It’s a difficult decision to consider the priesthood, but more men consider the priesthood than you know. Below are questions which are designed to help you discern whether or not Christ is calling you to be a priest.
-Pope John Paul II (Asuncion, Paraguay; May 18, 1988)
- Get in touch with the Vocations Office.
- Talk to your parish priest, campus or youth minister, or others whom you trust.
- Pray often – ask God to reveal the plan for you. If you don’t already pray the Liturgy of the Hours you may want to begin doing so.
- Get involved in your parish as an altar server, lector, Eucharistic Minister, greeter, singer, musician, etc.
- Check out our Ten Exercises to Help Figure Things Out.
- Join a discernment group (contact the Vocations Office for details).
It starts with a feeling. It may come during Mass some Sunday. It may be on an evening walk by a lake or forest. You may have had this feeling as you watched a priest touch someone’s life by his words. The feeling is, “Maybe this is for me,” and the thought occurs, “Is that YOU, Lord, calling me?”
You might be surprised how many young men are feeling this possibility in their quiet moments.
There is no better place to explore God’s plan for you than in the silence of prayer on a daily basis. Pray every day, asking God for guidance. Don’t ask yourself, “What do I want to do with my life?” That’s the wrong question! Rather, you should be thinking and asking, “Lord, what do You want me to do with my life?” And, listen for the answer! Listen with your heart, not just your head.
You aren’t the first one to ask these questions! The Diocese of Rochester offers several opportunities to join others who are discerning. The Diocese also offers young men an opportunity to experience God’s promptings for their path in life. It’s called pre-theology, and it takes place over two years at St. John’s Seminary in Boston, MA. St. John’s Seminary is a place to live with other young men who are having the same thoughts that God might be calling them to consider a vocation to the priesthood.
peaceful feeling that one particular path is the one that God has invited you to travel. This path will bring you to true happiness.
- Choose a person whom you feel will best understand your feelings. It’s a necessary and helpful step to confide your feelings to another person. It keeps you from being isolated, with only your own thoughts to guide you.
- Talk to your pastor, a minister in your parish, a campus minister, etc.
- Find a good book on discernment (we can help you with that).
- Contact us and inquire about discernment groups and events.
- More educated than ever before
- Men of fidelity who want to be challenged and encouraged to follow Christ with an undivided heart
- Prayerful and have a love for the Eucharist
- Motivated to teach the truths of the Catholic faith
- Caring men who have a genuine concern for others
- Understanding of the importance of sacrifice and service to others
- Men in Christ, men of the Church, and men for others
- Musicians, teachers, engineers, artists, etc.
If you are at least 20 years of age and have completed 2 years of college, you may want to consider speaking with the Vocations Director about applying to St. John’s Seminary. If you are getting ready to begin college or working on your degree, there are college seminary programs available as well. Sometimes a young man will desire to begin his formation while obtaining his undergrad degree (see ‘Our Seminarians‘ – Aaron Kelly).
Keep in mind the education requirements for entering major seminary:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Minimum 30 hours of approved philosophy courses
- Minimum 12 hours of approved religious studies
- Of course, full initiation in the Catholic Church is also a requirement. That is to say, you must have received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
The pre-theology experience at St. John’s Seminary lasts 2 years. Residents generally take philosophy courses (philosophy is the field of study that helps a person reflect on God; it leads to theology).
Along with these studies, St. John’s Seminary helps one learn to pray. Group discussions help you hear from others about their experiences of God. Spiritual direction with a priest helps each individual find the signs of God working in his life.
Lastly, each student is introduced to a parish where he becomes involved in ministries and activities to see how parish life feels as a possible minister of the gospel.
And, oh yes…it’s free! Room, board, and tuition are supplied by Bishop Matano and the people of the Diocese of Rochester.
Yes! We are sure. Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you.” If you enter St. John’s Seminary open to hearing God’s word to you and if you give yourself fully to the life lived at the college, you will know what your next step in life needs to be. You may discover that God is calling you elsewhere in your vocation. Or you may discover that God is calling you to the next step leading to priesthood (seminary).
Talk to us! Call the Vocations Office (585-328-3210) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll put you in touch with one of our Vocation Directors who can help you with many of your questions and concerns. Remember…you’re NOT signing up; you are inquiring, fact finding. There is no pressure. The Holy Spirit will guide you through this inquiry period.