Who is Parramatta Diocese looking for as Priests for Christ and his People here?
God’s agenda – our task
Of course there is much in common across many Dioceses and Religious Orders in terms of what they hope for in a Priest. And then there are things more specific to the charisms, needs or environments of different groups and places. The bottom line though, is that the call to Priesthood is God’s agenda! But we have a task as individuals considering our vocations – and as people supporting those individuals (on behalf of Bishops and Superiors). That task is to pray, look and listen for the best shape God’s call and truth may be taking for our lives in the service of the Gospel.
To be sure?
Summing that up, Parramatta Diocese (in common with many others) values more the attitude that ponders; ‘this could be God’s call for me’ than the one which says: ‘I definitely know this is God’s call for me!’ How seemingly good it would be to have absolute certainties. Most Seminarians and Priests will confirm that it doesn’t happen that way! But what if you have had various niggles, thoughts and really good energies about a priestly vocation? And further, what if these have been mixed with some questions…or hesitations… or moments where it’s a bit weird or wavering or you just don’t know for sure? That’s when you inquire! Inquiry doesn’t mean that priesthood is necessarily for you. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’re signing some dotted line! It does mean that you’re ready to move to a next step of direction and clarity for your life! So do yourself a big favour and give the Vocation Director a call.
Some of the qualities
We’ve said that it’s God’s agenda. But in the task of praying, looking and listening for God’s possible Priests, there are various measures to help. Once in the Seminary, the growth and formation will focus on the four broad areas of one’s human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. So without attempting a whole list under each heading, let’s just ask a sample question or two, prompted by each of those headings, that would be relevant to considering if someone should become a Seminarian. Here are just some:
- Does this person relate positively and with interest to others?
- Does this person have a self-awareness regarding his personality, friendships, struggles, strengths, desire to grow etc?
- Does this person have an established belonging and Sacramental practice within the Church?
- Does this person value prayerfulness as something central?
- Does this person seek to learn?
- Does this person have a capacity for tertiary level study?
- Does this person have a spirit of service for Christ?
- Does this person have empathy?
And specifically, qualities for Parramatta?
What about things more specifically in relation to Parramatta Diocese? Well, the Diocese has people of a great diversity of cultures and backgrounds. Whilst many suburbs in the Diocese are very settled, there will continue to be huge residential growth as well and the opening up of whole new communities. We are the second fastest growing Diocese in the country. And the proportion of younger people in the population will continue to be higher than in most places in the country. The birth rate is and will continue to be higher than in most places. Parramatta Diocese hopes for young men of faith, hope and love, who appreciate these aspects of this place and its vibrant future, to step up for Christ and his People and listen for the call of Priesthood. Whilst there’s no absolute age barrier and each applicant is considered individually, there is a general hesitation here to begin men for priestly formation who are over 40. But inquiries from those over 40 are certainly received.