A Vocation to Priesthood
A Vocation is a gift from God. Our primary vocation, as baptised Christians, is to love. For some, that vocation to love is expressed through the life of priesthood, where a man gives his life for Jesus Christ and his Church in order to devote himself to proclaiming the Word of God and giving life to his brothers and sisters through celebrating the Mass, the Sacraments, prayer, and a wide range of pastoral duties.
Positive signs of a vocation to diocesan priesthood include a single-hearted desire for God and a desire to dedicate one’s life to Him and to serve others in freedom and generosity.
Discerning a Vocation to the Priesthood
How do I know if God is calling me to become a priest?
The Holy Spirit calls different kinds of men, at different stages in their own lives, to diocesan priesthood. A man who feels that God is calling him to be a diocesan priest would need:
- To be a believing, practicing Catholic with a desire to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and the pursuit of holiness.
- An ability to relate well to others.
- A natural interest in other people, and an aptitude to listen.
- Good physical health, psychological maturity and a sense of humour!
- Some work/college experience after school (strongly recommended).
- In most cases to be at least 21 years old. Our usual upper age limit is 45 years.
Key to discerning a possible priestly vocation is prayer; of being open to hearing the voice of God in one’s heart, and being attentive to the signs and circumstances in our lives through which God guides us. It is essential that a discerning candidate cultivate a life of personal prayer and reception of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. It is also greatly helpful if the candidate becomes involved (if not already) in the life of his local parish community.
What happens if I wish to make contact?
The process of discerning a vocation to priesthood involves meeting initially with our vocation directors, Fr. Billy Meehan and Fr. Shane O’Neill. A lengthy period of time is needed to enable the vocation directors to get to know the candidate, and for the candidate to discover more about the life he is discerning. The candidate will also meet with the Bishop during this time of discernment.
If a candidate wishes to apply, he is sent to complete a psychological assessment, which gives the Bishop and the vocations team a better understanding of the candidate’s personality, and of the potential gifts and strengths he would be bringing to priestly ministry.
If his application is accepted, the candidate is sent for an initial propaedeutic course in either Salamanca or Valladolid, in Spain. Upon completing this course (6 and 9 months respectively), he is sent to undertake his seminary formation in either St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth or the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, or elsewhere. His studies will involve a combination of philosophy, theology, pastoral work experience and spiritual formation (prayer and spiritual direction). After five to six years, he may be ordained a deacon, before being ordained a priest the following year.
Get in Touch
Please feel welcome to make contact without any obligation if you would like to find out more about priesthood in our diocese, or to have a chat at any time with one of our vocation directors.
Prayer for Discernment
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me and in all your creation – I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. Amen.
(Blessed Charles de Foucauld)