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Signs of a Priestly Vocation

Signs of a Priestly Vocation

Praise God that you’re considering the religious vocations. You might feel pressure to jump in and figure things out right away, and that’s okay, but know that discernment is a process that takes time.

The most important thing at this stage is to start talking to a priest so that you don’t have to figure things out alone. Please know that talking to a priest doesn’t mean that you will become one.

How do I know God is calling me?

If you have ever thought about being a priest, these qualities may be clues to a future priestly vocation:

1. God has placed in your heart a desire to be a priest. If Jesus has placed a desire in your heart for the priesthood, no matter what your age, don’t ignore it. Talk to a priest you admire about how you feel.

2. You have a deep love for Christ and His Church. A priest functions in persona Christi capitas—in the person of Christ, head of the Church. Thus a man who wants to be a priest must love Jesus Christ above all else. And like Jesus, he should have a deep love for the Church, the Bride of Christ. In general, a man who wants to be a priest will find himself drawn to Church teachings and “all things Catholic.”

3. Other people have mentioned that you would be a good priest. Often other people will notice a “priest’s heart” in a young man and say to him, “Have you ever thought about being a priest? I think you’d make a good one.” In fact, many men report that they grew tired of people making such comments—but that the encouragement eventually led them to seminary!

4. You desire to live a life of virtue and prayer. Pope Benedict recently spoke about what people expect of their priests. To paraphrase, he said that people do not expect priests to be experts in anything but the spiritual life. Thus, a good candidate for the priesthood attends Mass, prays frequently, receives the sacrament of Confession, serves others, and strives to grow spiritually.

5. You want to help others grow closer to Christ. A priest brings Jesus to people and people to Jesus. For this reason, a man who wants to be a priest must have a deep concern for the people of God. He wants to help them grow in holiness; he wants to teach them the truths of the faith; he wants to minster to them during the trials of life. The vocation of priesthood is about leading others to heaven.


Am I Called FAQs [Accordion]

First, be sure to pray – make sure to set time apart in your day to share with God what is on your heart, especially when it comes to your thoughts, feelings and desires around seminary and the priesthood. Then, sit in silence and allow the Lord to respond. If you remain faithful to this, the Lord’s voice will become clearer, and you will be able to have more confidence in knowing where the Lord is calling you.

Secondly, be faithful in attending Mass on Sundays, and make an effort to go to daily Mass as well. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life – and the celebration of Mass is especially important for a priest and his ministry. Remaining close to our Eucharistic Lord as you discern is essential. Also be sure to make frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Not only are these sacraments important sources of grace, but they are also profound moments of priestly sacramental ministry that will be helpful for you to engage with as you discern.

Lastly, reach out to the diocesan Vocation Director. Regularly communicating with the Vocation Director will allow him to discern with you, and to figure out what the best steps are moving forward for you in your particular situation. He will also be able to give you more resources to help you as you discern together.

The first step is simply to look at your own desires for your life. If you have a strong desire to live out your faith in a profound and concrete way, that could be a good indication that the Lord could be calling you to be a priest. If you find yourself with a desire to celebrate the sacraments of the Church, that could be a good indication that the Lord could be calling you to be a priest. But for many who have discerned a vocation to the priesthood, their confidence that God was calling them to the priesthood grew over time. Before entering seminary, you may not fully know if the Lord is calling you to be a priest. But what is most important is that you become aware of the areas in your own heart where you are attracted to the priesthood. Any feeling of a ‘nudge’ or ‘tug’ on your heart to enter seminary is another good indication that the Lord may be calling you to be a priest.

When we discern, we are trying to discover God’s will for our life – that is, how God is calling us to live in response to his love for us. The way we are called to live is our vocation. It is the particular way in which you are called to live the Christian life that you received at your baptism. Everyone is called to be holy; everyone is called to be a saint, but we all have different ways of getting there.

Every vocation is about serving others. God made us for this reason. He desires that we love others more than ourselves and live selflessly. This is the secret to happiness. This is holiness.
To Save a Thousand Souls, Fr. Brett Brannen

Discernment is the process by which you discover God’s will for you. Through prayer, conversations with the Vocation Director, and service in the Church, you will be able to see more clearly where the Lord is calling you to make a gift of yourself to the Church and the world. It is through discernment that one can confidently say ‘yes’ to God’s calling, whether that be priesthood, religious life, marriage, or single consecrated life.