he’s as nice as the one in our diocese who came and substituted for our pastor when he was on vacation.

I know men who have felt the calling to be a priest in the middle of their engaged.

One of them went back and forth on his engagement until he realized it came down to love. He was given an opportunity to become a religious and priest to share God’s love with other people. He’s a Benedictine now, a more pro-active kind of his order.

Another dragged his feet in his engagement before he thought about how he wanted to die. What did he want to face God as near his death? He chose becoming a Carmelite friar.

A spiritual director of mine in NM dated a lot of women. He realized he was called to love, yet he couldn’t bring himself to marry, however. Someone asked him to become a priest, and he did.

My Rome Program Director, when I was a student in Italy, shared with me his story. He knew his financee for a while. They were both religious people and decided to give God a chance - one went into the seminary and the other went into religious life. They tried it out, to discover they didn’t have a calling. They rejoined afterwards and married.

One of my professors went into the seminary - he studied for a number of years before quitting to marry. He shares, find what brings you close to Christ. Ultimately, whether you are a priest, seminarian, or a secular, it’s important you cultivate that intimate relationship with Christ.

The friend of that guy was stuck at 27 or 29, not able to make a decision. He tells his friends, “Yeah, I got to make a decision, sometime soon.” He’s stuck in nowheresville.

I discerned five years before discovering it ultimately comes down to a choice. You make one. You decide whether or not to take that step, to contact a spiritual director, to get to know him, and express a desire to enter a seminary or a monastery. If they let you in, you’ll know. Trust me. It’ll feel right, or it’ll feel horribly wrong.

This happened to me. The guy I was dating said he thought he might have a calling to the Priesthood. I (nicely) broke it off with him. I felt he needed some time on his own to sort it out, and see if he had a vocation. I didn’t want to be the reason that kept him away from a true calling.

However, we weren’t so serious that we were thinking of an engagement, so your case might be different.

Remember too that marriage is a vocation, something God call’s us to. God cannot call you to marriage and to the priesthood (assuming you are a Western Catholic); his will for *you *must be either one or the other. What’s left to you is to discern which.

The good news is, no matter how hard that discernment may turn out to be, that once you *have *a clear sense of what God’s mission is for you, then you will be able to pursue it with all your strength, heart, and mind.

Until that discernment is complete, though, it’s an open question. One you should pray about (daily), and take steps to answer. But don’t worry about what the fallout is from answer A or answer B until you know which one it is you actually have to deal with.

It’s much easier to deal with the actual consequences of a known fact than it is to deal with the potential consequences of two 'maybe’s.

Aquila Lucis,

I was seriously dating a girl and talking with her about marriage before God called me to the priesthood. That said, I think you need to consider a few things I recently mentioned in another post on this forum:

You need just 2 things to discern God’s will for you, and the Good News you already have one of them to a sufficient degree:

  1. Prayer, aka intimacy with God
  2. Freedom of Heart, aka the freedom to say, “Whatever you want God I’ll do it. You want me a priest, awesome. You want me married, fantastic.”

That second one can be pretty tricky, and next to impossible when you’re romantically “attached” to someone else. There are lots of things that can be useful, starting with continuing to keep your prayer life solid and frequent Mass/Confession. It could also be good for you to talk to a priest.

What to do about the girl? If it’s possible, do what you can to take a step back in the relationship without being too weird about it. How do you get the strength to do that? I recommend reflecting on Matthew 19:29

“And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.”

To me that means that if you do take a step back, God will:

  1. Give you 100 times more joy as a priest
  2. Give you a girl 100 times better to be with
  3. Make your relationship with this girl 100 times better than it is now

if you just give Him a chance, ok? Awesome!

I hope this helps. You will be in my prayers.

God bless,

Fr. Scott Kallal, AVI

P.S. Infomercial guy voiceover: “Act now and get this limited time bonus: eternal life!” Jk, that offer never expires.

I respond to you as the mother of a priest. I am also in a parish whose priest was married, had a career, and is the father of three children. Needless to say, he was ordained later in life.

Seek out the vocations director of your diocese post haste and speak to him or her.

One can enter the seminary without being sure of a calling to the priesthood. In fact, the seminary is the best place to discern such a calling. You will be among other like-minded men and faculty who know the process, the struggles, and are there to support you no matter what you decide about the priesthood, religious life, marriage, or single life.

Putting your present relationship on hold is no easy task but necessary if you are truly on the fence. Sooner is better than later.

A wholeness, completeness, and harmoniousness comes over me when I have chosen the path that is part of God’s plan. If I am not at peace, it is a sign to reassess.

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