Signs of a vocation to the priesthood

Seminarians from the Diocese of Davenport served various roles at the Chrism Mass April 15 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Pictured are, from left, Dane Dickinson, Ben Snyder, Grant Colborn, Isaac Doucette, Andrew Rauen­buehler, James Flattery and Dale Mallory.

By Father Joseph Sia

We continue our discussion on the signs of a vocation to the priesthood. First, a recap from last time: A good candidate to the priesthood should know and love Jesus Christ and have a thirst to bring Jesus and his teachings to the world.

Here are some more signs of a good candidate for seminary:

He should be a believing, practicing Catholic and a man of prayer. Yes, this sounds obvious, so let me explain. As a reflection of his love for Jesus, a man who feels called to be a priest ought to be attending Sunday Mass faithfully and even weekday Mass when possible. He has a profound belief in the real presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He is constantly seeking the companionship of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. He goes to confession and adoration regularly. He may have a desire to pray the devotions such as the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. He has a fairly good knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other church documents. If he struggles to understand certain church teachings, he has the humble attitude to realize that what the church espouses is life-giving truth; therefore, he will open himself to the Holy Spirit so that he can have the gifts of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. The seminary will then be the place for him to explore the depths of his questions and find the answers based on God’s Word.


He should live and desire a life of service to others. His profound prayer life and relationship with Jesus Christ in turn compels him to practice charitable acts, such as the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. He is content with what he has received and is not selfish in sharing his gifts with others. He is willing to give his personal time to serve the poor and less fortunate. Already, he should be showing signs of being like Christ, who came “to serve, not to be served.”

If you think he’ll make a good husband or father, then he will also probably be a good priest! After all, in marriage the man mirrors Jesus Christ, who is the groom to his bride, the church. Jesus is the perfect example of a loving husband. Therefore, the qualities that make a good husband also make a good priest. Such a man is mentally, emotionally and spiritually mature. He is physically and psychologically stable. He is comfortable in his identity as a beloved son of God. He has self-mastery. A man who knows how to love generously and celebrate the gift of life that God has given him can be a good husband — or priest!

If you’d like to know more about this topic, I suggest you visit or These websites have many resources that you can peruse to help you or someone you know to learn more about discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

(Fr. Sia is vocations director for the Davenport Diocese. Contact him at (563) 888-4255 or

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