Thirty Quotes # 28

Thirty Quotes # 28

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“God wants us to be happy always”

If you were Pope Benedict, would you have written that sentence? I’m guessing most people would think God wants us to be ‘holy’; wouldn’t God want us to spend time praying, because we assume that is what it means to be holy? Perhaps God would want us always to be ‘compassionate’, taking care of others; after all, Jesus told his followers to be compassionate as their heavenly Father is compassionate? High up on the list would be ‘forgiving’: Jesus insisted that unless people are prepared to forgive others from the heart, they can scarcely expect God to forgive them.

You’ll have your own suggestions for things that God wants us always to be, but I bet few people would put ‘happy’ on that list: Pope Benedict did, thought, when he addressed poor children in Mexico, including children there who had suffered so much. So why is Pope Benedict so sure that God always wants us to be happy?

To be happy is to know you have what is really important: happiness is not wealth, power, influence, entertainment: happiness is knowing that what you need is exactly what God wants for you. And to know that you have all that God wants you to have is to be very fortunate indeed. After his resurrection, Jesus left behind gifts to ensure our happiness, gifts which provide us with what God wants for us: 1) a peace the world cannot give: with that peace, we need not be afraid, 2) the Holy Spirit, to teach us everything we need to know of God, 3) the power to forgive, because when we release others from the burden of the hurt they did to us, we release ourselves as well. Perhaps Pope Benedict chose happiness because he knows that only true happiness can make us free.

So…are you happy? And if not, what stops you from being truly happy?

 Rev. Robert Hill

(MARCH 23-29, 2012)
, Greeting to the children gathered at Plaza de la Paz in Guanajuato (León, 24 March 2012)

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About Priests For Scotland

About Priests For Scotland

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Being a priest serving the Catholic community in Scotland today is fast changing.  There are fewer engaged in active ministry than in the past and the Catholic population is changing - it is diminishing in size, the average age is increasing, it is becoming ever-more diverse, and, with the influence of our increasingly-secular world, regular church practice is declining.


And yet the tasks a priest will engage in - and the expectations of him from both within and outside the Church community - seem to increase as the years go by.


Consecration--Chalice--mass-hands--440949In all that, however, one essential truth remains: it is a privilege and a joy to give one's life in service of Christ and his People.  Whatever the daily demands and pressures, the expectations and worries a priest might experience, it remains an immense privilege to bring the healing power of Christ to the lives of the sick, the sinner, the lost; there is a powerful drive to build up the Kingdom of God in our communities, among our families, and in the hearts of individuals; it is a deep and unspeakable joy - and a responsibility before which every priest quakes - to feel that one is acting in the name of Jesus Christ, preaching his word, celebrating his life, and sharing his love and his sacrifice with the people of our time.

No one is a priest for himself alone: priesthood is always about giving out of love, in the name of Christ, for the good of others.  (more…)

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Ministry in a Digital World

Ministry in a Digital World

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The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World:
New Media at the Service of the Word.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The theme of this year's World Communications Day - The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word - is meant to coincide with the Church's celebration of the Year for Priests. It focuses attention on the important and sensitive pastoral area of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God. Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.
All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments. Gathered and called by the Word, the Church is the sign and instrument of the communion that God creates with all people, and every priest is called to build up this communion, in Christ and with Christ. Such is the lofty dignity and beauty of the mission of the priest, which responds in a special way to the challenge raised by the Apostle Paul: "The Scripture says, 'No one who believes in him will be put to shame ... everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Rom 10:11, 13-15).
Responding adequately to this challenge amid today's cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul's exclamation: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.
The spread of multimedia communications and its rich "menu of options" might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different "voices" provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.
Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a "soul" to the fabric of communications that makes up the "Web".
God's loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries, especially the many people in our day who experience uncertainty and confusion, "that God is near; that in Christ we all belong to one another" (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009).
Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put into practice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God concretely present in today's world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better future? Consecrated men and women working in the media have a special responsibility for opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human development. In this way the Word can traverse the many crossroads created by the intersection of all the different "highways" that form "cyberspace", and show that God has his rightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the new communications media, the Lord can walk the streets of our cities and, stopping before the threshold of our homes and our hearts, say once more: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).
In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world of communications to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and value of the human person. This is one of the ways in which the Church is called to exercise a "diaconia of culture" on today's "digital continent". With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, we must reaffirm the need to continue preparing ways that lead to the Word of God, while being at the same time constantly attentive to those who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage their seeking as a first step of evangelization. A pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the prophet Isaiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Is 56:7), can we not see the web as also offering a space - like the "Court of the Gentiles" of the Temple of Jerusalem - for those who have not yet come to know God?
The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing near to others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church's mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today's world to the new life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for our salvation. At the same time, priests must always bear in mind that the ultimate fruitfulness of their ministry comes from Christ himself, encountered and listened to in prayer; proclaimed in preaching and lived witness; and known, loved and celebrated in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.
To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heralds of the Gospel in the new "agorà" which the current media are opening up.
With this confidence, I invoke upon you the protection of the Mother of God and of the Holy Curè of Ars and, with affection, I impart to each of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2010, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.

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Too Busy To Read the Catechism?

Too Busy To Read the Catechism?

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For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged us to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is an easy and free way to do it. Simply enter your email address and - starting October 11, 2012 - you'll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you'll read the whole catechism in a year.

Click here.

Awesomely powered by @CatechismAPI

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To be a priest in Scotland

To be a priest in Scotland

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I am always struck by how tentative the process of discussing vocations can be.  Some people feel quite awkward, perhaps they are wary of committing themselves and unsure about what they are really feeling. I am equally struck by how much support and encouragement applicants for the priesthood can get from one another as they realise that they are not alone and can share their thoughts with like minded individuals. Perhaps an individual is not ready to share his thoughts with other applicants. Some enquirers derive more from a quiet informal chat with their parish priest or with their diocesan vocations director.

To be a priest in Scotland today is “a life worth living” and a path worth taking. So give it some quiet thought. It can be a challenging life but it can also be a very rewarding life where you are able to make a difference in the lives of others. The invitation to “make disciples of all the nations” is a command to each one of us. Are you thinking about becoming a priest? This site offers information and resources to help you in your process of discernment.

Please feel free to browse the site and contact the Priests for Scotland office or your local Diocesan Vocations Director if you would like more information or the opportunity to discuss the Lord's call.

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Pope Benedict to the Scottish Bishops

Pope Benedict to the Scottish Bishops

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Dear Brother Bishops,

I extend a warm welcome to all of you on your ad Limina visit to Rome. I thank you for the kind words that Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien has addressed to me on your behalf, and I assure you of my constant prayers for you and for the faithful entrusted to your care. Your presence here expresses a reality that lies at the heart of every Catholic diocese – its relationship of communio with the See of Peter, and hence with the universal Church. Pastoral initiatives that take due account of this essential dimension bring authentic renewal: when the bonds of communion with the universal Church, and in particular with Rome, are accepted joyfully and lived fully, the people's faith can grow freely and yield a harvest of good works.

It is a happy coincidence that the Year for Priests, which the whole Church is currently celebrating, marks the four hundredth anniversary of the priestly ordination of the great Scottish martyr Saint John Ogilvie. Rightly venerated as a faithful servant of the Gospel, he was truly outstanding in his dedication to a difficult and dangerous pastoral ministry, to the point of laying down his life. Hold him up as an example for your priests today. I am glad to know of the emphasis you place on continuing formation for your clergy, especially through the initiative "Priests for Scotland". The witness of priests who are genuinely committed to prayer and joyful in their ministry bears fruit not only in the spiritual lives of the faithful, but also in new vocations. Remember, though, that your commendable initiatives to promote vocations must be accompanied by sustained catechesis among the faithful about the true meaning of priesthood. Emphasize the indispensable role of the priest in the Church's life, above all in providing the Eucharist by which the Church herself receives life. And encourage those entrusted with the formation of seminarians to do all they can to prepare a new generation of committed and zealous priests, well equipped humanly, academically and spiritually for the task of ministry in the twenty-first century.

Hand in hand with a proper appreciation of the priest's role is a correct understanding of the specific vocation of the laity. Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking concept of their ecclesial role. Yet the Second Vatican Council's vision is that wherever the lay faithful live out their baptismal vocation – in the family, at home, at work – they are actively participating in the Church's mission to sanctify the world. A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give a strong impetus to the task of evangelizing society.

That task requires a readiness to grapple firmly with the challenges presented by the increasing tide of secularism in your country. Support for euthanasia strikes at the very heart of the Christian understanding of the dignity of human life. Recent developments in medical ethics and some of the practices advocated in the field of embryology give cause for great concern. If the Church's teaching is compromised, even slightly, in one such area, then it becomes hard to defend the fullness of Catholic doctrine in an integral manner. Pastors of the Church, therefore, must continually call the faithful to complete fidelity to the Church's Magisterium, while at the same time upholding and defending the Church's right to live freely in society according to her beliefs.

The Church offers the world a positive and inspiring vision of human life, the beauty of marriage and the joy of parenthood. It is rooted in God's infinite, transforming and ennobling love for all of us, which opens our eyes to recognize and love his image in our neighbour (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 10-11 et passim). Be sure to present this teaching in such a way that it is recognized for the message of hope that it is. All too often the Church's doctrine is perceived as a series of prohibitions and retrograde positions, whereas the reality, as we know, is that it is creative and life-giving, and it is directed towards the fullest possible realization of the great potential for good and for happiness that God has implanted within every one of us.

The Church in your country, like many in Northern Europe, has suffered the tragedy of division. It is sobering to recall the great rupture with Scotland's Catholic past that occurred four hundred and fifty years ago. I give thanks to God for the progress that has been made in healing the wounds that were the legacy of that period, especially the sectarianism that has continued to rear its head even in recent times. Through your participation in Action of Churches Together in Scotland, see that the work of rebuilding unity among the followers of Christ is carried forward with constancy and commitment. While resisting any pressure to dilute the Christian message, set your sights on the goal of full, visible unity, for nothing less can respond to the will of Christ.

You can be proud of the contribution made by Scotland's Catholic schools in overcoming sectarianism and building good relations between communities. Faith schools are a powerful force for social cohesion, and when the occasion arises, you do well to underline this point. As you encourage Catholic teachers in their work, place special emphasis on the quality and depth of religious education, so as to prepare an articulate and well-informed Catholic laity, able and willing to carry out its mission "by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God" (Christifideles Laici, 15). A strong Catholic presence in the media, local and national politics, the judiciary, the professions and the universities can only serve to enrich Scotland's national life, as people of faith bear witness to the truth, especially when that truth is called into question.

Later this year, I shall have the joy of being present with you and the Catholics of Scotland on your native soil. As you prepare for the Apostolic Visit, encourage your people to pray that it will be a time of grace for the whole Catholic community. Take the opportunity to deepen their faith and to rekindle their commitment to bear witness to the Gospel. Like the monks from Iona who spread the Christian message throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, let them be beacons of faith and holiness for the Scottish people today.

With these thoughts, I commend your apostolic labours to the intercession of Our Lady, Saint Andrew, Saint Margaret and all the saints of Scotland. To all of you, and to your clergy, religious and lay faithful I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Core Group

The Core Group

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Details on the Core Group

The Core Group of Priests for Scotland organises the work of the commission and provides oversight. Along with the National Director of Priests for Scotland the following are members of the Core Group.

Right Rev. Vincent Logan Bishop of Dunkeld

Rev. Paul Conroy

Rev. James MacNeill


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What Should I Expect From Seminary?

What Should I Expect From Seminary?

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'The broad aim of seminary formation is to provide a suitable context for vocational discernment and growth and to enable candidiates to become priests who are, "true shepherds of souls after the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest and shepherd". '

Norms for Priestly Formation~The Bishops' Conference of Scotland, 6.1

Seminary formation is organised around four principal areas of formation as laid out in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis ~ Human Formation, Spiritual Formation, Academic Formation and Pastoral Formation. The link below takes you to the 'Daily Life' section of the Pontifical Scots College website which details the content of these areas of formation further.



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First Steps

First Steps

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For most men who apply to become priests the attraction to ordained ministry will have been with them for some time. Perhaps they have been slow to reveal this thought to anyone else and have mulled it over quietly in their own mind...


So where do I start?  Well, the first step in exploring this feeling is to pray; listen to God’s Spirit in the depth of your heart.  There, in the quiet you will at the very least find the courage to take the next step.  You might, in fact, find a deeper sense of the call God has for you...

When you feel the time is right, you might wish to talk about your experience or your thoughts with your parish priest, or a priest you know, perhaps a spiritual director, or a chaplain you know from school, university or college.  They will guide you, help you talk out your thoughts - and perhaps your hesitations - and point you in the direction of your Diocesan Vocations Director (click for more).

The Diocesan Vocations Director will help you learn more about what a vocation to priesthood entails, how men are trained for diocesan priesthood, and will support you through a process of discerning just what is right for you, and how to proceed...

In some Dioceses, there may be opportunities offered to meet with like-minded men who are also thinking about priesthood as an option for them and discerning whether God might be calling them to serve him and the Church in this way.  Going along to these events or meetings doesn't mean you have to sign up, of course, but it can be a supportive way of exploring your thoughts and prayers with others going through the same process.
You may, of course, contact the Priest for Scotland office directly.

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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
KY16 9AR
01334 472856

Diocese of Aberdeen

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

Diocese of Argyll and The Isles

Rev. John Paul MacKinnon
Star of the Sea
01871 810267

Diocese of Dunkeld

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

Diocese of Galloway

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

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

Diocese of Motherwell

Rev. Brian Lamb
St Joseph's
Mayberry Place
South Lanarkshire
G72 9DA
01698 823896                   Motherwell Diocesan Website Vocations Page


Diocese of Paisley
Rev. John H. Morrison
St. Patrick's
5 Orangefield Place
118 Brediland Road
01505 813103            Diocese of Paisley Vocations Facebook Page

Read the Paisley Diocese Vocations Newsletter for 2016


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National Statement on Ongoing Formation

National Statement on Ongoing Formation

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The National Statement on Ongoing Formation can be downloaded from here.








“Permanent formation is a requirement of the priest’s own faithfulness to his ministry, to his very being. It is love for Jesus Christ and fidelity to oneself. But it is also an act of love for the People of God, at whose service the priest is placed.” (Pastores Dabo Vobis 70).

Having considered the matter at some length the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland believes that a commitment to Ongoing Formation needs to be clearly present in the lives and ministry of the priests of Scotland. Few people today would question that the environment in which a priest ministers has changed. Forty years ago many parishes were staffed by two, three or more priests. Today the priest often lives alone. Some priests have pastoral charge of two or more parishes. This increased workload may raise concerns that the pastoral ties that have traditionally supported priests with encouragement, offering them stability, sustainability and personal support, are at risk as priests offer themselves in the service of a much wider group of people. In this changing environment a commitment to Ongoing Formation is a necessary part of faithful ministry.

Ongoing Formation is not time off from the parish but a way of making ministry more faithful, more effective and more fruitful. There is always a natural tendency for priests to regard their professional Ongoing Formation as something personal and something not to be shared. However, experience has shown us the sometimes heavy price that we have to pay when priests work in isolation neither self regulating or regulated by their Ordinary.

In discussing a possible approach to Ongoing Formation it is worth noting that programmes, however well devised, do not constitute Ongoing Formation. Ongoing Formation is an attitude that must accompany pastoral service. Ministry should never be taken for granted or considered automatic.

The Content of Ongoing Formation

Initiatives in Ongoing Formation should seek to help the priest face new experience and cope with transition. Initiatives in Ongoing Formation should consider the following areas.

  • Ongoing Formation in the First Years of Ministry

The first years of priestly ministry are very important since they model practice and set a style of ministry. Newly ordained priests, like all priests, need to know in their own experience the “communitarian form” of ministry; that is that all ministry is a “collective work”. (PDV 17)

  • Ongoing Formation for Priests in Transition

Changes in appointment can have a high emotional cost and can be painful. There is the need for the priest to celebrate what has been achieved and to accept new challenges. Programmes in Ongoing Formation should support priests in transition.

  • Ongoing Formation on Becoming a Parish Priest

In assuming the role of Parish Priest the priest requires new skills particularly in the areas of communication and administration. These can be learned and should not be simply presumed.

  • Ongoing Formation After Some Years of Ministry.

As a result of his years of experience the priest at this stage of his journey can be tempted to think that he can manage on his own and that he needs no contact with anyone. Priests in this group, who form the majority of priests in Scotland, need to experience the continuing challenge of ministry.

  • Ongoing Formation and Older Priests

As a mark of gratitude for the part they continue to play in the life of the Church Pastores Dabo Vobis 77 suggests that programmes in Ongoing Formation should also make provision for older priests assuring them of the Church’s continuing care.


The National Statement on Ongoing Formation can be downloaded from here. National-Statement-OGF

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Follow in Faith

Follow in Faith

With 0 Comments, Category: Vocations Campaigns,

Throughout the Year of Faith, which begins this October, multi media stands will tour parishes promoting vocations and asking for prayers for vocations. Why no ask about it at your parish?







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Applying to Study for Priesthood in Scotland

Applying to Study for Priesthood in Scotland

With 0 Comments, Category: Preparing for Seminary,

What is the Process for Application to Seminary in Scotland?

The Process for Application to Seminary in Scotland (sometimes shortened to PASS) is based round a series of weekend retreats and scheduled meetings that begin the journey to seminary for applicants who wish to enter into priestly formation for priesthood in the dioceses of Scotland. There are at present three weekends in total, the emphasis of which throughout is prayer and discernment as the applicant is invited to consider the Lord’s call to service in his Church.  Normally, these will have been preceded by meetings with a Diocesan Vocations Director, who will assist an aspiring applicant in discerning whether or not the time is right to make a formal application and so begin the process.

How are these weekends arranged?

PASS weekends normally begin on a Friday evening around 6pm. The atmosphere at these weekends is normally one of recollected quiet since there is the need not only to spend time in prayer but also to allow God’s Spirit to be heard. The weekends are also about meeting like-minded individuals who are also thinking about a possible vocation to priesthood and are considering entering seminary. Thus, an important part of the weekends is the time spent socialising with fellow applicants. Applicants in the past have also been grateful for the opportunity to engage with a number of priests each of whom brings his own understanding and approach to priesthood. This is particularly the case with weekend four and it is hoped that as the process reaches its conclusion applicants will have a better understanding of themselves, of God, and of priestly ministry.

The weekends are arranged as detailed below. Each weekend involves some themed reflection, based on the key notions of getting to know God, getting to know oneself and getting to know the Church. There are discussion points, guided reflection offered by various serving priests, time for personal prayer and opportunities to meet on a one-to-one basis with Vocations Directors and others.

It is expected that all applicants attend all of these events, that they arrive in good time for all events and do not arrange to leave until the weekend is finished, (this is normally around 2pm on the Sunday afternoon). Applicants who might wish to attend these weekends must first make contact with their Diocesan Vocations Director (click here for more) who will decide whether to invite the applicant to take part in the process.

Who else is involved?

Along with your Diocesan Vocations Director you will normally be assigned a Spiritual Director. Both of these have a very specific role within the Seminary Application process. Your Diocesan Vocations Director should be your first contact regarding your progress through the application process. Your Vocations Director should be available to help you with the whole process, including the application form, the various elements of paperwork that need to be gathered (e.g. Baptismal certificates, references, PVG certificates, etc) and the tasks that need to be carried out. Your Spiritual Director has a different focus since the core of your discussion with your Spiritual Direction is your relationship with God. Matters shared with your Spiritual Director remain within that forum and the Spiritual Director has no other involvement within the application process.

During the second of the weekends, there will be time allocated to meet with an interview panel.  This is not a group who will decide whether or not you will be accepted for seminary (that decision is rightfully your bishop's decision to take), but rather will help to explore deeper how you are placed to enter into the various aspects of priestly formation - encompassing the spiritual, human, intellectual and pastoral dimensions the Church lays out. The interview group will present a report to your bishop to help him in his decision, along with your referees and Vocations Director, and to help you reflect on those areas which might require more focus once you move into the Seminary and priestly formation itself.

The Director of Priests for Scotland is responsible for having a general oversight of the process. He is responsible for presenting each bishop with a recommendation, based on what has been gleaned through the Process, regarding the suitability of an applicant to begin training to become a diocesan priest. The Process is, therefore, centred on the individual applicant but must also be mindful of the Church’s need for able priests. In other words, it is not only the applicant who is discerning whether or not he has a call to be a priest: the Church also has to assist in validating whether that vocation is authentic, properly motivated and freely chosen, and whether the individual has the potential to be able to serve the wider Church community as a priest.

So, if I think I might be called to be a priest, when do I start?

The whole Process, from discernment to entry into seminary runs from early in the year until December; the formal Application Process itself, with the associated weekend encounters, runs from September to December. Its purpose is to assist prospective candidates in discerning their future and to prepare them, after suitable assessment, for entry into the seminary process.  Anyone thinking about applying should do so some time before the summer, to allow time for those early discussions to take place, and for the Diocesan Vocations Director to be able to advise on the best way forward, including entering the Application Process.

On successfully completing the Application Process in the autumn months, and being accepted for seminary formation (normally towards the end of the year), applicants will head to the Royal Scots College in Salamanca, Spain, to begin their seminary formation with a "propaedeutic", or "Initial Seminary Formation" course which runs from January to June each year. Thereafter, the Bishop will decide where the training should take place - normally at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, but sometimes in other seminaries, perhaps in Rome or in England.
Further details can be obtained from the Diocesan Director of Priestly Vocations.

Each weekend begins with arrivals at 6.00pm. Applicants should speak to their Diocesan Director of Priestly Vocations before attending.

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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 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 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 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 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[/learn_more]


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With 0 Comments, Category: Vocations Campaigns,

The website that you are reading has been substantially recreated and upgraded. We hope it can offer some information and help to those considering life as a diocesan priest in Scotland - and some inspiration and support for those already serving the Church in this wonderful way!

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