Below are some common questions to vocations, discernment and the priesthood. Click the questions below to get the answers!

 

How do you define vocation?

How do you define “vocation”?

A vocation is a call from God to do something specifically for God and for His kingdom. The primary vocation of every person is to be holy! It is the divine calling to love and serve God, to obey His commandments, and to cooperate with Christ in the work of redemption by loving and serving others. But we are all called to a secondary vocation as well, a “state in life” in which we are to be holy.

What are some of these secondary vocations that I might be called to follow?

What are some of these “secondary” vocations that I might be called to follow?

Many people are called to the vocation of marriage, but it is an error to automatically assume that this is your vocation. One may also be called to the vocation of the priesthood, to the religious life as a sister or brother, or to the diaconate. Finally, some are called by Christ to the single state. Remember: It is normal to desire marriage and family. Just because you have this desire does not exclude the possibility that you have a vocation to the priesthood.

Can I be happy in my life if I do not follow God's plan for me?

Can I be happy in my life if I do not follow God’s plan for me?

If you do not follow the vocation for which God made you, you can attain a certain degree of happiness in this world, and still attain salvation (go to heaven), but you can never be as happy as you might have been, had you followed your proper vocation. This is why it is so important that you discern correctly. Of course, there are trials and tribulations in every vocation. To become a priest does not take away all suffering. But there is great joy in laying down one’s life for Jesus!

How do I know what God is calling me to do?

How do I know what God is calling me to do?

You must pray every single day, asking God to reveal His plan for you. Do not ask yourself, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” This is the wrong question! Rather, you should be thinking and asking: “Jesus, what do You want me to do?” And listen for the answer! The primary area of revelation is the heart. Listen with your heart!

The discernment process in the priesthood must also include the Church. The local bishop is the one who ultimately decides who is and who is not called. He is assisted in this by the Vocation Office and the seminary. This whole process is called “discerning one’s vocation.”

If I am attracted to the priesthood, does that mean that God is calling me to be a priest?

If I am attracted to the priesthood, does that mean that God is calling me to be a priest?

Possibly, but not necessarily. A man must pray a great deal, listening with both heart and soul to know what God wants him to do. But if you feel some attraction at this point, just continue to pray, go to Mass, and live a Christian life. If you are living a Christian life, Jesus will let you know when the time comes. Also, go talk with your parish priest or with the vocation director. Try to come to the diocesan-sponsored retreats and discernment nights. The vocation director can help you determine if God is calling you to the priesthood.

What happens when you finally find enough courage to actually contact someone about your interest in the priesthood?

What happens when you finally find enough courage to actually contact someone about your interest in the priesthood?

Does the vocation director call you every day to badger you about becoming a priest? Do you get put on a mailing list? Will your friends or your mom find out?

Not at all! Feel free to call confidentially, and ask any question you like. Give as much or as little information about yourself as you choose. It’s a normal part of a vocation director’s job to talk to guys at all levels of discernment.

Lots of men inquire about the priesthood, and for a number of reasons. A small percentage are seriously interested in applying to the seminary. Many are just satisfying their curiosity. Others are inquiring about what a particular diocese is like.

If you feel a nudge from God to do something about your attraction to the priesthood, take a step in faith!

I'm not all that holy. Can I still be a priest if I'm not very holy?

I’m not all that “holy”. Can I still be a priest if I’m not very holy?

Holiness (to be like Jesus) is a lifetime endeavor for every person in every vocation. Don’t worry if you don’t see yourself as very holy right now. God will form you slowly, day by day and week by week, so that you will be ready to be His instrument when the time comes. But for now, use the sacrament of Penance at least once a month. Repent of your sins, receive the sacraments, and pray every day. You will be surprised at how Christ-like you can become!

Will I be lonely if I become a priest?

Will I be lonely if I become a priest?

Loneliness is a part of every vocation, at one time or another. It is part of the human condition. Married people get very lonely at times, even though they are surrounded by their spouses and children. Priests are always surrounded by people. This is one of the joys of being a priest. We are involved with people at the most profound moments of their lives: birth, Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion, Marriage, and death. We don’t have enough time to experience loneliness often! But when we do experience loneliness, Jesus can fill that void, as He does for people in every vocation.

What does a priest do?

What does a priest do?

The purpose of a priest is to bring people to Jesus, and Jesus to people. He does this primarily by preaching the Word and offering the Sacrifice of the Mass. His daily life involves administering the sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation, the Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony (Holy Orders is reserved for bishops to administer)—and caring for the people in their daily needs.

Is it easy to become a priest?

Is it easy to become a priest?

No, it is definitely not easy! A man who wants to become a priest must go to college for four years, with at least two years of philosophy. After graduating from college, he must go to a seminary for another four years to earn a master’s degree in divinity. Most men go to school eight to ten years after high school, before they are ordained a priest! But do not let this discourage you. God always gives us the grace to do what He asks us to do.

Are most priests happy in their vocation - in their lives and in their work for Christ?

Are most priests happy in their vocation – in their lives and in their work for Christ?

Most priests are extremely happy in their vocation! The life of a priest is a very rewarding life, both in this world and in the next. The media often gives an incorrect impression of priests… that they are largely unhappy, frustrated, and angry. This is simply not true. A recent nationwide poll was conducted of priests and 87% report being very satisfied with their vocation…..the highest such statistic of any profession!

Can priests do anything they want for recreation and fun?

Can priests do anything they want for recreation and fun?

A priest can do anything he wants for recreation, as long as it is consistent with the Christian life. Many priests play golf, basketball, softball, scuba dive, and engage in other sports. Others enjoy movies, plays, and reading. Some like to hunt, fish, and every other imaginable entertainment!

Do priests get paid?

Do priests get paid?

Priests do not get paid in the sense that people in the business world are paid. Because a priest does not have a family and because he lives a simple life, he does not need a lot of money. However, priests do receive a salary, which provides him with enough money to buy the necessities, to buy and maintain an automobile, to take a vacation, and to do normal recreational activities. Also, priests are given free room and board by the church for which they work, so their expenses are minimal.

Is the daily life of the priest interesting?

Is the daily life of the priest interesting?

There is never a dull moment in the priesthood! It is a great challenge but it is also extremely rewarding. When a priest goes to bed each night, he can say, “Lord, today I spent myself for You.” What a wonderful thought with which to end one’s day! The priesthood is both interesting and fulfilling because people are so interesting. But these people need more priests very badly.

Why can't priests get married?

Why can’t priests get married?

Catholic priests in the Latin Rite do not get married so as to dedicate themselves completely to Jesus and to His people. Priests generate “spiritual children” by bringing many souls to Christ and helping them to grow in holiness so that they can one day live forever in Heaven. The sacrifice of celibacy (not getting married) is a sign to the world that only Jesus can give us the happiness that we all so crave. Giving up something as important as marriage and family is a powerful sign to the world that Jesus Christ is real! He is worth living for and sacrificing for. No, it is not easy, but neither is marriage. The fact is, every vocation requires great personal sacrifice. And there is great joy in sacrifice when it is done for Jesus and for others! As one priest said: “It is true that no one will ever call me ‘daddy.’ But thousands call me ‘Father.'”

Will priests ever be allowed to get married?

Will priests ever be allowed to get married?

It is possible that this law of the Church will one day be changed. If the Holy Spirit wants this change, He will affect it through the Pope and bishops of the world. However, it would be a grave mistake to go to the seminary “expecting” this change. That would be setting oneself up for a big disappointment, should it not happen.

Don't you think more men would become priests if they could get married? Wouldn't that solve the priest shortage?

Don’t you think more men would become priests if they could get married? Wouldn’t that solve the priest shortage?

Perhaps more men would choose the priesthood, but the question is, “Would this be what is best for the Church?” As said above, celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom is a powerful sign that Jesus is real and that He is worth living for, sacrificing for, and dying for. Besides, in the world as a whole, vocations to the priesthood and religious life have dramatically increased in the last thirty years. In Africa, they increased by 394%; in S. E. Asia, by 152%; in Central America, by 165%; and in South America, by 253%! It is only in the U. S. and in Western Europe that they dropped by 60% and 13%, respectively. The problem is not the requirement of celibacy … there is something else going on in our nation and in Western Europe.