Monday, April 02, 2007

Selection Conference

This year we have four candidates attending the Selection Conference at Wonersh. A fifth applicant is a former Anglican Clergyman and in such cases the procedures are slightly different. The Selection Conference starts at lunch time on Friday 20th April and ends after lunch on Sunday 22nd. There are currently eighteen candidates from the various dioceses booked in to attend.
The purpose of the Selection Conference is to try to discern whether a candidate has sufficient awareness of the priesthood to begin training. At the same time, it's not a test - no one expects of someone going into seminary the insights gained through years of formation! But the Conference can make an assessment of where the candidate is starting, his openness to formation and his capacity to study. It is on this basis that the Conference can make its recommendations to the Archbishop.
I've not been on a Selection Conference panel but I think we can make a fair guess at the sort of questions our candidates can expect. I would expect, for example, that a candidate be asked about his prayer and sacramental life. Does he have a Spiritual Director? What understanding does he have of the Church? Why does he want to be a priest? What does he understand a priest to do? I imagine there will also be questions about his emotional maturity, his understanding of celibacy and his interests and hobbies.
Please keep all our applicants and those from other dioceses in your prayers.

4 comments:

Alexander said...

Interesting stuff, it sounds kind of scary. Good thing my eparchy dosen't do these :)

Fr Stephen said...

Hello Alexander. I suppose it can be a bit daunting, but it's not really scary. Are you applying to your eparchy?

Alexander said...

I plan to in time, Father. I think I need more prayer (not to mention some singing lessons). There is no true vocation department so discerning can be frustrating at times since there are no retreats or anything.

Anyways you guys have an awesome blog. I wish we had something like this. I'm 18 and I can assure you young men my age will search the internet for vocation info and discernment advice long before going to their priest.

Fr Stephen said...

Hi Alexander
Thanks for the comment. I agree that the internet offers young people a 'safe' way of learning more about the priesthood - which is a pretty awesome commitment - before the need to take any formal steps. I know the Blog has helped a number of young men like you who are at the stage where they value some support.
I will keep you in my prayers. In the meantime my advice would be that, if you are planning to go to university before applying, to choose your course well: a subject you would enjoy that has some solid academic content. It would be good to get involved in those activities which seek to promote the 'culture of life' - whatever form best suits your character. Spiritually it would be good to meet up regularly with a priest who could help you with your prayer life.
I'd also suggest you don't put off contacting the Vocations Director until you are 'abosolutely certain' you have a vocation. In the end it is up to the Church to discern that, you will eventually have to allow her to take a look!
Finally, Christ calls when he wants to, young or old all that matters is that it's his call. If you perceive that call at eighteen don't be scared of giving Christ the ripe plum of your youth rather than the stewed prune of your old age!