Vocations to the Priesthood

A vocation is all about love. A vocation is a life of love in a concrete, particular form because love is always concrete and particular. A vocation begins with His love for you. In that love for you He is calling you to a particular form of life. We call this particular form of life a "state of life in the Church."

This love first involves His total gift of Himself to you and then in response your total gift of yourself to Him. After all He tells us in the Gospel according to St. John, "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (Jn. 15:16). His choice for you is what makes a vocation different from an "occupation" or a "career." You can choose an occupation or a career for yourself but a vocation (from the Latin verb vocare, "to call") is HIS choice for you and which He invites you to accept, embrace and undertake for love of Him. Often we are taught to ask, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" or "What life will I choose?" The better way to think is "What does Jesus want for me?" or "What life will bring Jesus the greatest glory?" Ultimately, we want to say "I want what Jesus wants."

A vocation is the concrete life He has chosen for you and for which He has specifically created you. He is God and therefore knows which life will be the best way to bring about your salvation, your happiness, and His greatest glory. His call will completely fulfill you as a man and a father. A vocation means to be sent by Jesus on mission to help Him bring His salvation to the world and so will call for much love, heroism, and sacrifice on your part. He loves you and has chosen you. His love gives you the ability to love Him in return. The key to discovering your vocation is to allow Jesus to show His tender love to you. This love will make you capable of loving Him in return.

As you can see, it is vital that you find your vocation. Your fulfillment, your happiness, and ultimately your salvation, can depend on your acceptance of the mission that Jesus has chosen for you. Moreover, other people's salvation will depend on you giving your full "yes" to Jesus in your vocation.

Click here (goest to discernment page) to learn more about the basic steps of discerning a vocation to the priesthood. These steps, however, are not steps that are taken and finished. We are always engaging these steps at deeper levels, even after saying "yes" to our vocation. Sometimes, these steps are going on at the same time and there is always more work we can do at each step.

By following these steps, you will be able to go a long way in making progress on discerning and choosing your vocation. The important thing is to keep at it and not give up on any of the steps and to have patience with the process. Keep giving it over to the Lord and it will happen. I also suggest that you begin to pray one "Hail Mary" each day to Our Lady asking her to help you discover and say "yes" to your vocation. It's a small but very powerful prayer.

The Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Vocations gratefully acknowledges permission to adapt and use the Basic Discernment developed by Rev. John Cihak (Archdiocese of Portland and Founder and Director of Quo Vadis Days) and Rev. Derek Lappe (Archiodese of Seattle and Pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Camas, WA) and the Archdiocese of Arlington Virginia.

Department Contacts

Fr. Javier Virgen

Co-Director, Vocations to Priesthood

t: (801) 328-8641

Deacon Sunday Espinoza

Co-Director, Vocations

t: (801) 328-8641