Vocational discernment is hard work. But with courage, patience, trust, and prayer it is possible to hear the Lord’s call and respond boldly. But becoming a diocesan Catholic priest takes far more than simply deciding on you own. It takes a diocesan invitation to study for priesthood and the response from a willing man to hear God’s call. If you seriously think you may be called to be a priest, applying to seminary is the next step. Here’s how this usually works:
Contact the Archdiocesan Vocations Office
Whether it is by phone or email, introduce yourself to the Vocation Office. Better yet, have your pastor introduce you. Every application to the study for priesthood is moderated through the Vocation Director so it is necessary to build the foundational relationship with the Church’s representatives to guide a true discernment of God’s call.
Meet with Fr. Luke, Vocation Director or Fr. Enrique, Vocation Promoter for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
When you meet, fearlessly express your interest in discerning a call to the priesthood. The Vocation Office will help you to understand if you’re ready and if seminary may be the next step for you. The Vocation Director’s job is to guide you - it is not his intention to pressure you into seminary – so do not fear. The last thing we need is men who did not freely respond to the call to priesthood.
For most, the vocation director will meet with a man on multiple occasions over the course of a few months or sometimes years to get to know him and where he is spiritually prior to inviting him to apply to seminary. Discernment takes time.
Maintain involvement – Attend Retreats and Visit the Seminary
Once you have expressed your interest in priesthood, maintain involvement with Vocation Office events. Retreats and visits to the seminary are a great way to stay connected. Check out all the upcoming vocations events!
Additionally, it is critical that you practice the practical tips for discernment from "The Call" page. Hearing and responding to a vocation to the priesthood depends upon a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Allow him to guide you to his heart and to the heart of the Church
Invitation to live in the JPII House of Discernment
Some men who are seeking a greater opportunity for intentional discernment will be invited to live in the John Paul II House of Discernment. The John Paul II House of Discernment is the Archdiocesan Vocation Office’s opportunity for men to live in community and build the discipline of prayer. The JPII House develops growth in the understanding of the identity of diocesan priest for men in discernment.
The JPII House offers young adult Catholic men the occasion to live in Christian community, encounter diocesan priestly life and discern God's call. The House promotes community through common prayer, regularly scheduled community nights, formation and fraternity. The House is also a place of outreach for non-residents seeking Christian fellowship, discipleship and community. Hospitality is particularly offered to young adult men in discernment, seminarians and priests.
Invitation to Apply
Once the Vocation Director thinks you’re ready, he will invite you to apply to seminary. The application process is rigorous and is in itself a part of the discernment process. Acceptance into the diocesan priesthood formation program requires that a candidate demonstrate emotional maturity, academic ability, personal stability and consistent growth in the patience of the faith. Application is typically a three month process and the Vocation Director will walk the applicant through every step.
The Father simply wants you to trust him enough to take the next step, not the 10th nor the 20th. He wants you to go from A to B, not A to Z. Bravely press on, one step at a time.
Take The Next Step