Monday, August 07, 2006

When to apply?

"Last in, first out" is the expression used by a former Southwark Vocations Director to express the phenomenon of some men who apply for priesthood at the last minute and are then the first to leave seminary. Although sceptical when I first heard it, I have to say I now think he has a point.
It is not a good idea to make yourself known in February hoping to be admitted to a selection conference in March. One obvious reason is that it gives very little time for all the necessary paperwork to be completed.
More importantly, the vocation to priesthood is a vocation to a presbyterate lived in communion with the Bishop and one's fellow priests. It is good to get to know, and become friends with, other men who will be with you in seminary. It is not good to go to seminary 'alone' - sometimes you will find the going tough, and at those moments the friendship, encouragement and prayers of your friends will help you.
Over the course of the year we organise many events to bring our 'Seekers' together. These have an important element of formation. So you have a lot to gain from taking part in them. But they are also opportunities to get to know other young men, and in that sense each of the participants has a lot to contribute. It is important not to underestimate how encouraging it can be to go to an event that has committed, generous, joyful young men present, all seeking to discern God's will for their lives.
If you are thinking of applying, especially for next year, please do get in touch soon. You can email me at Southwark Vocations.

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