Hello. I am 16 years old and a Junior in high school. Since the end of Freshman year, I have felt a strong sense that God wants me to be a priest. It is something that I think about every single day. The only people that I have told about my thoughts on my vocation are my friends, two of my teachers who are priests, and my mother (who I assume has spoken with my father on it). Recently, I feel that my friends are excluding me from things because they know that I am thinking of becoming a priest. For example, a few days ago, a friend of mine asked me a question but then she hesitated because she thought she was not allowed to ask said question because of what I am discerning. I also feel that my circle of friends is keeping things from me because they know I am thinking of becoming a priest. Two of my friends are atheists. One is very supportive of my discernment, while the other regards it as rubbish because he dislikes the idea of priesthood (and religion in general). Both of them are baptized and confirmed Catholics but, of course, reject that because of their atheism. I don’t know what to do because I assure my friends that they can talk with me about anything even if I want to be a priest. I don’t know what else to do. If you could offer some advice, that would be appreciated. God bless.
Yep, it sounds rather like high school, if I remember correctly. It’s probably a good idea to be more discreet with your potential plans, considering that there’s not much you can do about them until at least after high school, and more likely after college. I’d keep it among parents, teachers, counselors, and clergy for the time being, particularly because, especially in youth, we often have strong inclinations to pursue a course of action that never take root. When and if the signs of vocation take firm root, and this becomes evident to those advising you, might be the time to be a little more public about your plans.
It is interesting you say that. For a long time, I did not tell many people. I still am very selective on whom I decide to tell. I consider it to be a private thing.
That’s peculiar of them. Do you have any idea what sorts of things they would keep from you and why they do not consider these good things to say to a potential future priest? Are they crass sorts of things or something? I’m in college, and I have some non-Catholic friends who swear a lot, and more often than not, they’ll suddenly stop and be like, “Oh, am I swearing too much! I hope I haven’t offended you!!” And I’m just like, “Guys, I’m a big girl. Just because I don’t swear doesn’t mean I can’t be around it.”
Please don’t take it the wrong way but I don’t think you have the best attitude. You have accepted that vulgar behaviour is normal. But you don’t have to debase yourself to that level. God bless.
At age 16, you have a long way to go before you have to make any commitment, so be at peace!
Most are accepted to the seminary only after graduating from a four-year college. Even after 3 years of advanced studies in the seminary, men are not ordained unless accepted into ministry by their diocese bishop. Your focus right now should be on your health, your studies, and developing your moral compass. Your goal should be to become a well rounded, righteous individual.
Your friend’s reactions are natural. As a priest, you would be set apart from the rest of the community. You will be taking on a fatherly role towards everyone you meet. Your closest friends will be brother priests, rather than parishioners. It can be a lonely and difficult position at times.
The person to speak to is your diocese’s vocation director. He will be in the best position to advise you on how to proceed. He will likely urge you to move slowly.
Agreed. And you are not even obliged to tell parents either if you think they would pose an obstruction. There is a time and place for everything including telling of your personal desires that are ultimately between you and the One who might be calling you. Obstacles that we have to overcome are sometimes placed in our way without us causing unnecessary obstructions for ourselves.
Don’t tell anyone about vocation discernment would be my advice, it’s hard enough discerning without family and friends trying to convince you not to be a priest.
You are allowed to keep it a secret and only tell parents if you need to.
I’ve spoken with several Priests myself on this sort of thing, being of a roughly similar age.
Being a convert, the one thing that does stand out is taking your time. If you go 20ft straight away, its likely you’ll overwhelm yourself, fall down in a big way and ruin your faith.
Baby steps are the key!
From the Seminaries I queried:
- Most require work experience or college/university education before they accept you.
- Some will accept you with neither but may be more wary.
- Just debts paid-for (no debt), sometimes university “Hex” debt as we have in Australia is permissible, and part of the Priest’s salary is to contribute towards paying this off.
You can choose how open the discernment you have is. If you are up against a lot of anti-religious folk, then its something to determine for sure BEFORE you start announcing it to everyone. However, don’t be ashamed of your faith, either.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s how people will always act around you. It doesn’t matter if you tell them you want to be a priest or not, people can sense it. Once you get older you’ll meet more mature people who won’t be “afraid” to be themselves around you. You’ll also mature and realize that people are people and there’s a barrier ( in their minds) between people who don’t become priests and nuns, and “regular” people. It’s an imagined barrier of course, because priests are people just like everyone else and they have their faults as well as we do and they also need close friends and a caring circle of people just like everyone else. Basically, your friends aren’t mature but you shouldn’t worry about it because everyone grows up eventually.
In the meantime, you can definitely tell people around you. I mean, it’s a big thing and if you’re serious about it and it’s not just an idea fluttering in the wind, then you have nothing to worry about. BUT if you’re telling people just to hear what their opinion on the matter is, then it means you aren’t sure about it and are looking for answers from others on what to do with your life.