"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you..."
– John 15:16
“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate” (CCC 1536).
Click here to read more about the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders places an indelible mark on the soul of the man who is ordained and he is “a priest forever.” Through the grace of the Holy Spirit conferred in this sacrament, the man is configured to Christ as Priest, Teacher, and Pastor.
When a man feels that God is calling him to the priesthood, he wants to respond with a generous heart. Not every man is called to serve God as a priest and the man wants to discern if this is truly where God is leading him. Look at the suggestions for discernment in the "Getting Started" section. Conact Fr. Carl Fisette, Director of Vocations, or Fr. Chris Murphy, Assistant Vocation Director, for information and help in discerning God’s will in your life. Prayer, spiritual direction, conversations with the Director of Vocations will lead to beginning the application process for the Program of Priestly Formation for the Diocese of Providence. The discernment that a man is doing to hear and respond to God’s call is also being done by the Church as She listens for the call of the man to the priesthood. As has been pointed out by many people: two people have to hear a call to the priesthood for a man to enter priestly formation and to be ordained. First the man himself must hear God’s call and respond and the Church must also hear that call.
A man is not ordained to the priesthood upon completion of the application! His time in seminary formation is a time of continued discernment and formation in human, pastoral, spiritual, and intellectual areas. A man who is ordained a priest will have completed a master’s degree in theology but academics are far from being the only part of his formation. The amount of time he will spend in formation is dependent on several factors and should be discussed with the Director of Vocations.
If you or someone you know is discerning the Priesthood or another Religious Vocation, please pray. God will reveal His plan for one's life through peace and joy in prayer. For more information on the Roman Catholic Providence Diocesan Priesthood please visit www.catholicpriest.com