To be precise, a man only “knows” he is called when he is ordained! However, there are many positive signs that can point to a vocation, and which can help a man make the decision to enter the seminary and continue along the path towards the priesthood.
Quick Discernment Tool
Now that you are here and no one is watching or listening, read these statements to yourself, take them to prayer, then act on what you know is right. God knows, you may be called to the priesthood!
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is important to me.
People have told me I would make a good priest.
I’ve hidden vocation material under my bed and in my desk.
Going to Mass and Adoration is a very important part of my faith life.
The thought of becoming a priest keeps coming back over and over again.
I’m afraid to tell my friends and family that I’ve been thinking about the priesthood.
I feel called to give more of myself to others.
After hearing the readings at Mass I think about how I would preach.
I have a burning desire to help people get closer to Christ and to know the Truth.
I have a strong sense that what I have planned for the future is not what God has planned for me.
If some of these statements reflect how you feel, if your heart is pounding even harder, if you sense a greater desire to find out if God is calling you to live in black and white, get in touch with the Vocation Director. Have no fear, the Lord wants only what is best for you – and so do we.
To enter the Seminary in Australia (while each Diocese may be slightly different here is a brief action Plan). Contact your local Vocations Director – see map. The Vocations Director is usually a priest who will help you with a pathway way or Vocations roadmap – this will include spiritual director, discernment weekends, monthly meetings with other interested men, prayer, adoration, ministry experience in Mass or parish, Discernment House.
The Seminary life in Australia runs from February to November each year. So intake is February therefore the entry process will begin formally about October. This process includes, psychological interview, medical tests, formal meeting with your Bishop, Seminary Panel, and formal acceptance only by your Bishop. Your Vocation Director will direct this for you.
Seminary Life in Australia
When formally accepted into a Seminary by your Bishop entry is about second week of February. The student begins 6 and a half years formation in spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral life of a priest. In some Seminaries of Australia students live in purpose built houses which make up the Seminary Proper. You are required to cook, shop, and clean for yourself- good practice for the rest of your life. The student is given an adequate stipend while living in the Seminary and his medical, education, and room and board are all paid for by the student’s Diocese.
What is the Seminary Timeline?
Again while each Seminary in Australia may be different here is a brief outline of the 6-7 years. Propaedeutic Year is first year – a spiritual year and introduction to the life of Seminary and priesthood. There is some academic formation in this year and the learning of Ecclesial Latin. Then 2nd -4th Year is further formation in the 4 pillars and the undertaking of a Bachelors of Theology. A student will do a retreat each year and participate in various human, pastoral, and spiritual workshops. During this time the student will formally receive the orders of Lector/Acolyte. Then in 5th Year a full year on a pastoral placement – living and working with a priest in the field. Upon return to the Seminary Proper the student is already undertaking a Masters of Theology and preparation for priesthood – preaching, sacraments, pastoral theology, and other disciplines. The student will also receive candidacy and formal preparation for Holy Orders.