Priesthood is about leadership and service, following the example of Jesus.
This leadership takes the shape of caring for people, speaking God’s Word to them, celebrating Mass and other sacraments, and being with people in the best and worst times of their lives, seeking to be the presence of Jesus to them throughout the parishes of our Diocese. A few priests also have specialised ministries as chaplains to schools, hospitals or the armed forces, as university lecturers, or working in a remote outback town.
“The priesthood is central to our Catholic way of life, and it provides a unique presence of Jesus within the Catholic community. Jesus is present in many ways, each of them important. His presence in the ordained minister is one of leadership, which find expression in proclaiming the Word and celebrating the sacraments.” – Bishop David Walker
A priest uses his own talents and interests as part of his ministry – be they sporting, musical, cultural or academic. Priesthood is not just a one-size-fits-all job, but a way of striving to be the best person you can be, growing closer to Jesus, bringing others to Jesus, and making a real difference. It’s a life of significance and purpose.
Formation for priesthood takes 6-7 years. It is residential, and students live together, sharing meals, prayer, daily Mass and community life together. There are lectures, seminars, retreats and practical experiences aimed at shaping a priestly heart.
In the first three years students undertake a Bachelor of Theology degree with the Broken Bay Institute and the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and then take some further study in the remaining years. Every week includes some pastoral ministry within a school, a nursing home or a parish. There are workshops on the practical skills of public speaking and preaching, teaching and leading liturgy. There is a one week retreat each year, as well as regular one-on-one spiritual direction and reflection days. Formation programs are tailored to each man to focus on developing his self awareness, character and relationship skills which will equip him to love and serve people well.
Want to Know More?
Just like marriage, priesthood is a life long commitment before God. But taking the first steps towards priesthood doesn’t commit you forever. Initially, you meet with the vocation director, Fr Paul Durkin, who will accompany you for several months as you decide if you want to take the next step of moving into the formation house. Joining the formation house isn’t binding either – it’s a time of discernment too, with self reflection each year to see if you are deepening your sense of calling from God to priesthood, or to something else. It’s like a very long engagement! It’s not until your final year that you are asked to commit to ordination and to life as a priest.
If you’re interested in find out more there are a few things you can do:
- Talk to a parent or a friend you can trust.
- Talk to a priest, youth minister or teacher.
- Contact the vocations director, Fr Paul Durkin on 02 9484 1427 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr Paul would love to meet with you and talk about what God has been doing in your life. He will help you to get praying, get involved in ministry, or take part in a retreat somewhere. You can come and meet our students who are in formation.
And definitely, keep on praying. It is God who knows your heart better than anyone, better than even you do yourself, and it is only through prayer that you can truly discover the wonderful plans God has for your life.