Priests minister in many ways to many people.
They are pastors of parishes;
Chaplains in hospitals, jails and schools;
Teachers and professors;
Advocates for the poor and homeless;
Guardians and counselors of troubled youth and children;
A priest may choose to work in particular area, under the local bishop.
These priests are called diocesan priests.
They promise to live celibate lives and to be obedient to the directives of their bishop.
Other priests choose to become members of a religious order or congregation, sharing in the common life and ministry of it.
They solemnly promise to live the vows of POVERTY, CHASTITY and OBEDIENCE.
They serve under the direction of their major superior, generally in one of the various ministries of the order.
If you feel called to the priesthood, you must discern how you want to live that call. Do you feel called to diocesan or RELIGIOUS PRIESTHOOD?
And if you are interested in religious life, you must find a congregation which offers the spirituality and ministerial opportunities best suited to you.
Each community, like each vocation, is unique.
Discerning a personal call to priesthood …
How do you know if you have a call to the priesthood? What are the signs? What do you do?
Regular prayer and reflection is the key component of any important decision. Walking with God allows you to better understand how the Lord is working in your life, and through you with others. Prayer offers a strong anchor amid the doubts and fear that can come with any difficult decision.
Spiritual direction is also a powerful means of discerning the Lord’s call in your life. A spiritual director will help you “put the pieces together” so that you can better understand where God is leading you. Spiritual direction encourages you to live a deeper spiritual life, faithfully responding to the Lord.
A discernment retreat can also be very helpful. Many dioceses and religious congregations offer a variety of retreats and other programs designed to aid in vocational discernment. Retreats offer practical help many need to help focus their feelings. It can help you to understand if you desires are genuine and realistic.
Making a decision …
In the end, the decision is yours. Others can help, but only you can decide if you are truly called. The Lord respects our choices. God never forces, God only invites. It is up to each of us to take time to pray, reflect, and to discern. Humbly we say YES to the Lord’s call, relying on God’s strength and gifts.
You have blessed me with many gifts and talents.
Grant me the wisdom to know
how best to use them for the glory of your name.
Jesus calls, “COME FOLLOW ME.”
I want to follow him and be faithful to my call.
Help me to see in myself what you see,
and give me the courage to follow wherever you may lead.