Melbourne News

Young men who have heard the call

Fr Brendan Lane, Kairos Catholic Journal, Thursday 6 March 2014

THE most important thing for all of us is to discern God’s will for our lives. If someone has a call to the priesthood, then following it is the freest thing he can do.

More and more, God seems to be intervening in the lives of young men and making their vocation to the priesthood clear. World Youth Day has helped many to respond. The calls have always been there, but positive answers have not. The tide is turning; today’s new priests and seminarians are at the beginning of the new wave.

God is persistent and speaks to us through the events and experiences of life. I would urge a young man considering the priesthood to pray, reflect and seek guidance from a spiritual director and, if it is right for him, to go for it. A ‘leap of faith’ must be made, but it will not be regretted.

The decision is counter-cultural and it involves sacrifices. Nevertheless, these sacrifices are worthwhile if one has faith. In the end, it is our faith that matters.

Corpus Christi College is an international seminary. Half our seminarians are born in Australia or have grown up here, and most of the other half are from Asia. We take students from Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Korea, and also from Africa. We have a similar ethnic mix to that found in the parishes of our major cities. We also try to keep a balance so that seminarians can be enculturated into the Australian Church and society.

The greatest challenge for seminarians from overseas is becoming proficient in English. They must be able to preach and be understood. They put an enormous effort into this and receive a lot of help. Understanding the Australian accent can take some months. Then seminarians have to try to understand the Australian sense of humour and finally, over a long period of time, they learn some of the ‘slang’ or colourful expressions we use. They also have to grapple with the secular culture they find here, which is so different to
what they have grown up with.

For the Australian seminarians, the challenge is to make a commitment, to move from discerning to deciding. The culture says that you should ‘keep your options open’. Maturity involves closing options and committing to a chosen path. Some find this hard. Others find the challenge of conversion a big one. They may have lived the lifestyle of the youth culture of today, and coming to the seminary involves a real change of lifestyle. Seminary formators and spiritual directors support them in making this transition.

Please pray for our seminarians as they begin training to commit their lives to God and his Church.

Photos by John Casamento