I am very happy to find this blog as a place for parents and other family members to discuss the discernment and formation process.
I have been looking for a place to share what I have learned in the past 2 years. In that time, my son started discerning a vocation to the priesthood (age 17), applied and was accepted to our diocese as a seminarian and started his first year in college seminary (now age 19).
The parents who started this blog have a son who is in formation in a religious community, while my posts will focus on a son discerning diocesan priesthood. By contributing on this blog, I hope readers will have a view of the similarities and differences of the our experience as parents as well as our sons in discernment and formation.
As a cradle catholic, I attended catholic school from kindergarten through high school as well as graduating from a catholic college in the early 80’s. Based on my background, I thought I was fairly knowledgeable on all things catholic. But, I was in for a surprise to realize that what little I did know about seminary, discernment and the priesthood was completely wrong, misinterpreted or based on urban legend.
When my son first told me he thought God was calling him to the priesthood, I had most of the common concerns and objections. You’re too young…. Go to college first… Get some life experience….etc.
Over the next few weeks; it took finding the right resources and a lot of prayer to come to a better understanding of the elements of discernment. By contributing to this blog, I hope to shed some light on these issues and the ongoing discernment process and seminary formation for diocesan priesthood.
I was shocked and saddened to find out that 48% of newly ordained priests reported that they were discouraged from considering the priesthood by one or more persons. This data from CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) has remained at 48% for the 2014 and 2015 reports on newly ordained priests. Remember, these are the ones who actually completed seminary and were ordained! How many others never made it very far without the support of their family? This fact alone has motivated me to find a place for parents to discuss issues and encourage each other during their son’s journey wherever it leads.
I have searched the internet for resources or advice or personal experiences from other mothers/parents of seminarians, but have found almost nothing. Everyone I ask about this tells me it is needed. If we are truly trying to “create a culture of vocations”, then the feelings and experiences of parents and other family members should to be a part of the conversation to open up the exploration of religious vocations in our families.
I welcome your questions and feedback.