WHY DO MEN BECOME PRIESTS?
We see the presence of Priests in the Church and, like many things in life that we take for granted, we rarely think about where they come from or how they get to be priests.
Many Catholic boys do at some time or other wonder about the priesthood – and probably for most it is one of the passing stages in wondering what they will do when they grow up. For others, it is a seed that lodges in fertile ground, and as they grow older they will desire to find out more about the possibilities.
It is good that every Catholic boy should ask himself whether Christ is calling him to serve the Church in this ministry.
The reason why men choose to become priests is ultimately because Christ is calling them. The way He calls them, and the paths by which they come to Him will vary hugely, but the priesthood is always a response to God’s initiative, His calling. As He said to Simon Peter: It is not flesh and blood that has revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven.
But we should not be put off because we think we’re not holy enough, or because we haven’t experienced any sort of vision. The work of discerning a Vocation to the Priesthood is the work of looking for Christ’s call – and that can come, as it so often has, from what might seem the most unlikely people!
What does a priest promise ?
At Ordination he makes promises that, with the grace of God, he will live up to.
Celibacy is of course one of these. Often thought of in a somewhat negative light, celibacy in fact is what frees the priest from other ties so that he is better able to serve the people entrusted to him. In a sense, they become his family – hence we call a priest ‘Father.’ Celibacy is not about living alone. It is not about a bachelor life. It is about being free to serve others. We can be confident that God will support those he calls in this way.
Obedience is also promised to the Bishop and to his successors. This obedience is not simply doing-as-you’re-told. As Christ’s mind was one with the Father, so priest and Bishop should work together for the good of the Diocese. It is the duty of the priest to seek harmony in relationships with his bishop and with his people. The promise of obedience is one of the things that helps us to do this.
Service The priest also promises to serve the people of the parish(es) in which he serves by carrying out his ministry faithfully and by the example of his life and work.
Visit the official Catholic Vocations website: http://www.ukvocation.org/
Visit UK Religious Life: http://www.ukreligiouslife.org/
Diocesan Vocations Directors: Fr Pat Cleary and Fr Michael Collis.
Fr. Patrick Cleary
St Laurence’s Catholic Church, 91 Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 1XB, Tel:01223 704640
Fr Michael Collis
Cathedral House, Unthank Road, Norwich, NR2 2PA. Tel: 01603 624615
Promoting vocations to the Priesthood, Permanent Diaconate and Religious Life within the diocese.