Vocations View: What Does it Mean to be a Candidate for Holy Orders?


by Kevin Mues, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian

Five years ago when I first told friends and acquaintances that I was going to begin my seminary formation, I was met with laughs, puzzled expressions, and even one, “You’re never gonna make it.” Happily, that prediction is proving to be erroneous. Seminary formation involves many hours of personal soul-searching as well as conversations and instructions from other men who have answered God’s particular call to the Catholic priesthood. Many hours of prayer, reflection, study and spiritual direction have brought me to this point in my life. God has been with me throughout my discernment process and has brought me to where I will soon be admitted to Candidacy for Holy Orders.

Becoming a Candidate for Holy Orders means that I will stand in front of the bishop and declare that I intend to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders and be ordained to the transitional diaconate and then to the priesthood. It is a special time because it acknowledges that through prayer, study and discernment of God’s will in my life, I have decided to move forward on the path to ordination. It is also the bishop’s acceptance and affirmation of my continued work in seminary formation.

In its most simple form, it is me standing up in front of God, the bishop, and the Church and saying, “Yes, I want to be a priest.” It’s a formal declaration of the desire that’s been in my heart since I first started praying and considering the priesthood as my vocation. The best comparison I can make for this is an engagement before marriage. When a couple gets engaged, they are saying, “I want to enter into this sacramental union with you for the rest of my life.”

Admission to Candidacy means that I am stating my intention to enter into a sacrament and my serious commitment to follow through with the formation process. It is a public expression of my continued walk with Christ toward Holy Orders.

Candidacy is a personal call to me to continue to seek God’s will in my life and a reminder that priesthood is not a vocation for the individual but a vocation that is lived out for the entire people of God. I am so excited to have reached this point in my journey. I can’t wait to begin my lifelong service to the people of the Diocese of Shreveport. Please continue to pray that I am prepared here in seminary to be the best priest and servant of God that I can be.

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