What can I do now?

Hi everyone! I think I may be called into the priesthood, but I don’t really know what to do. Here’s some background. I was just received into the Church this past Easter, but I’ve been a very active Christian for a long time. Ever since high school I’ve felt a call to full-time ministry (its been about 4 years since it started). It’s varied in its intensity but it’s never gone away. In high school I spent 3+ days/week at my church either participating or volunteering with the middle school kids. My old youth pastor even helped me get a job as a middle school intern at a sister church last summer. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a job like I enjoyed ministering to those kids.

However, I was always really good at math & science in school and I ended up in Mechanical Engineering in college (I’m half-way through the degree now). I like it well enough, but I just don’t think it’s my lifelong calling. I’m currently in a program where I get to alternate school and real engineering work until I graduate, and it’s allowing me to graduate with zero debt and a full year of real world experience. I read that my diocese want’s you to be confirmed for three years before they’ll send you to seminary, and I’m currently set to graduate in May '15. It seems like it can work out, but not for a while.

Right now, priesthood is all I can think about. I’ve bought more books than I can read. I even find myself here and other places on my phone during my breaks at work reading about different religious orders, saints, or listening to mp3’s of Bishop Fulton Sheen. I just can’t think of a more fulfilling way for me to spend the next 40+ (hopefully) years of my life than actively living out the Gospel every day! The other day the priest at the campus ministry at my university was telling me about how he spent his morning driving across the county to bring communion to an old man who hadn’t been to church in years, but wanted to start becoming active again. What went through my mind as he said that was “Wow, I can’t think of anything I’d rather spend my morning on! I want to do that!” For me, the thought of being able to administer the sacraments, preach the gospel, and serve the poor/needy makes me want to get up right now and call the vocations director!

As I mentioned, though, I won’t even be eligible for a while and I’m determined to finish my engineering degree, since I’ve already made it this far (and the scholarship money will go away ;)). My question is: what can I do now? I really want to do some sort of volunteer work, especially with youth, but I currently work 40 hrs/week+commute, leaving me very little time other than the weekends… Also, I only know like 2 people at the parish near my parents’ house, so I don’t know if it would be weird to just show up out of the blue and ask if I can help. What should I do now? Thanks!

It doesn’t really matter that you don’t know anyone in your parish yet, if you do work in the parish then you’ll get to know people! As a priest you’ll end up in plenty of places and situations where you don’t know anyone but have to dive in anyway so it’ll be good practice for you. Even if you can’t give that much time, even a little of your time can be invaluable.

And you can contact the vocations director for your diocese anyway. They may have discernment groups or other suggestions about what you can do in the meantime. It couldn’t hurt to let them know you’re interested.

God Bless you

Thanks you!

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