Vocations Corner: Seminary is a Time of Discernment

by Fr. Matthew Long

Many people think that once a young man begins seminary formation or a young woman begins formation with a religious community that they will become a priest or a religious sister. The reality is that formation is primarily a time of discernment.  It is a place either in a seminary or a house of formation where they can truly discern the will of God.  It is here as they go about their work and prayer that they can determine whether or not God is calling them to priesthood or religious life. This is not an easy process and it often requires more courage for a young man or woman to discern that they do not have a call than it does for them to remain in formation.

Brandon Rice, one of our seminarians, after prayer, discussion with the formation staff at the seminary and with me has decided that he should step out of formation. It has not been an easy decision for him and it has required great courage on his part. He has the full support of his diocesan brothers, the formation staff, the vocations office and the bishop in making this decision.  I ask that you continue to pray for Brandon as he begins a new chapter in his life and that you offer him your support as well. Brandon will no longer be a seminarian of the diocese effective November 1, 2014.

The men and women who discern that they do not have a vocation to priesthood and religious life should be recognized for their courage. They are important to the formation process because they prove that it works. It is an encouragement to those who continue to discern in the seminary and houses of formation. It is an assurance that all of us should be listening intently to the voice of God to follow where He leads. Please continue to pray for our seminarians and for other young men and women of courage to step forth to discern God’s will in their lives.

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