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Think you would make a good priest? Need to know more? Some answers.

How do I know if I am Called?
The vast majority of people take several years to know God’s call. You know that you are being called by time, prayer and action (get involved in your parish, attend Mass frequently, receive the Sacraments, read the Bible and other spiritual resources regularly, learn about Church history and the teachings of the faith, perform acts of service and try to live a good, moral Christian life).

Ask yourself these questions (from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops):
- Does your relationship with God sustain you, enliven you, and invigorate you in such a way you want to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others?
- Do you have a desire to serve others more?
- Is the work you do in weekly ministry more fulfilling than your 40-hour work week?
- Do you feel called to give more or be more?
- Do you long for more?
- Do you find yourself searching the Internet for information regarding the priesthood or consecrated life?
- Does the idea of becoming a brother, sister, or priest keep coming back time and time again?
- Do you have a sneaking suspicion you are on the brink of a major life decision?

Answering yes to these questions may confirm that you hear the call to discern your vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.

I want to take the first step. What would that be?
You can talk to your parish priest or curate. Or contact the Vocation Director at the Vocations Office of your Diocese (in Calcutta Archdiocese, Fr. Gregory Monteiro, Archbishop's House,+91-33-2247- 9338). We are only interested in ordaining guys to the priesthood who are truly being called by God. It is in everyone’s best interest to help a guy like you truly discover what it is God is calling you to do with your life.

When is it time to enter seminary?
It is better to enter the seminary sooner rather than later in the discernment process. Since the seminary specializes in discernment and formation, getting into the seminary is going to best help you arrive at an answer. Too often, we remain stuck in thought and fear; motion is needed. Of course, you must have graduated high school and you can only enter into the seminary in the fall. I pray to God for direction but don’t seem to get help. What’s up? God doesn’t usually use thunder and lightning when answering prayers. The Lord answers in gentle, quiet ways, so first, pray for the love of God to be in your heart. Pray for the grace of holiness. Invoke the intercession of our Blessed Mother. Be patient.

What if I don’t feel worthy?
Every Priest struggles with the awareness of his own sinfulness, especially when considering the awesomeness of saying the words of consecration during Holy Mass or giving absolution. Don’t worry. None of us is worthy of this. It is the Lord who makes us worthy. Humility is an important quality, so if He wants you to do this, if He is calling you, He will give you abundant graces to fulfill the call.

How often does a priest have to pray?
Everyone should have a bit of daily prayer, though a priest has a great responsibility in his daily prayer. He needs to be praying himself because people will be coming to him to help in their daily life with God. He also needs to be praying for his parish; these are the people that he is morally responsible for in leading them to God. The priest will be saying Mass on a daily basis and visiting the homebound and sick. He is also required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which consists of the office of readings, morning, daytime, evening and night prayer. So praying is a large part of the day. The Church has a number of prayers that it requires of the priest along with their own daily time for prayer. Is prayer always easy for you? One must develop a habit of prayer so that it takes place. We are very good about scheduling our classes, work and fun in our calendar, but we are careless in not scheduling time for God. Since God is not found on our calendars, we can find ourselves struggling and frustrated by the lack of our time with God.

What is the process of entering the seminary?
The process can be a bit intimidating, but you are not alone during the process! Applications are required for both the seminary and the diocese. Letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, work/school history, family history, sacramental records and an autobiography are necessary. A doctor’s physical examination is required. Most importantly, the Church requires psychological examinations as well. This examination is quite lengthy and very comprehensive. Obviously, the Church relies on the expertise of professionals to assist in determining the suitability of a candidate. But, in addition, the experience will also help the candidate grow in self-knowledge which is important for maturity and spiritual growth.
Also there is no direct admission into a Major Seminary such as Morning Star College - all applications are made and recommended through the respective Bishops and Minor Seminary authorities.

When is the decision to be a priest final?
Talk to any seminarian or priest and they will tell you that seminarians remain in active discernment. The decision is not final until the Bishop lays his hands upon your head at your ordination. That can be eight years (if you start seminary without previously acquiring a degree) or six years (if you have already completed undergrad work). A man must also consider his responsibility he has toward the good people of God who are supporting him with prayers, hope and financial contributions. If he does not believe God is calling him to the priesthood, he should abandon the seminary and move on with his life. Otherwise, there is plenty of time for formation and maturation. Transparency and openness with one’s spiritual director, vocation director, rector and bishop, will ensure your decision is authentic and of God.

What if I already have a College degree?
Many men today have three-year undergraduate degrees (and, in some cases, masters-level degrees) in disciplines outside the liberal arts. Because Theology or “Major” Seminaries require a minimum number of undergraduate credits in philosophy and theology , men enroll in a Theology or “Major” Seminary and complete a preliminary priestly formation program termed “pre-theology.”

For more information or if you have any additional questions, please Contact the Rector.

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