The call to serve God in his people in Holy Orders is essential for the ongoing leadership and organisation of the Church. As an ordered community, the Church has three orders of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Priests (and Bishops who are called from among the priests) are required to remain celibate in order to dedicate their whole self to the service of the Church. Both single and married men may be called to be Deacon, however single men must also make the promise to celibacy ‘for the sake of the kingdom’. In the situation that the wife of a married Deacon dies, the celibacy rule automatically takes hold for the Deacon.
Like Marriage, priesthood it is a call from God, which respects and builds on the character, talents, generosity, and love of the person called. So it is a way of life that can never be entered into lightly, or through a personal choice of an individual.
How do I know if I have a vocation to priesthood?
If you feel God may be calling you to this service, after prayer you will need to talk to a priest or spiritual director. With their encouragement you may feel ready to approach the Diocesan Director of Vocations. More information about all Vocational States within the Church and details on how to contact the Diocesan Director of Vocations may be found at rcadc.org/vocations/
What age do I need to be?
Different people feel the call at different ages.
Some may hear it from an early age: you should talk to your priest and your parents about it, and seek help to grow in knowledge and love of God and the practice of the faith. When these guides feel you are ready, they will advise you to approach the vocations director.
Some hear the call at later stages in their life: there is no upper age limit, except that which our expected life-span and intellectual and physical ability imposes.
Applicants to the permanent Diaconate are expected to be in a stable state of life and over the age of 35.