WHAT IS DISCERNMENT?
For twenty centuries, God has called men to serve Him as priests.
For a handful, like St. Paul, the call is immediate and unmistakable. A few are guided by a quiet certainty since childhood, that life as a priest is all that they can imagine.
For most, the call is more subtle—and in our hectic and relentlessly secular age, more likely to be drowned out. For all candidates, regardless of the age at which they begin the process, seminary formation is ultimately a process of discernment, of seeking the answer to the question “what is God’s plan for me?” Beyond the coursework and the changes in of lifestyle, this is a question that can only be answered through prayer.
It is for this reason that the chapel is the heart of the seminary, for it is there that God’s will can be found and the groundwork laid for priests who will be men of prayer. For the professors and spiritual directors, the obligation is the same: with God’s help and the benefit of their own experience, to guide candidates to properly discern the divine plan.
Contact Fr. Ackerman
No one can discern their appropriate vocation without seeking advice and counsel. Fr. Mike strongly encourages you to fill out the contact form on this site, or call or email him directly.
Prayer & Reflection
Above all, a potential candidate for the Priesthood must concentrate on his prayer life. The call to the Priesthood, and the strength to persevere in that call, depend on a deep and fruitful spiritual life, the seeds of which can only be nourished by prayer. Mary, Mother of the Church, is also the Mother of Priests, and it is to her that every man who feels called to the Priesthood should entrust his vocation.
Formal Faith Formation
Strengthened by hope and prayer, the candidate must then test the call through the process established by the Church for the formation of priests. The first year at the seminary is the “year of spirituality” called for by the Second Vatican Council. In addition to classroom work, there is an intense emphasis in forming the whole man so he can better discern God’s plan for him.