In the one life God gave you to live, you have one overriding purpose, to fulfill the will of God, because this is the key to your true destiny, eternal happiness.
Have you felt a certain stirring in your heart that you know you must investigate further? Has someone asked you, “Have you ever thought about being a priest?” or “Have you ever thought about being a nun?” You want to put God first in your life and find out what his plan is for you but you don’t know where to begin.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on discerning God’s will that will give you some additional insight into your true vocation.
If you can’t find the question you wanted to ask, don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Vocations.
What is a Vocation?
In the simplest terms, “vocation” means a “call.” So, in general terms your vocation is what God calls you to do with your life. Everybody is called by God to know, love and serve him. The difference is how each one does this. Individual vocations vary between being single, married, consecrated, religious or a priest. However, we usually use “Vocation” to mean a call to the consecrated, religious or priestly life. That is what we do on this website, but the principles and much of the advice are also applicable to the married and the single life.
God gives each one of us a particular mission in life. As we grow and life progresses, he makes it known to us, usually in indirect ways, more as an invitation than an imposition. Discovering and ultimately following your vocation gives the greatest glory and praise to our Creator. It is what we were meant to do.
“Take up your cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34).
God tells us an amazing thing: that even before he created us he knew us and called us. However, this does not mean that we always automatically know for sure what we are called to do in life. God reveals his will gradually, we can always make a mistake and we can even say no to him. Fortunately, God always takes us where we are and so our concern should be only where does he want me to go from here, and not anguish over the past. God is always with us as long as we keep close to Him through prayer and do our best to live up to His will in the present moment.
This website wants to help you and support you in discerning your vocation, and we will focus especially on the consecrated, religious and priestly vocations.
What is a priest?
A priest is a man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which confers on him certain powers of Christ, principally the power to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and the power to forgive sin in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. When he does these things he acts in the Person of Christ.
What is a diocesan priest?
A diocesan priest is one who is called to serve souls in a particular diocese. The Bishop has been placed by Christ as the head of that diocese, and the diocesan priest serves in obedience to and collaboration with him, serving mostly in parishes. On a practical level you can say that the Church “runs” on diocesan priests serving in their parishes. They administer the sacraments, they are responsible for the instruction of their people, they are close to them in their lives and trials, they counsel, forgive and serve constantly, heroically, patiently.
What is religious life?
The people who live religious life are called “Religious”. Religious seek to follow Christ more closely by publicly professing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in a recognized religious order, giving public witness of their consecration by wearing a religious habit, and they live in community.
There are religious orders or communities of men and of women. Women religious are nuns and male religious can be either priests or brothers. Religious communities often refer to themselves as “religious families”. Each has its own Founder and mission, and its own “family spirit” or spirituality. That is why if you are considering religious life it is necessary to get to know particular communities.
What is a religious priest?
A religious priest is a member of a religious community who has received the Sacrament of Orders. He is under the authority of his own superiors, and he serves the local diocese through the works of his order or congregation located there. However he is not limited to serving in one diocese but can be assigned elsewhere by his superiors. Everywhere he serves he does so with the permission of the local bishop. Some religious priests serve in parishes, but the majority have more specialized apostolates, such as education, retreats, communications, etc.
What is lay consecrated life?
Lay consecrated are people who consecrate themselves to God through promises of poverty, chastity and obedience, while still remaining lay people. They are usually associated with some group or Movement. As lay people they remain “in the world” and often exercise careers while giving a priority in their lives to prayer, witness and service.
What is a consecrated virgin?
From the beginnings of the Church there have been those who felt the call to consecrate themselves exclusively to Christ in a private manner. In recent times there has been a revival of this vocation, by which a woman makes her private consecration in the presence of her bishop.
What is contemplative or monastic life?
The contemplative dedicates much time to prayer each day, lives mostly in silence and also is dedicated to manual labor. There is a great tradition in the Church of both female and male monastic and contemplative life. Their hidden prayer and sacrifice is of major importance for the overall good of the Church.