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Community Forums > Ambassadors Connect > Child considering priesthood View modes: 
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elaine - 7/8/2011 9:38:23 PM
Child considering priesthood I am hoping someone might be able to shed some light on the issue of Jesuits being the premier order of priests within the Catholic Church.

My fifteen year old son has expressed interest in becoming a Catholic priest and medical doctor.  His associations with God are all positive.  From the time he could understand I have told him that God loves him and that His love is unconditional.  He is already very well read and genuinely appreciates the insight of great thinkers.  I am currently working on my Masters Degree in Comparative Religion and Philosophy; he has read many of my papers and studied right along side me.  He has travelled to Europe three times now and has expressed interest in eventually living in France and Germany.

My husband is not Catholic, but is comfortable with my son considering the priesthood.  However, when the topic comes up, he has at least three times now advised our son to become a Jesuit.  My husband has had very little interaction with the Catholic tradition, but the Catholic school near his hometown near Chicago is Jesuit and he has always been told, "they're the smartest."

I was raised at a dinner table that often had priests for dinner. My father  who didn't have guests over very often limited his contact to those who provided intellectually and spiritually stimulating conversation.  All the American priests that visited our home in Europe spoke multiple foreign languages, were highly intelligent and very well read.  One was fluent in Latin and Greek and translated old texts when he wasn't teaching at universities. 

As far as I know, none of them were Jesuits.  Because of this I have defended the other orders and told my husband that I do not believe that the Jesuits are the only intellectuals of the Church and that our son should be able to pick any order he feels drawn to.  My husband has remained quite insistent so I thought I would turn to this community for your thoughts.

My son is mentally strong and spiritually sensitive.  He is not opposed to the rigors of learning, but I know him well and he is not interested in academia only.  He really wants to represent God and help people.  I use religion in therapy with patients in the psychiatric practice in which I serve and my son has seen people come off medications, manage their symptoms and change their lives because they turned to God for help.  It is from this background that my son will be entering the world.
Father Barron, you have been a very positive influence on both my sons.  They have watched many of your videos and sermons and think you are brilliant.  You are definitely influencing them.  After we watched The Rite a couple weeks ago, my younger son asked me if I thought you had anything to say about the film.  We found your video right away. 

Your thoughts on this would be of great value to our family, but particularly to my son who might be making the biggest choice of his life in just a few years.  I know that he will take your thoughts into consideration.

with kindest regards
and in our Lord's name,


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Joe - 7/11/2011 1:38:36 PM
RE:Child considering priesthood Dear Elaine,

It is great that your son is considering a vocation to the priesthood.  The big difference between a Jesuit and a diocesan priest is that a Jesuit is incardinated into a religious order and a diocesan priest is incardinated into a particular diocese.  This makes a big difference in what type of ministry he would do, where he would live, how he would live (in community, at a high school or university, at a parish, etc...) and to whom he would be obedient.

I would recommend participating in a Jesuit "come and see" weekend or retreat, and also a diocesan seminarian "come and see" weekend.  This should provide ample first hand information for him to move forward in his discernment.  We can't love what we don't know, so he needs to truly learn about these vocations (as well as marriage or any other religious order he might be interested in) before he can begin to understand which one God is calling him to. 

Final advice: take it to prayer.  Thinking alone will not reveal God's will for us.  Prayer is absolutely necessary. 

I will keep him in my prayers.  God bless,


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elaine - 7/12/2011 1:32:38 AM
RE:Child considering priesthood  Dear Joe,

Thank you for taking time to reply.  I like your recommendation that my son participate in a Jesuit retreat.  I have shared with him parts of "Consoling The Heart of Jesus" written by Father Michael Gaitley.  If you're not familiar with it, it's a weekend long do-it-yourself retreat based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.  My son thought it was very interesting.  I am certain he would be open to personally attending the real thing as well as other retreats offered by other orders.

For now I have ordered some books for him; one is a guide to the different orders and the other recounts their history and contributions.

And you are absolutely right.  The greatest response will come to my son during prayer.  He is a remarkably kind person.  I am certain God will guide him.

Again, I appreciate your time, your insight and your prayers.

God bless,

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Des - 1/22/2013 5:41:08 PM
RE:Child considering priesthood  I'm not sure about the dre beats post above! But I do think that your son is fortunate to have such intelligent and considerate parents.
my advice, for what it's worth, is to take your time, and to enjoy the process of discernment. I suspect that the Jesuits would love to have your son in their company especially if he decides to become a medical doctor! 
Have a chat with vocation directors, nothing too formal, they will be delighted to help you. Remember, enjoy the journey!
your son sounds like a wonderful child with a great future ahead of him! 



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