Is Your Son Being Called to the Priesthood?
What is a Vocation?
The word “vocation” comes from the Latin root vocare, meaning “to call.” As we are created in God’s image and likeness, the generic “vocation” of every person is to love as God loves– loving God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. This is further specified and fulfilled in two more particular vocations: the natural vocation to Holy Matrimony or the supernatural vocation to celibacy. Most are called to marriage and family life. Seminarians often admit they sense a desire for a wife and children. However, God has created some men to reflect on earth the wholehearted love of God, which we discover in the priesthood and consecrated life.
A Man Hears His Own Call
You want the best for your son because you love your son. But God loves him more because your son belongs first to God. Parents play an indispensable role in praying for their children and helping them seek the will of God in their lives. It’s nearly impossible for you to know with certainty what God wants for your son. Your approval is very important to him, but you cannot decide your son’s future for him. It is important that you neither coerce your son in pursuing the priesthood because you want him to be a priest, nor discourage him from the priesthood because you want him to pursue another seemingly more successful path in the world.
Your Support Is Important
If your son expresses an interest in the priesthood, be supportive. In the book To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood, Fr. Brett Brannen describes the ideal parent as one who is at peace with God’s will. The goal of entering the seminary is not to become a priest, but to pursue the will of God—which for most young men who enter the seminary, is the priesthood. College seminary provides the most conducive environment to discern the priesthood, including an atmosphere rich in silence, daily prayer, spiritual direction, and excellent formation in the virtues that transform a boy into a man.
Parents' Perspectives on Having a Son in Seminary
How much is SJCS? Who pays for everything?
What if my son changes his mind?
My son has questions; what should I do?
Additional Resources for Parents
Many Parents Encourage Their Sons to Attend Quo Vadis Days
“Do not be afraid of the holy vocation that has come down from heaven to rest upon your children. If you have faith in God and his Church, is it not a comfort and joy to see your own son at the altar clothed with the priestly vestments, offering the sacrifice of the Mass and praying for his mother and father?”