God's Call to be Holy

A Message from Reverend Monsignor Bircumshaw

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from men and women interested in the priesthood or religious life is how to discern whether God could be calling them to this vocation.

They often express feelings of unworthiness and hesitancy to answer such a call. I begin by reminding them that none of us is worthy of such a noble calling as (for a priest) celebrating Mass, offering forgiveness for sins, or healing the physically and spiritually sick; or (for a religious brother or sister) of living in religious community, praying for the needs of the church and world, ministering in education, health care, or social needs in the name of Christ Jesus. We all have our failures and shortcomings. But through the Sacrament of Holy Orders or religious vows, God empowers ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things through the power of the Holy Spirit. The only thing we are asked to do is to be generous and open to allow that spirit to work through us.

The vocation to priesthood or religious life does not come in the form of a mystical vision or a booming voice, but in the quiet, gentle impulses in a person's heart that tells each person they will only be happy and satisfied in a life dedicated to the service of the Church. Discernment of this call does not happen overnight. It takes many years for the Church and for an individual to discern whether God is calling him or her to this life. Through prayer, education, seminary, or religious formation and spiritual direction, an individual will come to discover over a number of years whether God is calling him or her to this life.

If you feel that God may be calling you to a life of service to the Church as a religious sister or diocesan priest or brother, please contact the Vocations Office or talk to your pastor or another priest about a vocation to public ministry in the Church.

Reverend Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw
Vicar General