VOCATIONS Q&A: Talk with your pastor if you hear God's call to priesthood
CHARLOTTE — Diocesan Director of Vocations, Father Christopher Gober, recently discussed the call to the priesthood with the Catholic News Herald:
CNH: What are some of the paths the men who have already been ordained have taken to the priesthood under your directorship?
Father Gober: One of the strong signs of vitality in our diocese is that all 17 seminarians are from here. Because we have such a young group of seminarians, the majority of them entered seminary after college. Over the years we have ordained men from various professional backgrounds: law, business and engineering.
CNH: What is the process you follow with a potential seminarian when they come to you? What type of advice or guidance do you give these men?
Father Gober: When a potential candidate comes to me, I encourage him to meet regularly with his pastor. I then spend time learning about his life experiences and exploring the reasons why he believes he is being called to the priesthood. Men who aspire to serve God's people, strive to imitate our Lord through daily prayer and service, who are drawn to our Lord in the Eucharist, desire to preach the Gospel, and who wish to bring God's mercy to the physically and spiritually poor are some of the authentic signs of a possible vocation to the priesthood. I would encourage him to reflect on these topics.
CNH: Describe types of prayer that are helpful for discernment.
Father Gober: It is important to cultivate a love for the Mass and spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, foster a true devotion to the Blessed Mother, begin to pray the Divine Office and practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
CNH: Why do you recommend spending time in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament?
Father Gober: We are fortunate to have an annual Eucharistic Congress in the Diocese of Charlotte which encourages all the faithful to come to know Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Since the Holy Mass is the most perfect prayer a priest offers, it is important for somebody discerning a vocation to the priesthood to cultivate a great love for the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
CNH: Are there specific books that you suggest a man discerning the priesthood should read?
Father Gober: Sacred Scripture; Father Bret Brennan's "To Save a Thousand Souls" is a very comprehensive guide; Father Thomas Dubay's "Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment"; and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's "The Priest is Not His Own" and "Those Mysterious Priests."
CNH: Are there specific persons men should seek out to mentor them during the discernment period?
Father Gober: If somebody is serious about discerning a vocation to the priesthood, I would first encourage him to speak with his family and his pastor.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Are you called to be a priest? Check out Vocation Awareness Day
CHARLOTTE — Each summer, young men from the Diocese of Charlotte are invited to Vocation Awareness Day to learn more about the priesthood from priests and Bishop Peter Jugis.
"Vocation Awareness Day is intended to assist young men in exploring and discovering God's will in their lives," said Father Christopher Gober, diocesan director of vocations. "For some, God may be calling them to a priestly vocation. To that end, we want to do everything to encourage, support and foster future vocations."
High school and college-aged men who may be hearing the call to the priesthood are invited to learn more during Vocation Awareness Day, to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at St. Ann Church, 3635 Park Road in Charlotte.
Bishop Peter J. Jugis will celebrate Mass at 10:30 a.m., and priests and seminarians from around the diocese will be on hand for this day of fellowship, recreation and reflection.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Support our seminarians' education and priests' retirement
The education of our seminarians is possible thanks to the generosity of our parishioners who give to the Diocesan Support Appeal and the Easter Sunday Seminary and Priests' Continuing Education Collection, and those who contribute leadership gifts to the Friend to Seminarians program. To learn more about how you can donate to seminarians' education efforts or support our retired priests, call diocesan Director of Development Jim Kelley at 704-370-3301. They are also online at www.charlottediocese.org: click on Departments, then Stewardship and Development.
Interested in the permanent diaconate?
Learn more about our faith through the Lay Ministry program
If you or someone you know is contemplating a religious vocation, check out the following general resources online. Talk with your pastor, read up on consecrated life and the various communities that exist, and contact religious communities that interest you. Many offer "come and see" days or retreats that are good opportunities to learn more and meet others who have already accepted God's call to religious life. And don't be afraid to ask questions!
Diocesan vocations office
- www.foryourvocation.org: Set up by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, dedicated to the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life for both men and women. They are also on Facebook and YouTube. There are resources for parents and teachers, questions to ask yourself if you feel God is calling you, see videos of the vocation stories from priests and religious all over the U.S., and much more.
- www.religiouslife.com: The Institute for Religious Life's website, with plenty of resources for both men and women interested in a vocation or those who wish to support religious life.
- Not sure what religious communities are out there that might be a good fit for you? Check out: www.religiousministries.com. Search this database to find a men's or women's religious community, whether you wish to become a priest, nun, brother or lay missioner, or just want to find out more about living a religious life.
- www.cloisteredlife.com: Aims to bring to attention the gift of cloistered and monastic life in the Church, sponsored by the IRL.
Religious communities for men
- www.cmsm.org: The Conference of Major Superiors of Men serves the leadership of the Catholic orders and congregations of the more than 17,000 vowed religious priests and brothers of the U.S.
- www.religiousbrotherhood.com: Sponsored by the IRL specifically to increase awareness of the specific charism of religious brotherhood in the U.S.
Religious communities for women
- www.cmswr.org: The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) is a canonically approved organization founded in 1992, to promote religious life in the U.S.
- www.lcwr.org: The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the U.S.
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
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