A Christian disciple expresses their faith, hope and love through living as a consecrated person, an ordained minister or a lay person, in the married or single state. Within these ways of life, God calls people to many different kinds of work, ranging from paid work to care of family members. The distinctive way that a person integrates their discipleship, their way of life and their work is their unique Christian vocation.
How do I know
if God is calling me
to be a priest?
A single Catholic man who wants to be a disciple of Christ, who lives a Christian way of life and who works fruitfully may well be called to the priesthood. He doesn’t have to be a hero nor does he have to feel completely at ease with the idea of being a priest. He must simply believe that God calls people like him to be priests and open his heart to the Holy Spirit. A good first step is to speak to a priest or join a discernment group.
A man can apply to be a priest of a diocese (becoming a priest in a parish in his local area) or of a religious order (for example to become a Dominican or a Salesian priest posted anywhere to carry out the mission of that order). This section describes what’s involved in becoming a priest of a diocese. Go to www.ukreligiouslife.org.uk to find out about becoming a priest in an order.
The man considering formation as a priest asks to meet the vocations director of his diocese and begins a process of discernment. The discernment process from first enquiry to entering seminary typically takes two years and this careful process reassures the candidate that other people share his sense of God’s call. The bishop makes the final decision about a man’s suitability. The process of formation before ordination takes up to 7 years (older men may follow a shorter programme). Formation involves not only study and skills development but also a deepening of discipleship.
How do I go about applying to be a priest?
A candidate for the priesthood lives in a seminary which is both a house of discipleship and a house of study. He receives one to one spiritual direction while also developing practical skills in preaching, pastoral care and leadership. He studies philosophy and theology and will go on placements to parishes and schools, hospitals and care homes. There are various stages in this process when a candidate’s progress is assessed but he may freely leave at any time. Ordination as a deacon occurs after 5 or 6 years, followed by priestly ordination a year later.
a good priest is
always a miracle
Hans Urs von Balthasar
What is discipleship?
To be a Christian leader a person must first learn to be a follower of Jesus, not from a distance as on Twitter, but by growing close to him. Nobody can be a priest who has not first become a disciple by following the way of Christ in daily life, by imitating his merciful actions towards those in need and by listening to his voice in prayer.