Although any information on this page about vocations is relevant and of interest to all who aspire to be a follower of Jesus Christ, it is mostly aimed at those in the parish who may be thinking about priesthood or who knows a friend or family member who needs encouragement to become a priest.
Most of the information is taken from the Archdiocese of Liverpool's website. Please check this site for any updates..
Is Jesus Inviting You?
The Archdiocese of Liverpool has a long history of selfless and holy priests who responding to a call from Jesus Himself have served the Church. Their lives of service have brought the light of the Gospel and all the joy of Christ into many peoples lives, leading those men to personal fulfilment and holiness. In our time, as in every age, the Church needs generous and courageous men to offer their lives as priests in the service of His Church, preaching the Good News and celebrating the Sacraments for His people.
Could He be asking you to be His priest?
Discerning the Call
Jesus calls men from many different backgrounds and experiences, with varied skills, gifts and talents. Some He invites at an early age, whilst others are older when they begin to hear His call. No matter when He calls, there are steps which may help you to discern and hear more clearly what God is calling you to.
The Diocesan Vocations Director, Father James Preston is available to help you to discern whether the Lord is indeed asking you to be His priest. He is available to meet with you and to assist you in this discernment. Having met with Father James, he will advise you of the various ‘tools of discernment;’ such as the ‘Responding to the Call’ days organised for those contemplating priesthood in the Archdiocese, individual spiritual direction to help you in your prayer life and open days at the seminary.
Usually, this period of discernment is an opportunity to deepen your prayer and sacramental life, take up practical experiences of helping others and get to know like-minded men exploring the possibility of priesthood. This period is a time when with the help of others, in prayer and through different experiences, you can begin to understand what a call to the priesthood entails and prayerfully appreciate whether it is what you feel called to.
Following the initial time of discernment, which may last anything from six months to two years, the Vocations Director may feel it is appropriate, with your agreement, that a formal application to Seminary Formation be made. This involves taking up references from your parish priest and others, a Medical Examination, a DBS safeguarding check and a psychological assessment. These steps prepare for a series of formal interviews with a panel of clergy and lay people from the Archdiocese, finally an interview with the Archbishop concludes the application process.
The Church’s discernment of a vocation to the Priesthood continues throughout the whole process; from the first meeting with the Vocations Director, throughout the lengthy period of preparation until Candidature and Ordination. Personal discernment and the discernment of the Church form a partnership which helps the candidates to see God’s plan unfold.
Following acceptance for priestly formation, usually the candidate embarks upon six or seven years of preparation for the Priesthood in a seminary. The Archdiocese currently uses four seminaries: Saint Mary’s College Oscott in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, the Royal English College of Saint Alban in Spain, The Venerable English College in Rome and the Pontifical Beda College also in Rome.
Seminary programmes differ between the colleges, but involve four strands of formation established by Saint Pope John Paul II for the training of priests, in the 1992 document Pastores Dabo Vobis. The four pillars of formation are spiritual, pastoral, academic and human formation. These are addressed in study, through various pastoral placements and community life experienced at the seminary. The pre-eminent discipline and pillar of priestly formation is prayer, this is fostered in the common liturgical life of the seminary and in the deepening prayer of the individual assisted by his spiritual director and his ongoing formation.
The Ordination to the Diaconate and the Priesthood comes at the end of a long journey of prayer, study and discernment. The men whom the Lord invites to serve Him in the Sacred Priesthood are ordained by the laying on of hands and a gift of the Holy Spirit to offer the Sacrifice of Christ. A Priestly Ordination is a gift to the Church of a man consecrated for service, to proclaim the Gospel and lead the people of God in prayer and worship, most especially in the Holy Mass. Could God be calling you? If you feel He may be, please contact Father James who would be delighted to hear from you.
“The world looks to the Priests, because it looks to Jesus! No one can see Christ, but everyone sees the Priest, and through him they wish to catch a glimpse of the Lord. Immense is the greatness of the Lord! Immense is the dignity of the Priest!”
Pope Saint John Paul II, Rome, October 1979.
Vocations Discernment Group
NB the following was posted in January 2018 so you will need to contact Fr James for further information.
To support those exploring Vocations to the Priesthood in our diocese, a monthly day of recollection has been organised for the first Saturday of each month. These days will help men who feel called to ordained ministry to discover more about diocesan priesthood and meet others discerning a call to priesthood. There will be an opportunity to talk with and hear from priests who minister in the diocese, and also a time for prayer and discussion.
The next day of recollection will take place on Saturday 3rd February at St. Charles’ Presbytery, 224 Aigburth Road, Liverpool.
For further information, please contact Fr James Preston, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Liverpool, at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 0151 727 2493. Regular updates will be posted on the Facebook page: Archdiocese of Liverpool Vocations.