2014-04-14 Vatican Radio
Pope Francis on Monday met with members of the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, a regional seminary for several of the Diocese around the city of Rome. The College was founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1897. 

In his address, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of forming seminarians in “a climate of prayer and fraternity.” This atmosphere, he said, allows seminarians to grow closer to “the sentiments of Jesus Christ, His love for the Father and for the Church,” and His dedication to the people of God.

The Pope warned the seminarians that they are not preparing to be functionaries, but true shepherds in the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Being a “good shepherd” in His image is something no one can achieve on his own – but Pope Francis reminded the seminarians that “it is not our work… It is the work of the Holy Spirit.” Only by allowing oneself to be shaped – as clay is shaped by the potter — will seminarians be able “to shepherd the people of God and guide them “along the Way that is Jesus.”

This, the Holy Father said, “means meditating every day on the Gospel… experiencing the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation… eating the Eucharist with faith and with love… being men of prayer.”  “If you are not disposed to follow along this street,” the Pope said, “it would be better for you to have the courage to seek another path.”

Pope Francis concluded his address by calling on the seminarians to take seriously the words of the Prophets: “Woe to the wicked Shepherds who pasture themselves and not their flocks.” “May this ‘woe,’” he said, make you reflect seriously on your future.”

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-to-seminarians-be-shepherds-like-the-good-she

Israel grew up and received his Sacraments at his home parish in Mexico.  He now considers St. Joseph in Round Lake his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Timothy O’Malley.

The best advice he received while discerning was from a priest, who told him to not be afraid of saying yes to his vocation.  As a seminarian, Israel would give that same advice to anyone who is discerning.

Stephen grew up and received his Sacraments at St. Leonard, which he still considers his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Roger Corrales-Diaz.  He attended high school at Nazareth Academy.

The best advice he received while discerning was, “Don’t be anxious about discerning. Just continue to allow God to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him.”  As a seminarian, Stephen would give that same advice to anyone who is discerning.

"How hard it is, in our time, to make the ultimate decisions. The temporary seduces us. We are victims of a trend that pushes us to the temporary. We should not be afraid of commitments that involve and affect the whole life! In this way, our lives will be fruitful!"

Pope Francis
May 4, 2013

Michael grew up and received his Sacraments at St. Vincent de Paul in Detroit, MI.  He now considers St. Benedict (Irving Park) his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Jason Malave. 

The best advice he received while discerning was “Don’t be afraid. Just give the priesthood a chance.”  As a seminarian, Michael would advise anyone who is discerning to be open to the spirit and trust that God will give you the strength to answer His call.

Timothy grew up and received his Sacraments at Santa Maria del Popolo, which he still considers his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. David Arcila. Timothy attended high school at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.

The best advice he received while discerning was “Timothy! Don't be afraid! No matter what has happened in your past, no matter what you are struggling with now, Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you FIERCELY! Ask HIM to love you in those moments when you failed Him and He will give you PEACE and JOY.”  As a seminarian, Timothy would tell anyone who is discerning: “I asked a priest once, ‘What is your favorite part about priesthood?’ He said WITHOUT HESITATION, ‘Tim, to confect the Eucharist, to absolve sins, to live a radical life for Christ is the JOY in the heart of every priest.’ You must immerse yourself in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist! JPII said that the Eucharist is the source of all vocations, and in Him, in the Eucharist, you will discover what has been written on your heart.”

Julio grew up and received his Sacraments at the Cathedral of St. Rosendo, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. He now considers St. Alphonsus Liguori his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Michael O’Connell.

The best advice he received while discerning was, “Trust the Lord at all times.”  As a seminarian, Julio would advise anyone who is discerning to take your time to think and pray about it, but don’t postpone it.

2014-03-26 L’Osservatore Romano
One enters the priesthood only through the Lord's initiative. “He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests”. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was the focus of Pope Francis' catechesis at the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 26 March, in St Peter's Square. The following is a translation of the Pope's address to the faithful, which was delivered in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have already had occasion to point out that the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist together constitute the mystery of “Christian initiation”, a single great event of grace that regenerates us in Christ. This is the fundamental vocation which unites everyone in the Church as disciples of the Lord Jesus. There are then two Sacraments which correspond to two specific vocations: Holy Orders and Matrimony. They constitute two great paths by which the Christian can make his life a gift of love, after the example and in the name of Christ, and thus cooperate in the building up of the Church.

Holy Orders, in its three grades of bishop, priest and deacon, is the Sacrament that enables a man to exercise the ministry which the Lord Jesus entrusted to the Apostles, to shepherd his flock, in the power of his Spirit and according to his Heart. Tending Jesus’ flock not by the power of human strength or by one’s own power, but by the Spirit’s and according to his Heart, the Heart of Jesus which is a heart of love. The priest, the bishop, the deacon must shepherd the Lord’s flock with love. It is useless if it is not done with love. And in this sense, the ministers who are chosen and consecrated for this service extend Jesus’ presence in time, if they do so by the power of the Holy Spirit, in God’s name and with love.
 

1. A first aspect. Those who are ordained are placed at the head of the community. They are“at the head”, yes, but for Jesus this means placing ones authority at the service [of the community], as Jesus himself showed and taught his disciples with these words: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served by to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”(Mt 20:25-28/Mk 10:42-45). A bishop who is not at the service of the community fails to perform his duty; a priest who is not at the service of his community fails to perform his duty, he errs.

 

Radley grew up and received his Sacraments at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage, IN.  He now considers St. Clement in Lincoln Park his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Ken Simpson. 

The best advice he received while discerning was, “Keep your eyes on Jesus.”  As a seminarian, Radley would advise anyone who is discerning to pray about it, talk about it, and get involved!

Exploring Priesthood Weekend
A retreat designed to help men who are, college age and older, discern God’s call to priesthood. Throughout a weekend of prayer, discussion, and group interaction, men begin to understand God’s movement in their life.

Presentations on
Practical steps for discerning a vocation
Values of priesthood
Vocational journeys of priests and seminarians and how they came to understand God’s call
Seminary life, academics, and formation

Where
Mundelein Seminary -1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein, IL. Located about 30 miles north of
Chicago, easily accessible by car or train.

http://www.chicagopriest.com/attend-exploring-priesthood-weekend

You can obtain further information or make a reservation by contacting Fr. Francis Bitterman at 312-534-8298, fbitterman@archchicago.org  .

 

Adam grew up and received his Sacraments at St. George Parish in Georgia. He now considers St. Christopher his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Kris Paluch. 

The best advice he received while discerning was, “Keep your mouth shut and your ears open.”  As a seminarian, Adam would advise anyone who is discerning to trust in God.  Learn to let go of your doubt and trust that you will always be happier doing that which God has asked you to do instead of the things you would want to do.

Jose grew up and received his Sacraments at Santiago Apostol.  He now considers St. Anthony of Padua his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Sergio Solis. 

The best advice he received while discerning was, “Put yourself in God’s hands.”  As a seminarian, Jose would advise anyone who is discerning just to give it a try.

Nicholas grew up and received his Sacraments at St. Philip the Apostle in Northfield.  He now considers St. Peter in Volo his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Jim Isaacson.  Nicholas attended high school at Loyola Academy.

The best advice he received while discerning was that one of the best places for discernment is in a regular commitment to an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. As a seminarian, Nicholas would advise anyone who is discerning that a vocation is a beautiful gift, so do not let it go

Ryan grew up and received his Sacraments at St. Linus, which he still considers his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Mark Walter.

The best advice he received while discerning was to go to Mass daily. As a seminarian, Ryan would advise anyone who is discerning not to be afraid to visit the seminary and meet some seminarians. You might be surprised that it can be a great fit.

St. Joseph College Seminarian Charlie Plovanich continues his discussion with Theo McManigal and Dylan Conover on why more and more young men are responding to God's call to the priesthood. During this half hour, they discuss why the college seminary is a good fit for them at this point in their lives and what they've been discovering.  http://www.archchicago.org/radioTV/programs/Vocations/

2014-03-03 Vatican Radio
Pope Francis on Monday asked the faithful to pray for vocations, so that God may send priests and nuns whose hearts are for Him only; free from the idolatry of vanity, of power and of wealth.
Speaking during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis took his cue from the Gospel reading of day which tells of a rich man who ran up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. This man – the Pope said – really wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. “He was a good man, a man who had observed the commandments from his youth, but this was not enough for him, he wanted more. The Holy Spirit was pushing him further”. Jesus looked at him, loved him and said to him: ‘Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor; then come, follow me’. At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions:

“His heart was restless, because the Holy Spirit was pushing him to get closer to Jesus and to follow him. But his heart was full and he lacked the courage to empty it. He made his choice: money. His heart was full of money…. But he was not a thief, or a criminal: no, no, no! He was a good man: he had never stolen! He had never cheated anyone: his money had been earned honestly. But his heart was imprisoned, it was attached to money and he lacked the freedom to choose. Money chose for him”.

Christian grew up and received his Sacraments at St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission, which he still considers his home parish. His current pastor is Fr. Francis Li.

The best advice he received while discerning was to always allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, and be aware of the times you experience peace, joy, and happiness – because these positive emotions often indicate that you’re getting closer to what God is calling you to do. As a seminarian, Christian would advise anyone who is discerning to continue to pray, to seek spiritual direction, and to trust in the Lord.  The love of Christ will always urge us on!

Agustin grew up and received his Sacraments at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monterrey, Mexico. He now considers Holy Name Cathedral his home parish. His current pastor is Msgr. Dan Mayall.

The best advice he received while discerning was, “Leave everything behind and you’ll have something greater.” As a seminarian, Agustin would advise anyone who is discerning to take a chance and see what happens.

Fr. Paul Stein, Rector of Saint Joseph College Seminary, gives 5 reasons every Catholic man should consider priesthood.

Check out http://whypriest.com/

FR. FRANCIS BITTERMAN, VOCATION DIRECTOR, ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO, 312-534-8298
835 N. RUSH ST., CHICAGO, IL 60611
VOCATIONS@ARCHCHICAGO.ORG      WWW.CHICAGOPRIEST.COM
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