Why does the Church need priests?
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of the Church. Without the Eucharist, there is no Church. In a sacramental way, Christ is present to the Church in the person of the priest. All of the sacraments offer a personal encounter with Christ, and the priest is the one who offers the sacraments.
How do I know if God is calling me to the priesthood?
Today, many people look to the future and ask: What do I want to do with my life? The proper question is: God, what do you want me to do with my life for you? To know if you are being called, you must have a prayerful relationship with God, since God is the one who calls us to a specific vocation. Often, when someone senses that God is calling them to the priesthood, there is a negative reaction. This is normal, but do not think that it means you are not meant to be a priest. Very often, it is a positive indicator!
What qualities are looked for in a priest?
A desire to serve others - love for the Church - deep faith - man of prayer - leadership ability - one who relates well with people - and one who is a builder of the community.
What do I do if I think I am being called to the priesthood?
Speak to people you trust and get their feedback. You may also wish to speak to your pastor or any other priest you know. Most of all, speak with the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese, because he can answer many of your questions.
Do I have to know for sure that I want to be a priest to enter the seminary?
No. There are two levels of seminary formation, college and theology. In both cases, seminary is not only a place of education and formation, it is also a place for continued prayer and discernment.
What is the process for entering the seminary?
There is first an application process for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Once the student is accepted by the Archdiocese, then there is another application process for the seminary.
Where would I attend the seminary?
Currently, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis uses Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis for college and Saint Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, IN, and the Pontifical North American College in Rome for theology. Once a man is accepted as a seminarian for the Archdiocese, he is assigned a seminary by the Archbishop.
What are the academic requirements to enter the seminary?
To enter seminary college, a student must have completed high school with a GPA of 2.0 or better. For the final four years of theology, a student needs a four-year college degree with a GPA of 2.5 or better and some basic philosophy requirements. Generally, the education process requires eight years after high school.
If I were ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, where would I serve?
Most diocesan priests serve as parish priests. However, some do serve in other roles, such as high school chaplain, hospital chaplain, or in offices at the Archbishop O'Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.
How much does seminary cost and who is responsible for the expense?
For college seminarians, the Archdiocese works with the student and family to cover expenses. In addition, there are numerous financial aid packages available through the seminary and university. At the theology level, the Archdiocese covers all the basic expenses of room, board, tuition, books, and health insurance premiums. The theology students also receive a monthly allowance to help defer other personal expenses.
What is the role of parents in encouraging vocations?
The primary role is to provide an authentic witness to the importance of faith, prayer, and service to others. This includes teaching their children that we are all children of God, and that if we truly want to be happy, we will discover how God wants us to use the gifts we have received. Making their children aware of the nature of vocation, a "calling" from God, is a crucial first step. After that, it is a matter of inviting, raising the question with their children whether God might be calling them to be a priest, sister, or brother. Indirectly, attitudes and comments regarding the Church, priests, religious women and men, either foster or weaken the image of such a life of service.
What is the role of a parish in encouraging vocations?
The parish is where most people, especially young people, experience the Church, which includes worship, education, community, and service. Vocations thrive in a parish where there is active and full participation in these dimensions of Church life. In particular, it is important that Catholic education, in Catholic schools or religious education programs, clearly teaches about what a vocation is (a calling from God), what types of vocations there are (marriage, priesthood, diaconate, consecrated life, and single life), and how to make a good decision (the process of discernment). Beyond the general awareness of vocations, parents, priests and parishioners need to invite, encourage, and nurture vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.
Can the declining number of priests and religious be made up for by expanding lay ministry?
Given the unique role of priests and religious, they cannot be "replaced" by lay ministers. It is not just a matter of function, e.g., only priests can celebrate the Eucharist and hear confessions, etc.; rather, it is a question of identity, the unique identity and witness which diocesan and religious priests, religious sisters and brothers, as well as members of secular institutes offer the Church and the world. We certainly need a sufficient number of ordained priests for the celebration of the sacraments, but also the Church would be diminished without the evangelical witness of religious and priests.