PFS Magazine – Issue One now available

PFS Magazine – Issue One now available

With 0 Comments, Category: Discerning Priesthood, News and Events, Planting seeds, Resources and Publications, Vocations, Vocations Campaigns,

Priests for Scotland has issued for parishes, schools and those interested in priesthood and in vocations to priesthood, the first issue of a free magazine.  This edition has short pieces from seminarians studying to become priests from around Scotland as well as an insight from one of Scotland's newest priests, Fr Matthew Carlin of Paisley Diocese, ordained in the summer of 2016.

Over the course of a year we hope to produce a number of these short newsletters, to help promote the importance of priesthood, to look at the work priests do around the country and to issue the invitation to consider a vocation to priesthood.  Over the next few months, Vocations Directors in our dioceses will be inviting and meeting with men considering this possibility, to help them discern whether God might be calling them to serve his People as priests.  (Click here for contact details for the Vocations Director in your area.)

You can download the Magazine, issue 1, by clicking here or on the image below.


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Advent and Christmas Vocations Prompts

Advent and Christmas Vocations Prompts

With 0 Comments, Category: Discerning Priesthood, News and Events, Vocations, Vocations Campaigns,

Each Sunday in Advent, and throughout the Christmas season, Priests for Scotland is publishing via our Facebook page little vocations "prompts" to help those who might be thinking about a priestly vocation to use this sacred time to consider the possibility guided by the weekly Scriptures.

 

advent-4

Advent is a season in the Church's life which of its nature looks to the future - yes, to the coming of Christ as a child at Christmas, but also beyond that to his coming in glory at the end of time.  What better time is there in the Church's liturgical calendar to think about our own futures too, about what God is asking of us, about how we might respond, and about the direction of our lives in light of our faith.

Could that future involve a life of priestly service for you, a member of your family, or someone you know?

In the middle weeks of Advent we encounter the person of John the Baptist.  He was called "from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15) to be a herald of Christ, to call people to repent and return to God's ways.  He was called to be a prophet, to be a messenger, to be a witness to God's action in the sight of the people.  In the middle weeks of Advent we hear him fulfilling that vocation, as he "prepares a way for the Lord", as he becomes the voice "crying in the wilderness" (Matthew 3:3).

And so, our little "prompts" invite those who think God might just be calling them to be priests in Scotland today - to be messengers of the Gospel, heralds of Christ, witnesses to God's merciful and saving action in the world - to ask God to guide them to know his will, to hear his voice, and, perhaps, to look to their future as priests to serve God's people.

Pray for all who are thinking they might be so called...


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Propaedeutic Seminary Course

Propaedeutic Seminary Course

With 0 Comments, Category: Discerning Priesthood, News and Events, Preparing for Seminary,

What does "propaedeutic" mean?

In short, "propaedeutic" is a technical word in the Church for "preparatory".  However, we don't simply use the word "Preparatory" as that might suggest that such a course is not really part of formation for priesthood, or is somehow not that important.  Rather, we want to suggest that those who are undertaking this course while, certainly, "preparing" for the full seminary course of philosophy and theology studies which lies ahead, are at the same time already engaged in formation for priesthood.  It is an "Initial" stage of seminary life and training for priesthood, although it might also be a preparation for the full formation programme which will begin afterwards.

Following the injunction of Pope Saint John Paul II in Pastores Dabo Vobis that “there be a sufficient period of preparation prior to Seminary formation” (PDV, 1991, #62) many countries around the world made provision for such a period of initial preparation for students for the priesthood before they enter the full rigours of philosophical and theological studies in the major seminary.  From 2010, under the auspices of “Priests for Scotland”, the Bishops of Scotland provided a brief period of between three and five weeks in late August and early September for students who were about to head off to seminary. This took place each summer at the Royal Scots College in Salamanca.

So what is a "Propaedeutic Course"?

A propaedeutic course is intended to provide candidates for the Priesthood with aspects of spiritual and human formation for priesthood within a community setting. It is intended to help them explore their faith, deepen their relationship with Christ and reflect on what a vocation to be a priest means for them, so that they can be all the better prepared to enter into the academic and formational programme provided by the major seminary. It offers an Initial Formation, aimed at equipping them with a deeper understanding of priesthood, of the Church they seek to serve, of prayer, and of the various dimensions and themes which unite in the seminary formation which lies ahead of them. As a programme of formation, what is offered aims to provide as broadly-based and comprehensive a catechetical curriculum as possible, looking at the major aspects of any Christian formation (see the General Directory for Catechesis, #85-86):

  • Knowledge of the Faith,
  • Formation in prayer,
  • Preparation for and reflection on sacramental life
  • Formation in moral life
  • Formation for community living
  • Preparation for mission, keeping in mind the Church’s project of a New Evangelization

The opportunity offered to seminarians through a propaedeutic period, to deepen their faith and develop a more intimate relationship with the Lord, only makes sense in a community context. This is, in part due to what Pastores Dabo Vobis notes as the essential feature of discipleship as we find it in the Gospels: “To be with him”. That is: to join with others in company with the Lord, in order to learn from Him and become more like Him. It is also due to the fact that diocesan priesthood, which is the ultimate goal of this formation, is characterised above all by a life of service to the Christian community, and is rooted in a spirituality of service to that community. To help develop that spirituality and to express it most fully, Pastores Dabo Vobis (#31) says that all priestly formation should be placed in the context of - and be inspired by - an “essential and undeniable ecclesial dimension” of priesthood.  Even if our priests might work in "one-man-parishes", it is essential that they have developed a strong sense that they are not "lone workers", but rather servants of a community, either the local parish or parishes where they work, or the wider Church itself of which they are representatives, witnesses and servants.

“It is a good thing that there be a period of human, Christian, intellectual and spiritual preparation for the candidates to the Major Seminary. These candidates should, however, have certain qualities: right intention, a sufficient degree of human maturity, a sufficiently broad knowledge of the doctrine of the faith, some introduction into the methods of prayer, and behaviour in conformity with Christian tradition.” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 62)

In practice, Initial Seminary Formation - our name for the "Propaedeutic Period" - aims to support the development of the student’s personal life of faith through:

  • opportunities to deepen their personal life of prayer;
  • an introduction to Sacred Scripture as the Living Word of God;
  • an introduction to the Liturgy and the Paschal Mystery;
  • reflection on the person of Christ and the mystery of the Church;
  • regular spiritual direction and opportunities such as days of recollection;
  • lived experience of the communitarian dimension of the Christian (and priestly) vocation.

As Pastores Dabo Vobis suggests, spiritual formation also requires an authentic and balanced human formation: “It is important that the priest should mould his personality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ” (PDV, #43).

In this regard, seminarians who are engaged in this initial stage of formation will be encouraged to:

  • take responsibility for aspects of the shared life of the community;
  • participate fully in the community’s life, spiritually, liturgically, socially and materially;
  • generously place his talents and experience at the service of others;
  • conscientiously follow the Rule of Life laid out by College staff on behalf of the Bishops;
  • humbly and prudently reflect on his experiences, his relationships and his vocational sense as the period unfolds, so as to share a self-evaluation of his progress.

 

How does this all happen for those training to be priests in Scotland?Scots College Salamanca cloister

From January 2016, seminarians beginning their training for priesthood in the dioceses of Scotland head to the Royal Scots College in Salamanca. Founded in 1627 to train young men to serve as priests in Scotland, the College takes on the role of beginning this process for all our seminarians.

Courses undertaken include:

  • Spirituality - exploring prayer, traditions of prayer, prayer practices and the devotional life;
  • Liturgy (both the Mass and the Prayer of the Church, or "Divine Office") and the Sacraments;
  • Introductions to Scripture - the Gospels, the Old Testament and in particular the Psalms;
  • the person of Jesus: how we understand what the Scriptures and the Church says about him, what we believe about him and how we form a relationship with Him;
  • the Church and how we understand it, sense our belonging to it, and recognise its "marks" as one, holy, catholic and apostolic;
  • Church history, especially the story of the Church in Scotland;
  • the nature of faith, the Creed and how we express and understand our faith;
  • Evangelisation, Mission and the call to witness to our faith;
  • aspects of our lived faith: Catholic Social Doctrine and moral thinking

In addition, there are courses and reflections on human development, our human capacities, relationships and personal growth as well as a variety of pastoral themes and opportunities to meet and hear from priests engaged in ministry in a variety of contexts, or with various responsibilities, to give insights into what diocesan priesthood can  look like.

teresa-of-avila-images-of-self-and-god-2-728

As well as all this, however, there are many valuable opportunities offered by living for these months in Spain, and especially in that part of the country which has been home to saints and scholars over the centuries: St Teresa of Ávila, St John of the Cross, St Ignatius Loyola, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (the Dominican "Father of Human Rights"), Miguel de Cervantes (author of "Don Quixote") and many others.  Included in the course, therefore, are excursions to places of interest both in the spiritual life and in cultural life more widely.

 


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Diocesan Vocations Directors

Diocesan Vocations Directors

With 0 Comments, Category: Discerning Priesthood, Featured, Preparing for Seminary, Vocations,

Each diocese in Scotland has a nominated priest whose role is to promote and foster vocations to the priesthood within each diocese.

In addition, the Diocesan Vocations Director is responsible for helping a potential candidate for priesthood discern their vocation, and, if both feel ready, when the time is right, to suggest that the candidate begin the formal process of application for studies for priesthood

Below are the contact details for the Diocesan Vocations Directors from around Scotland:

Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Rev. Michael John Galbraith
St James'
17 The Scores
ST ANDREWS
KY16 9AR
01334 472856

stjames.standrews@gmail.com

Diocese of Aberdeen

Rev. Keith Herrera
Cathedral Clergy House
20 Huntly Street
ABERDEEN
AB10 1SH
01224 640 160

administrator@cathedral-abdn.org

Diocese of Argyll and The Isles

Rev. Michael Hutson
St. Andrew's
Columshill Street
Rothesay
ISLE OF BUTE
PA20 0HX
01700 502 047

timeheldmegreenanddying@gmail.com

Diocese of Dunkeld

Father Michael Carrie
9 Muirnwood Place
Monifieth DD5 4JL
01382 539476

mailto:frmichaelcarrie@outlook.com       Dunkeld Vocations Website

Diocese of Galloway

Rev. William Boyd
St. Mary's
15 West Rd
IRVINE
KA12 8RE
01294 279 130

wh.boyd@btinternet.com

Archdiocese of Glasgow
Rev. Ross Campbell
Turnbull Hall
15 Southpark Terrace
Glasgow
G12 8LG
0141 339 4315

rrcchaplaincy@gla.ac.uk                  Archdiocese of Glasgow Vocations Facebook Page

Diocese of Motherwell

Rev. Brian Lamb
St Joseph's
Mayberry Place
Blantyre
South Lanarkshire
G72 9DA
01698 823896

info@sjblantyre.org                   Motherwell Diocesan Website Vocations Page

 

Diocese of Paisley
Rev. John H. Morrison
St. Patrick's
5 Orangefield Place
GREENOCK, UK PA15 1YX
118 Brediland Road
PAISLEY
PA2 0HE
01505 813103

johnmorrison1976@gmail.com            Read the Paisley Diocese Vocations Newsletter for 2016

 


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Why should I be a priest?

Why should I be a priest?

With 0 Comments, Category: Discerning Priesthood,

Why should I think of becoming a Priest?

In his book The Joy of Priesthood Fr. Stephen Rossetti writes,

“Many generous young people want to commit themselves to a life that stretches them and that will in the end mean something. (…) Priesthood, when lived with integrity, is such a life.” (Page 13, Ave Maria Press) Recently I heard a priest saying that people often asked him why he became a priest? He said that for him this is the wrong question. The correct question is “why are you still a priest?” he goes on to recall the many challenging situation into which he has been called to minister. He speaks about the privilege of working with young people and with older people. He talks about how he has been honoured to share faith and celebrate the Eucharist. These and many other reasons he concludes are why I am still a priest! Why should you think of becoming a priest? Because you feel called to proclaim the gospel and lead others to Christ; you feel called to a life that will stretch you but will make a difference.

How do I know if God is calling me to be a priest?"

I would guess that this question above all others is the one that vexes most people who might be considering, even tentatively, the idea that they would like to serve as a diocesan priest. For if God doesn’t want me to be a priest then I am happy to leave the idea to one side but if this is what God wants for me then I am sure that I will be happy and fulfilled as a priest. If this is what God wants I am eager to serve. The question is of course a good one, even a gifted one, because it demonstrates an openness to God’s will and an acceptance of the idea that God may be offering a direction for my life. Whether or not I will ever become a priest the idea that God wants to be involved in my future is important.

How do I know what God intends for me?

The answer to the question lies in my experience of God and in an appreciation that God has gifted me for a purpose and that purpose must surely be the building up of his kingdom in service to those I meet.Perhaps you could think of the priests that you have known? Can you appreciate their gifts and do you share any of those qualities? Can you see yourself serving in a similar role? The gospels make clear that Jesus surrounded himself with a variety of different people. Some of those called he invited to become his closest associates. That varied group of men and women shared a variety of backgrounds, qualities and gifts. Peter, a fisherman who is sometimes strong in faith but at others strong in will; floundering and searching for the truth.Matthew, a tax collector who must have had to overcome some opposition as he strove to align his life to Christ and to follow him. Thomas who was hesitant in faith and needed to see the evidence for himself.If the variety of priests has not convinced you that there is no such thing as a typical aspirant to priesthood then just look at the scriptures for a similar range of characters.

But how will I know if it is God that is calling me?

So knowing what God asks any of us flows from us knowing God. Later in another homily the Pope went on to say, “This is not a matter of mere intellectual knowledge but of a profound personal relationship, a knowledge of the heart, of one who loves and is loved; of one who is faithful and one who knows to be trustworthy.” (Priests for Jesus Christ, page 41, Family Publications)

Recognising your Giftedness

Talk to other people

Remember that God speaks to us through people and gifts us with our experience as Church. Try talking to others about your interest in becoming a priest. Perhaps there is a priest that you know who would encourage you and guide you. Take things at your own pace.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

With 0 Comments, Category: Discerning Priesthood,

[learn_more caption="How long will it take to become a priest?"]

Formation programmes vary enormously and can range from five to seven years depending on the nature and background of the candidate. While programmes can be tailored to the needs of the individual they generally involve the candidate receiving substantial education in philosophy and of theology. Along with his intellectual formation time also needs to be given to forming the seminarian as a pastoral minister, spiritually rooted and mature and capable of ministering in a compassionate, mature and stable way. The years of training also include significant times of discernment about the vocation to priesthood, including the support of spiritual directors. Following this time of preparation and discernment, the Bishop may call the candidate to ordination.

[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="Who should consider becoming a priest?"]It is important to say that there is no such thing as a typical priest or indeed a typical seminarian. Diocesan priests in Scotland offer a rich variety of characters, talent and interests.

A suitable candidate should be single with average, or above average intelligence. He should be emotionally stable and capable of relating well to men and women. He should be in good health and be sincerely interested in serving as an ordained minister. Anyone attracted to becoming a priest should be interested in working with people and in serving God.

Clearly as a prospective minister in the Roman Catholic Church a suitable candidate should have a desire to serve the Church. He also needs to have a working grasp of things Catholic and be ready to embrace the vision of the Church as outlined by the Second Vatican Council and subsequent official Church documents. A suitable candidate should be generous in spirit and ready to take on the challenge involved in the seminary formation programme and in following Jesus Christ in his Church - signs of his willingness to set aside his own preferences or ambitions in order to serve in whatever circumstances or tasks are asked of him. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="What does a priest do?"]

The particular ministry that a priest might get involved in depends on several factors. Firstly the needs of the Church, especially the needs of the diocese in which he serves, the ordained minister has after all placed his life at the service of the Church under the authority of the diocesan bishop, but a priest’s own interests and talents are also important. Besides serving in a parish community, he may be asked to put his talents at the service of young people, in an educational role, in supporting people discerning their vocations in life, or in roles supporting people in particular circumstances - such as the disabled, the elderly, the sick - or in spiritual direction. A diocesan priest spends much of his time celebrating the sacraments; Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Marriage and Anointing. He will often be involved in helping individuals, couples or families to prepare for special sacramental moments.  He will be involved in visiting the sick, visiting the homes of people in his parish and working with various groups and organisations. His involvement with the people of the parish may lead him in any of a number of directions attending to the needs of young and old. He may find himself ministering in the local school or university. He will spend time with those caught up in the sadness of death or the joy of new birth. The priest working in a parish strives to be available to the community whenever he is needed. He will be involved in offering counsel and comfort. He is also a spiritual leader in the community. Along with his parishioners, he addresses issues that touch all members of the community, particularly those who are abandoned and forgotten. On a daily basis, some of his time has to be set aside for prayer, especially the Liturgy of the Hours.

Most priests working in parishes are responsible for all ministry provided by the parish. He is also responsible - and accountable - for the administration and general organisation of the parish. Having said all this a priest is also charged with care of self. He must find time to relax, to look after himself and to recharge his batteries.

[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="Why become a diocesan priest?"]

Everyone looks for meaning and fulfilment in life. As Catholics we look to our faith in God and the person of Jesus to provide us with that meaning and fulfilment. It is in the service of God that ultimately we find our calling as Christians. Discovering our place in God’s plan allows us to discover what form that service might take; single, married, religious or as an ordained priest. As a result, and after serious reflection, prayer and study, some men feel that they are called to ordained service as a priest.

. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="What is a Diocesan Priest? "]

A priest who is committed to working within a particular geographical area, for example Galloway, under the direction of the Diocesan Bishop is a Diocesan priest. Most often diocesan priests will work in a parish and live close by its church. In many dioceses, particularly in rural areas, the priest may have responsibility for more than one parish and, while living in one of them, he may have to travel to several other churches or Mass stations.

In addition to serving the needs of people in the context of the parish, diocesan priests will often find themselves caring for people in hospitals, prisons, schools, or other settings.

[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="How old should applicants be?"] This varies from diocese to diocese. Church law lays down that a man should be at least 24 or 25 before he is ordained as a priest. Since seminary courses normally last 6 or 7 years, applicants should have completed, or be about to complete secondary school - about 18 years old at the very least.  In fact, many dioceses encourage applicants of that age to continue into higher education or work before entering the seminary, to gain some experience of life beyond school, to develop skills or talents which might enhance their future service of the Church or simply to ensure a more mature and stable understanding and grasp of what priestly life might mean for them. Applicants are often considered even into their forties, and some dioceses will consider, depending on circumstances, candidates in their fifties or even in their sixties. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="What academic background do I require?"] The application process does not focus on the applicant’s academic background alone but instead it takes an overview of the applicant’s abilities and skills in many different areas. Having said that, as a minister of the Gospel priests have to deliver homilies which necessitate an ability to study and prepare well. Also, the seminary process itself will involve perhaps as many as seven years of formation including academic study. It would therefore be foolish to suggest that an applicant’s academic background is unimportant. Applicants leaving school should aim to present university standard qualifications, but older applicants or applicants with other skills may be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="What should I do now?"]Having considered the way forward you should contact your Diocesan Vocations Director. A list of directors is available here. Chatting your feelings through will help you to clarify whether you feel called to priesthood. Your diocesan vocations director may also be able to offer some accompaniment and direction that may help to structure your discernment. Also look out for the various events that are scheduled from time to time by Priests for Scotland. For example, if you feel ready, you may wish to take part in our annual enquirers’ retreat, which takes place around "Good Shepherd Sunday" in April or early May. This is a no commitment time out to explore the call to ordained service. Other events will be advertised on this website from time to time so don’t forget to check back!  You might consider "liking" us on Facebook or following us on Twitter (see right for the link).[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="What should I do now?"]In short: ask someone (especially a local priest) about priesthood or get in touch with the Vocations Director in your local diocese. He will help you work out whether or not you might have a vocation to be a priest, and, in time, suggest that you take part in the Process for Application for Seminary in Scotland (PASS). This Process is a four-month long programme of weekends and discernment which is mandatory for those seeking to enter seminary for a Scottish diocese. During the period you will be offered regular meetings with a Spiritual Director, with your Diocesan Director of Priestly Vocations and attend a number of retreat weekends run by the Diocesan Vocations Directors from around the country. This gives you the opportunity to meet and chat to priests who will be happy to share their experience of serving as ordained ministers in Scotland. At the same time you will be invited to submit your application for seminary. Numbers vary, but on average there can be from as few as six to as many as twelve men involved in this process. For more information see The Process for Seminary Application. Running the process of discernment and application to seminary together can be very helpful since often applicants grow in confidence as they hear from representatives of the Church that God may be calling them applicant to priesthood.

If you are accepted as a candidate for seminary you will be invited to take part in our Propaedeutic Period (or "Initial Seminary Formation" course). This is a six month course that takes place in the Royal Scots College in Salamanca, Spain, from January to June each year. It aims to prepare participants for seminary with some foundational courses that should help the candidate to settle into the seminary programme more easily, some exploration of the spiritual life and reflection on one's own personal vocational journey.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption="What can you tell me about seminary?"] Why not check out the seminary for yourself at http://www.scotscollege.org/ Most priests have good memories of their seminary days. Although the course can at times be demanding most students would say that they enjoy getting to grips with the various philosophical and theological courses. Most students enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow students and they find that the six or seven years that they may spend at seminary pass very quickly. While the Scots College Rome is our national seminary we do have seminarians at other seminaries both in Rome and elsewhere. In addition, why not look at the Royal Scots College in Salamanca, where we run our Propaedeutic or "Initial Seminary Formation" course each year http://www.scots-college-salamanca.org[/learn_more]

 


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