I am a young Catholic struggling to find his vocation. I do not wish to join the priesthood, as it was forced on me when I was younger. I feel strongly called to have a family, but also serve God in some formal way. I take this as He is calling me to be a deacon. I am also struggling on what career I should take. Everyone puts down my goals, and I'm starting to listen to them. What do I do???
In the words of my deacon, "you have to discern whether your vocation is marriage first, and only after you are married can you discern whether you are called to the diaconate with your wife"
The discernment process to be a deacon is shared 50% between the husband and 50% by the wife. The man is discerning to be a deacon, but his wife is discerning to be a deacon's wife. A deacon's wife has a lot of responsibilities, and does a lot in the parish... so since you're single now you need to hold off on thinking about being a deacon. First you have to discover the vocation of marriage! :D
All that being said, there are other "formal ways" in which to serve the Church. Obviously there is the Religious Life. And there are Third Orders of Religious congregations in which married people can take part. If the Diaconate or Third Orders aren't for you, then of course you can always be a very involved lay person.
The key thing is that you say you are **STRONGLY CALLED**** to have a family.** If that is your call, then I'd focus on that: think about a job you'd like and be good at. And start looking for a wife!! ;)
Perhpas a spiritual director can help you with your discernment process. With your committment to your faith, I am sure that you will find ways of directing any work that you do to the glory of God. And there are so many different directions you might take. What sort of work do you like to do? what are your strengths? What strengths do you feel called to develop further?
Ongoing Catechesis and formation will be useful wherever you go. You can serve God formally as a Deacon, but also as a lawyer donating services to the Church, Social worker ministering to God's children, Teacher sharing the Faith, Accountant serving on a Pastoral Commission...and as a parent, raising your children to love and serve the Lord. You may find that the ways you are called to serve the Lord change over time. May God continue to bless you and your good work! Amen.
look into the Secular Franciscans and other lay vocations in the church. I was professed as a Secular Franciscan April 15,2012 and I can answer any questions on the Franciscan end