Priesthood » Information for Family & Friends

Mutual Sharing and Supporting the development of a Vocation to the Priesthood

A Mother asks “My son has spoken about a vocation. I see his love for Christ and the church. To see the joy on his face when he speaks about it, is truly wonderful. So why do I suddenly feel so frightened of it? I think the "letting go" is more difficult than I thought.”

It can sometimes be a lonely journey for those who are trying to discover what God is calling them to do and the subsequent and path through life. Those who are searching will value the support of family and friends; but these too will have questions and concerns.

We all react in different ways to change and changes that may be happening to our loved ones. The important thing is to try to understand what the person is going through and where they may be headed.

This section attempts to help. Please click here if you have a question or concern

What will I experience?

What will I experience approaching a priestly vocation?

Firstly, you will discover that although the ultimate relationship is between you and God you are not and need not be, alone. There are others who, like you, are also discerning their vocation; trying to discover if they are being called to the Priesthood.

Also, there priests themselves who have trodden their path of discernment and strive to fulfil their vocation as Priests. Many of these will be ready and willing to share their experiences with you and to support you as best they can.

There are similarities with the processes and educational structures associated with entering a profession for life that will take some years. However, the path to priesthood cannot be merely about “passing exams”. Discernment underpins the process and this means that there will be times of joy and times of struggle as we let go and hand ourselves, often cautiously, over to the God who is always faithful to us and who longs for our fulfilment and flourishing.

Please click here » if you have a question or concern.

What will my family and friends experience?

The natural instinct to protect the one you love or care for is always present.

This will bring so many questions and emotions, as voiced by the mother’s concern and a response shown below.

For some, there can be a sense that if a loved one enters the priesthood then you are losing them. In a sense this is true but, if priesthood is God’s calling for that person, then this is what will make them come truly alive and you and they will gain so much more. Sometimes our fears can come from a lack of knowledge and information about the priesthood; this section is here to help so please explore the steps that may lead to priesthood.

Please click here » if you have a question or concern.

You may also find the My Priesthood, My Family document of interest click here » to download

Dear Father,

I have been praying for vocations for years. Especially for a gift of a vocation in my family. My son has spoken about a vocation. I see his love for Christ and the church. To see the joy on his face when he speaks about it, is truly wonderful.

My question is: why do I suddenly feel so frightened of it? I think the "letting go" is more difficult than I thought.

As I prayed for years for vocations, I guess I did not expect to experience these feelings. I have always believed that a religious vocation is a very special one. To be able to love and serve God totally in that special way, is truly a gift.

So why do I feel afraid or even a bit sad? I do not understand my feelings. I have not expressed this to anyone, especially not to my son. I desire that my children always seek God's will for them above all. He is their true Father and His will is the only one that has meaning, as this is where their happiness lies. Please help me to understand my lack of faith.

Dear Melissa,

Your question reminds me very much of one I was asked by a man shortly after he had suffered a heart attack and had been at the gates of death. Against all the doctors' predictions he had pulled through, but nevertheless he was agitated and he explained it like this: "I have always been a practicing Catholic, I believe in heaven; I know my brother, my wife and my parents are there, yet when I felt myself dying I just didn't want to, I held on and fought it. What's wrong with my faith? Why couldn't I let go if I really believe in heaven?"

The answer is not necessarily because there is something wrong, but simply because we are human. God's grace does not obliterate our mind, senses or feelings taking them out of the picture, it simply gives us a supernatural capacity to go beyond them, not to base our actions on them but on the realities we do not see. This oblation is true measure of our faith. We all have our tiny Gethsemane to live, and we are never alone as we do so. God bless.

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