When should I contact the vocation director?

I will be graduating high school in 17 months. I am certain that I want to go to college seminary. I have had regular spiritual direction. Can I contact the vocation director now?

I would say it would not hurt to contact them now. Maybe there are programs for men who are still in high school, and they may have a spiritual director who is trained in discernment who can help you further.

You can also find out what they would recommend that you do if they will not discuss the possibility of you having a vocation until you graduate… And make sure your own pastor knows of your intentions, and get involved in your own parish, if you are not already.

If you feel like you should then do it.
For me, I thought it was too early after my conversion to the faith that I contacted the vocation director, but it turned out to be a good time so I have just over a year to prepare for religious life and know the community.

I doubt it would hurt, but there’s just the chance it’s premature. Do you have a spiritual director? If yes, I’d ask him if he thinks it’s the right time. If no, I strongly advise you to find one.

Vocational directors are great people, but the great benefit to having a personal spiritual director is that they will be advising you based solely on your needs and what’s best for you.

Of course. As a high school junior, you should be making college plans now.

Umm… how does now sound?

Some dioceses require applications for the seminary to be made as much as six months ahead of the intended starting date. Others are more flexible and can (at a push) accommodate applications as late as a month or six weeks before. However, the application process does take time and the vocations director will normally expect you to have been in touch with him well before submitting your application - basically, they’ll want to meet you and generally get to know you first. You should also make sure that your parish priest is aware (if he’s not already) as seminary applicants are expected to be involved in their parish community.

I guess the bottom line is that it’s not too early for you to make contact now and, if anything, the earlier the better.

As others have said, now is the best time. They also may be able to tell you of other non-mainstream programs to help you in your discernment.

An example of this is if you are a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout. The Catholic Committee on Scouting offers a special program to young Eagle Scouts that may be discerning priesthood a special free trip (not including transportation) to Philmont Scout Reservation in New Mexico. The trip involves 12 days on the trail hiking with a priest in your group. Daily Mass on the trail and things like that. It is usually only available to about 2 scouts per council per year but most people don’t even hear about it.

But in summary the vocation director can tailor things to what you are going through now and give you advice based on your personal experiences.

Our diocese has weekends for high school boys who might be considering the priesthood. The bishop usually stops in and the vocation director talks to the boys. Call the vocations director as your diocese might have something along these lines.

The Diocese of Buffalo does this as well.

You can contact the vocations director at any time along your journey… That’s what they’re there for. :shrug: Often, people contact them after some time in discernment, but they can also help those just starting out as well.

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