Is God calling you?
Without being too clever about it, one could call the Catholic priesthood the civil service of the Lord. The sacrament is that which guarantees the on-going life of the church – the Body of Christ. Holy Orders maintains that relationship with God that is the right and privilege of His people.
The priesthood is the vehicle that God, through His Son, chose to maintain the regular flow of His grace and blessings through the sacraments. The priest, through this sacrament of Holy Orders, offers sacrifice to God (through the Mass); forgives sins (through the sacrament of Reconciliation); heals the sick according to the will of God (through the sacrament of Anointing); welcomes new people into God’s community the church (through Baptism) and cements with the love of God the union of man and woman in marriage (through the sacrament of Matrimony).
There are two types of priests: diocesan priests and priests who belong to an order. There are differences between the two options, with further distinctions broken down when looking at orders.
The diocesan route is a great option for many of our men. Diocesan priests tend to serve as a parochial vicar in any particular parish in the Diocese of Cleveland for around four years before they are moved to their next assignment. Later on in their vocation, many of these priests become a pastor of a particular parish, using their knowledge to guide the community forward. Make sure to visit the Cleveland Catholic Priesthood website for more information.
If you are interested in looking more into a specific religious order, here in Cleveland, there are three large options: the Benedictines, who run Benedictine High School (like our own Abbot Gary); the Franciscans, who run Padua Franciscan High School (where Fr. Bob went to high school) and the Franciscan Village; and the Jesuits, who run Saint Ignatius High School and John Carroll University (Pope Francis is a Jesuit). Of course, there are a host of other orders that you may wish to look into, like the Dominicans and the Congregation of the Holy Cross (whose brothers run Saint Edward High School; there are currently no Holy Cross priests in Cleveland). If you are interested in learning more about any of these orders, please visit their websites linked in this paragraph.
If you feel you may have a calling, we encourage you to spend some time with the religious community.
For more information on discerning a religious life: