Am I Called to be a Parish Priest?
Some people know from an early age what they want to do with their lives. Others need time to think about it, talk to people and pray about it.
Ask yourself this: Is God calling me to live a life for him? Do I have a feeling deep inside that makes me think maybe, just maybe, I need to be helping God's people as a religious person? If your answer is "Yes," then don't you owe it to yourself to experience a discernment process to determine if that is, indeed, a call to religious life?
See what Bishop Robert Barron says about exploring the discernment process.
Discerning in High School
High School can be a great time to consider where the Lord might be calling you.
Here are some first steps.
If you are in high school and you think God may be leading you closer to the seminary, the best thing you can do right now is to make sure you are attending Mass and the Sacrament of Confession faithfully. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives and gives us the daily strength we need to follow the Lord and discern His will for our lives. When we are close to the Eucharist, we can hear Jesus’ voice better. He will teach you how He wants you to serve Him — whether through holy marriage, religious life, or the priesthood.
You may also want to talk to your pastor about serving mass. Becoming familiar with the flow of the liturgy will help you become more comfortable around the altar and will give you a better idea whether or not it is the kind of vocation God is calling you to. This experience will also help you get to know your pastor and other priests better.
Discerning in College
Living out your faith on a college campus is tough, but it can be an incredibly fruitful place to discern where the Lord is leading you!
For a lot of men, college is the first time they ever started seriously considering that God might be calling them to the priesthood. Or maybe you’ve had the idea of a priestly vocation in your mind for most of your life, but now you’re thinking about taking more concrete steps to explore that possibility.
Regardless of your background, college is an excellent time to start taking that call seriously. For many students, learning to live out the Catholic faith on their own for the first time in a university environment can be a challenge, but it can also be a wonderful time for growth and learning to seek God’s will for your life.
Discerning as a Young Adult & Beyond
Just as Peter and Andrew were called away from their nets, Christ continues to call men in the middle of their careers to come and learn to be “fishers of men.”
If you’re a young man reading this page, then congratulations! Chances are, you already have the first quality needed for discernment – an openness to God’s plan for your life.
Frequently, God calls men to the priesthood after they have finished college and have had the chance to live in the working world for several years. As a young adult, discerning and pursuing a vocation to the priesthood can come with its own unique challenges, but the process is basically the same as at any other age.