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FAQ



Seminary and Discernment
Priests' Personal Lives
Sexuality and Celibacy
Parents



Seminary and Discernment



How do I really know if God is calling me? He hasn’t exactly sent me an e-mail or called me on the phone.


God usually calls in ordinary and more subtle ways, such as by drawing a person’s heart to the priesthood out of love for God and the Church. While some might experience extraordinary signs of a vocation, they are not the norm and should not be desired by us nor should we oblige God to act in that way.

I am not perfect. I am not that holy and am unworthy. How could I ever become a priest?


That’s right, no one is worthy or ever will be worthy. But God in His goodness and love, as a sign of His Divine Election calls some to lay down their lives so that others may live. We might say with Saint Peter, “Leave me, Lord for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8), but Jesus will not abandon us. We are to trust in His mercy and strive to live out the holiness of the priesthood. We allow the image of Jesus Christ Crucified to be built up in us more and more each day through prayer and through sacrifice. 

If I am attracted to the priesthood, does that mean I must become a priest?


You have a responsibility to discern the process fully. Ultimately, it is a free choice - God is not going to force you or to condemn you, but he offers the life of the priesthood as he offered complete consecration to the rich young man who was free to leave…but sad. Consider this - the souls that would have been provided for. St. Terese of Lisieux said that we can respond to the Lord with different levels of generosity.

What happens if I have debt?


We handle it on a case-by-case basis, especially since most people have loans from their time in college.

Do priests get paid?


The rewards are out of this world! The faithful support priests and provide for our material needs such as a place to live, food to eat, etc. While you will not be a millionaire if you become a priest, there is not reason why priests should not have a sufficient salary to live.

Do I have to be 100% sure before I can enter the seminary?


No, that’s what a period of discernment is for. It would be akin to courting and dating.



Priests' Personal Lives



Are priests happy?


They have every reason to be happy and bring others to happiness as disciples of the Lord. We possess true happiness only by living out our vocation with fidelity. We can be happy even in difficult situations.

Do priests have friends?


Absolutely, just like everyone else! Many friendships are formed in the seminary and they become life-long. Many are priests that you meet along the way or religious that we work with in the Mission of the Church. A number of priests still keep in touch with their childhood friends and those from high school. Along the way as a priest, friendships will develop with families and parishioners that you come in contact with and serve. You are always a Father to them, but that doesn't mean you can't go to a baseball game with them and cheer for your favorite team.

What do priests do for fun and recreation?


Almost anything that is fun, exciting, wholesome and renews the body, mind and soul: from basketball, to bowling, to going to a baseball game, to reading, to riding roller coasters, to going to the beach, jogging, soccer, biking, skiing, visiting museums, going to the movies, to visiting foreign countries, to spending time with families, to eating out - you name it! But, priests realize that recreation involves the soul, too, and that is why priests take a retreat each year.

Do priests get paid?


The rewards are out of this world! Jesus called the Apostles to poverty and this spirituality can never be reduced to particular groups in the Church's history. All Christians are to live a spirit of poverty and to not be unduly attached to the things of this world. Priests in particular are called to live out spiritual poverty and be an example of it in the Church. The faithful do support priests and provide for our material needs such as a place to live, food to eat, etc. While you will not be a millionaire if you become a priest, there is no reason why priests should not have a sufficient salary to live.

How often can I visit my family as a priest?


Depending on how close they live, you could see your family each week. Parish priest get a day off each week and many use that opportunity to visit family. For other priests, older or sick parents require that they look after them and their needs and parish priesthood affords a certain flexibility in this area.

Do priests get a vacation?


It’s actually in canon law, the official law of the Catholic Church, that diocesan priests are to get a vacation. They take their weeks in any number of ways: with family, with a group of priests, traveling to different parts of the country or the world.



Sexuality and Celibacy



Why can’t priests be married?


In imitation of Jesus Christ who was celibate for the sake of the Kingdom, Roman Catholic priests are chosen from among those who will commit themselves to a life of chaste celibacy. It is a "sign of contradiction" in the world reminding people of eternal life. It allows for an adherence to Christ with an undivided heart.

I like girls. Isn't that incompatible with priesthood?


It is a good thing to like girls. The question is whether God offers you the grace to put aside the intimacy proper to the relationship of husband and wife, in order to take up a type of spiritual fatherhood in which you love a whole parish of people inclusively in a spiritual, non physical way. As a spiritual father, you spiritually raise the untold numbers of children in God’s family.

How hard is celibacy?


For those whom God is calling to the priesthood, he is giving the grace of celibacy. Like any gift it is not passively received, but is to be actively accepted. The virtue of chastity in the celibate state must be built up. This requires effort and vigilance, but it is not done alone; it is done with the help of God.
Jesus answered, "Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."
- St. Matthew 19:11-12

Will I be lonely as a priest?


Solitude happens to everyone. There will ultimately be a space in a person’s heart and life that cannot be filled by another thing or a person, not even a spouse. To prevent loneliness that space must be filled with the search for finding the Lord and seeking His face. It also allows the heart to be purified for service to God’s People.



Parents



My parents and family don't take me to Church, but I want to go. What should I do?


That is an awkward position to be in! Whatever the reasons for your family not going to Church, keep Sundays holy! If you can get a ride with a friend, classmate or neighbor that you and your family trust, perhaps that is the way. One day you might be in walking distance to get to Church or have a drivers license to be able to borrow the family car and drive there. Around Christmastime, children have a way of hounding their parents for all sorts of gifts. Have you ever considered asking persistently, but not in a nagging way, to go to Mass?

What if my parents disagree that I should become a priest?


You should always be respectful of your parents and you must always be faithful to the Lord. Show you parents God’s love. Stay close to Jesus and keep the faith and the vocation alive in your heart and mind.


For more on the road to the Priesthood


Have a question you need answered? Contact Us.

What is the Priesthood?


Get the basics at For Starters.

Am I Called?


Check out Am I Called? and discover the Signs, the Steps, and the Life.