Q. I’m concerned my son will be lonely as a priest. Is that the case?
A. That’s the common perception. But professionals tell us loneliness knows no boundaries…there are the lonely married and the lonely single. Avoiding loneliness has more to do with having people you can love and people who love you. Priests have dozens of people who open their hearts to them and, in turn, priests welcome their parishioners into their lives. So, priests, like other people, are lonely only if they choose to be lonely.
Q. I wonder if my son will be happy and contented without a wife and family?
A. Marriage is one avenue (and a beautiful one) to finding joy in life for those called by God to that vocation. But priesthood is another way of finding joy for those called to that vocation. Remember, God created your son to experience a deep joy in his life. If our Lord is calling your son to priesthood, he will find joy. It’s inconceivable that our Lord would call your son to a life of misery.
Q. We’ve always wanted our son to be successful. But priesthood isn’t really successful today is it?
A. It depends on who is defining success. Society places a lot of emphasis on being successful in the world (job, job title, things one owns, etc.). But for the faithful person, the bigger question is: “What does God consider successful”? If we give our life to God, and follow the path for which he created us, we’ll be successful in his eyes. It takes courage to value success in God’s eyes as more important than what society deems successful.
Q. Maybe I’m being selfish but we want grandchildren and our name to be carried on to the next generation. Any thoughts on this?
A, It’s healthy and natural to want grandchildren and to have your name carried onto the next generation. But remember it was God who gave you the gift of your son. Maybe one way to thank God for the gift is to say: “Lord, in thanks for the gift of our son, we give him back to you…use him however you need him on earth. We will support him for whatever vocation you created him.”
Another idea: In the Our Father prayer, we say “thy will be done.” They are some of the hardest words in all of scripture because to do God’s will, sometimes means that our will must die. If God is calling your son to priesthood, you may be asked to sacrifice as well (with respect to the dream of grandchildren and the carrying on of the name). In this case, your joy may come from a place you never expected…the joy of experiencing your priest son impacting the lives of hundreds of people.
Q. If my son enters the seminary and finds out it’s not for him, is he committed to the priesthood?
A. No. The seminary is a place a man goes to further pray about his possible vocation as a priest. If, during the years of seminary, a man determines that he’s not called to be a priest, he is free to leave and marry in the future if he chooses.
Q. What can I do to encourage my son to be open to the possibility of priesthood?
A. Parental support of a man considering priesthood as an option in his life is critical. Simply telling him that you would welcome his decision to enter a seminary is a huge boost to a man who values his parents’ opinion. Telling your son that you think he’d be a fine priest may open the door for him to consider the possibility of priesthood more seriously.
Parents honored but worried when sons discern priesthood
Parents have a tremendous influence on their children and are the primary religious educators of them...more