Anonymous asked: Thanks for answering all of my questions. Again, I wish you well.
No problem! And thank you!
Anonymous asked: You're welcome! Do most priests reach a point where they 100% know for sure if they are called to the priesthood? Also, I understand the sense of belonging you describe. Sometimes you just "know".
I think so. If you’ve made it through all those years of applying and seminary and stuff, constantly discerning with your formation director, I think you would be pretty sure. You do occasionally hear stories of priests leaving the priesthood to get married or something, but I don’t think it’s that common. All of the priests I know (which isn’t very many) are 100% sure.
Anonymous asked: Wow, I had no idea it took so long to join the priesthood. No wonder you are waiting to see if that's what you really want. Is the process intimidating at all? Why are you looking to join the Dominicans?
Sorry for the delayed response! The past couple of days have been a bit busy.
To be honest, at times it is a bit intimidating. But ultimately I know that God will lead me where he wants me to be, whether it’s with the Dominicans, or with another group, or as a layperson. And I get help from talking to priests that I know, and seminarians, and the vocations director. The vocations director’s job is to help you find your vocation, whether that be with the priesthood or not, and he has a lot of experience doing so.
Two really helpful things that I’ve been told are, first, you don’t need to be 100% sure before applying. During the application process, and during the formation time in seminary, you’re still discerning if this is God’s will for you. Not everyone in seminary is sure of their calling either. Second, nobody is perfect, and you shouldn’t let fear of not being good enough or holy enough keep you from trying.
As for why the Dominicans, in part because the Dominicans are a very intellectual order. Their official name is the Order of Preachers, and they focus a lot on studying and such in order to better preach the Gospel. I’ve been told that because of this focus on studying the Dominicans tend to attract converts and engineers; being both a convert and an engineer, it definitely attracts me. I also really love the idea of sharing the beautiful faith that I’ve come to grow into, so an order dedicated to preachers further attracts me (not that other groups don’t preach the Gospel though).
I also was drawn by the sense of community that I felt when I visited them. Again, not that other groups don’t have that, but I just felt more at home there than I did with the other groups I visited. I don’t really know how to explain it.
Thank you for all of your questions, by the way!
Anonymous asked: Thanks for answering my question. I wish you well in your journey. How does the seminary process work?
No problem, and thank you very much!
For seminary, a lot of the specifics depend on exactly where you are, and whether it’s diocesan or religious.
The application process is pretty thorough. It involves medical and psychological evaluations, recommendations, many interviews with various people, an autobiography, background checks, essays, and more. The whole process can take several months.
Once in seminary, there are four main areas of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. The goal of human formation is to help you learn how to interact well socially, since your whole ministry is directed towards people and involves working with people. Spiritual formation is to ensure that you have a good relationship with Christ; else how could you bring others to him? For intellectual formation, you’ll usually get a master’s degree in theology. If you don’t have any experience with philosophy, you’ll study that for a couple of years first (called “pre-theology”). Pastoral formation helps you to learn how to take care of your parishioners and lead them to Christ.
You’ll live with the others who are going through the program with you. You take classes during the day, and go to mass, and have designated prayer, study, and social times. There are also assignments that you are sent to work at some days. The whole time, you’ll be meeting periodically with your formation director, who talks with you about how you’re doing in the four areas of formation.
The whole process takes at least six years, but a lot of the specifics depend on the group you join. The Dominican formation program takes 8 years. It starts with a one-year novitiate, where instead of taking classes, you focus on living the life of a Dominican to see if this is feasible for you. Then you take two years of pre-theology and four years of theology courses. There is also a pastoral year, where instead of taking classes you’re working at an assignment the whole year (I think that comes after your second year of theology, but I’m not sure).
I hope that helps! I know it’s a lot of information, and I tried to condense it as much as I could. Let me know if you want me to clarify something.
Anonymous asked: When are you going to be a priest?
At the moment, I’m planning to apply to seminary for 2015. I’m taking a couple of years to mature both in life (since I just graduated college last year) and in my faith (since I was baptized only three years ago). Currently I’m really leaning towards joining the Dominicans, but we’ll see.
Have a great day!
Anonymous asked: Can you recommend Catholic blogs to follow? Thanks!
There’s an updated list of a lot of Catholics on Tumblr here.
I don’t know how updated that list is, though.
Hope that helps. Have a nice day!
sunflowerdreams replied to your post:
Hello! This list is fairly accurate. There are some tumblr URLs that have been changed but I’m afraid to take them off in case they are only temporarily changed :) Hope this helps!
Oh, wonderful! Thank you! =)