From the moment you found out you were going to have a son; you probably had many thoughts about what he would be when he grew up. You may have dreamed of playing catch in the backyard to one day watching him in the Major League. All parents I believe pray that their child will grow up to be happy, healthy and wise. If you are checking out this page it is probably because another thought has come to mind; that of the priesthood. You may have many questions and even some concerns; all understandable. It is our hope that we can answer a few questions; share some advice and help you to raise your son to follow God’s will for him.
As a parent you have probably had many different conversations with your children ranging from how school is going to how the game turned out. In each conversation there is a desire to show our children that we are truly interested in their life and where they find true happiness. For many parents the idea of their son having a priestly vocation scares them. They wonder about grandchildren, will their child be happy without having a family of their own, is this for real or just another stage in my child’s life. The list goes on and on, but one thing is for sure; your son will pick up on your reaction to the idea of a priestly vocation.
Things you can do
It can never be said enough that prayer must be at the heart of our lives and our families. It is important for you to pray with your children and express a desire for God to reveal to them the vocation He has prepared for them. It is also important for you to pray about your son’s decision at this time in their lives. If you are a parent who is not at peace with your son’s decision to consider a priestly vocation bring it to prayer and ask the Lord to help you see His will in your child’s life.
It is important to talk with your children about their vocation, which is given to them by God. If you are struggling with the idea of your son being called to the Priesthood talk with your pastor or reach out to the vocation office for some guidance. Don't be afraid to ask your parish priest about how to walk with your son through this whole process. For some children it is just a phase and for others there is a deep stirring that they need to address in their own lives.
To both what your son is and is not saying. Too often we can jump the gun when a priestly vocation is brought up. The Church has a long discernment process and it takes time to know what God is asking of us. Just because he is talking about the seminary does not mean he will be a priest.
Every parent asks the question – How can we afford this? and the Church responds with the generosity of the people in our Diocese. Through Annual Catholic Appeal and many other private donations our seminarians are aided in their discernment journey. Bishop O'Connell, C.M. does not want a young man to not discern the priesthood because of cost. There is an obligation on the part of the individual, but it is within his means. For those discerning the call to a religious community the financial policies vary.
Our culture struggles to see how a person can be happy and fulfilled living a chaste celibate life. Studies continue to show that priests are some of the happiest and most fulfilled people on the planet. That joy comes from a life given over to God and sustained by deep prayer. When a man discovers that God may be calling him into a priestly vocation there is a wonder and awe that is truly divine.
Many parents wonder if their child would be better off going to college or working for a while before they head off to seminary. The life in a seminary is not an escape from reality but a place in which a person comes to know themselves in a more profound way. One does not discern the priesthood and then go to seminary. Instead, a man sensing a call by God goes to the seminary to discern the priesthood. For those who are not called their lives are enriched by the formation offered at the seminary. Time in the seminary is never waisted because no matter which direction God ultimately calls us, this time of formation will only help us grow in our faith and ability to share it with others.
"A priest in the family" by Fr. Brett A. Brannen
Fr. Brett Brannen is widely known as a powerful speaker and an expert in priestly formation. He recently served for five years as the vice-rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.
“My son, a priest!? Won’t he be lonely? What about celibacy? Isn’t he too young? I just want him to be happy!”
These and dozens of other questions and concerns are common among parents of would-be priests. With his gift for storytelling and down-to-earth wisdom, Fr. Brett Brannen addresses a wide range of issues in A Priest in the Family: A Guide for Parents Whose Sons are Considering Priesthood. Like his previous book, To Save a Thousand Souls, Fr. Brannen’s new book for parents is filled with humor, anecdotes, and dramatic stories from his own life as a priest. In twelve short, easy-to-read chapters, he explains priesthood, seminary, celibacy, and how a man discerns his vocation—all while keeping in mind parents’ legitimate concerns. Readers have praised A Priest in the Family as an entertaining read that manages to allay parents’ fears and show them how to support their son, while offering a few laughs and a dose of inspiration along the way.
"Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests" by Stephen J. Rossetti
In his groundbreaking study, Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, the leading American authority on the Catholic priesthood and former director of the Saint Luke Institute, finds that American priests enjoy an extraordinarily high rate of happiness and satisfaction, among the highest of any profession.
Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, a psychologist, professor of pastoral studies, and the bestselling author of books for priests, recently conducted the most comprehensive survey of priestly happiness and spiritual lives ever undertaken.Read More