Hoping someone can help me decide how I can more seriously serve the church. I am a college student and convert to Catholicism from atheism. (As you might guess I’m passionate and I love the church!)
The priesthood is just obviously not a good choice for me, because I am a gay person struggling to accept celibacy. Working on it as I should be but I’m just not mature enough to begin seminary now. I’m looking for something that uses my talents (I am the founder of a drop in program for senior citizens and a student of theology), and I find the usual cantoring and stuff leaves me unsatisfied. Any ideas? How can I get my foot in the door with churches to see if there’s anything I can do for them long term?
And FYI, I am studying philosophy but working on a career in journalism.
Check out the “sticky” at the very top of the vocations forum on “Secular or Third Orders”.
First of all, the pope’s recommendations about gay men and priesthood only apply, I believe, to diocesan priesthood, not to religious orders. (Correct me if I’m wrong). Second, depending on your interest in ecumenism and the Charismatic renewal, there are other options I could recommend you look into.
You could also join a full-time mission program, something like Hope Clinic: hopeclinicinternational.org/. Or otherwise work in the nonprofit sector.
Also, considering your intro, I wonder if you have heard of the site Spiritual Friendship? Highly recommended.
Perhaps you can instead get a graduate degree in theology and then teach. Masters degree generally qualifies you for high school, PhD for all of the above and university.
There are a few really good PhD (or STD if that’s your thing) programs in the USA, many of them funded. That is, if you can get in. I assume you live in the USA.
I personally don’t see why being gay would in any way be a hindrance in this particular pursuit. Also, as the above poster mentioned, you can also become a member of a Third or Secular Order. However, this is not typically a job, but sometimes I suppose it could be. I think we all need a spiritual anchor in our lives.
Some orders have religious brothers. These aren’t priests, but they serve in other ways. Just a thought. Oh, and the secular and third orders might help you along the way. You can learn about whatever the order is all about. Part of this will depend on what third orders have meetings in your area.
I second the recommendation about third orders.
If an Opus Dei center is near you, you also might check them out. It’s a ministry tailor-made to help you grow in holiness wherever you end up working.
If there is a nearby monastery, such as a Benedictine one, you might look into becoming an oblate - much like a third order - attached to that monastery. The idea would be to live out their Rule to the best of ability in your own life.
As a fellow convert I understand the zeal for serving the Church. It’s wonderful that you’ve come home - welcome! I guess the main thing to say about vocation is that your principal duty is to be holy, and whatever is going to help you do that is, at present, the best service you can render to Holy Mother Church.
Excellent suggestion. The Rule is a powerful instrument for growth in personal holiness and inner transformation. When an oblate the monks pray for you and you for them. Do not underestimate the power of those joined prayers.
There are a lot of options out there, including missionary work, helping out at food banks, becoming a youth minister, becoming a volunteer teacher or even volunteering to do yard work at the parish. Any of these things can help you find a ministry that you would be good in, and even work that will be your life’s fulfillment.
Journalism: write articals for your parish bulletin, write Catholic Register, create media for catholic conferences, EWTN, I believe in Philidelphia they are starting a. New catholic TV, radio …
I remember hearing that it’s lowering the dignaty of a person to call them “gay” because this boxes the individual into reducing themselves to their sexuality. It’s when you turn to getting to God that we see our talents blossom. Our sexuality is in reality a small part of our whole personhood.
Does calling oneself “black” box one into reducing oneself to one’s race?
I never felt the priesthood was the Big Kahuna; always felt the nuns and sisters with their organizations were doing more appealing work.
Check out being a brother or friar. Check first the standard religious orders: Dominican, Franciscan (although there’s such a plethora of Franciscans, it’s pretty much catch as catch can), Benedictines, Jesuits.
If I’d known (and had much developed in terms of religious knowledge and sense) at an earlier age, I’d be strongly interested in pursuing this kind of thing. There’s much to be said for it.
You mention that you’re studying journalism; why not consider working for a Catholic newspaper of magazine? We surely need many devoted to an excellent and orthodox Catholic press. This could, moreover, be an excellent launching-pad into writing your own books and publishing.
Moreover, many have recommended third order, confraternities, and secular institutes. I’d heartily recommend looking into some of these and seeing if you’re drawn to any of them.
Young man, the Catholic Church has so many branches of service to choose from. Many have suggested here already. I shall pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you in your journey.
Celibacy is hard for everyone, most people are too weak to accept it.
Sometimes it is things we do outside of Church and the Church that make the biggest difference.
Then it’s clear whoever said that doesn’t understand what sexuality is and is not.