Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg

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 Why be a Priest?

_laying_hands_2.jpgA sacred ministry handed on to the Apostles ... "Through the sacrament of holy orders priests share in the universal dimension of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles." CCC1564


Could God be calling you to be a priest?
Each individual is made in God's image and likeness. Before you were born, God knew you and loved you beyond understanding.  The love of God includes a vocation, or your mission in life.  What is that mission for you?  It is very possible that God is calling you to continue his mission as a ordained priest. 

What is the mission of priests?
Priests have a critical mission: to be a bridge that connects Jesus to his people and the people to Jesus. How does the priest accomplish this task: through the preaching of the Gospel, the celebration of the Mass, the celebration of the sacraments.  As a priest you serve as a spiritual father to thousands of Catholics.  A priest must be a man of integrity that stands out as a spiritual hero as a sign of God's love and mercy in the midst of a secular culture.

How does ordination to the priesthood make you different from other men?
At ordination a man's soul changes forever.  The man undergoes an ontological change, a change of being, which indelibly marks his soul for all eternity. Once a priest, always a priest. From this moment on the priest acts in persona Christi capitas, which means "in the person of Christ, head of the church." When the priest celebrates the sacraments he wields a sacred power from God. He becomes the presence of Christ to others. We often think that we are not worthy to take on such great responsibility, but St. Pope John Paul II reminds us, "The priest offers his humanity to Christ, so that Christ may use him as an instrument of salvation, making him as it were into another Christ."

 What do Priests do?

"Without the sacrament of holy orders, we would not have the Lord.  Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die (as a result of sin), who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again the priest … After God, the priest is everything!  Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is." - St. John Vianney


 Why Celibacy is so Radical

The requirement of celibacy for a Latin Rite priest is one of the greatest sources of anxiety and fear in a man who is discerning priesthood.  Many young men respond to celibacy with comments like these: 

  • "I can never become a priest because I like girls too much."
  • "I am afraid that I will be lonely and not happy without a wife."
  • "I have a history of sexual activity; I am not a virgin.  Can I still become a priest?"
  • "I have some degree of same-sex attraction and this worries me greatly.  Can I be accepted to go to seminary with this problem?"
  • "It is not so much giving up sex that worries me, but not having a companion.  I don't know if I can live my life happily without the intimacy of a wife and having my own children."

​If you have these thoughts you are not alone.  Pope Francis himself admitted to having to discern celibacy very carefully as a young seminarian. "I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle's wedding …  I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance …  and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while. I kept thinking and thinking about her. When I returned to the seminary after the wedding, I could not pray for over a week because when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing." 

If even the pope had second thoughts about celibacy, you should not be surprised that you yourself struggle with the issue!

Celibacy, the state of being unmarried, is not done to repress ones sexuality, but instead is a gift given by God to a man that calls him to give up a single women in order to serve all God's people.  Is it radical? Yes!  Does it mean that you will spend the rest of your life unhappy? No!  Celibacy competes daily with a sex-saturated society and culture that trumpets the message that sex brings happiness. Here is a fact of truth that is not shared by society. There are over 400,000 celibate priests in the world, and the vast majority report great happiness and fulfillment.

From To Save A Thousand Souls​

expand Question : Am I allowed to date while in the seminary? ‎(1)
expand Question : Can I go to seminary if I have been sexually active in my past? ‎(1)
expand Question : Don’t you think more men would become priests if they could get married? Wouldn’t that solve the priest shortage?  ‎(1)
expand Question : Is celibacy the same as living a life as a bachelor?  ‎(1)
expand Question : It seems unnatural to live a life without sex. ‎(1)
expand Question : Why can’t priests get married? That must be very difficult.  ‎(1)
expand Question : Will priests ever be allowed to get married?  ‎(1)