When someone expresses an interest in the priesthood a process of further discernment begins. The following are typical stages in that process.
Conversation with God in personal prayer
It is vital to open your heart and mind to God, weighing our thoughts, feelings and motives in his presence. This may often also reveal to us the need for a conversion of life. This aspect of discernment is fundamental to the whole of the spiritual life and therefore must be part of every other stage of discerning a vocation. Regular Confession and a regular time of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament are highly recommended.
Conversation with parish priest or chaplain
The judgement of someone who is living the priestly life can help us to clarify our thoughts and attain a greater degree of objectivity. The parish priest or chaplain is often the most important point of contact between the inquirer and the diocesan vocation director.
Conversation with diocesan vocation director
It is good to approach the vocation director at an early stage of discernment. He will be able to give some guidance to the inquirer and link them with others in the same situation through discernment groups such as ‘Quo Vadis”.
Course of formal discernment and application process
Once the person discerning his calling feels he is close to putting himself forward as a candidate for seminary formation a more formal process begins. This may entail undertaking recommended reading, meeting with other inquirers for days of reflection and attending seminary visitation weekends at Oscott College or Allen Hall. The candidate will be asked to produce a personal profile, to make a declaration that he is not impeded from receiving Holy Orders and to produce evidence of valid Baptism and Confirmation. References will also be required. If in the light of this the candidate is considered suitable for interview they will also be asked to attend a psychological evaluation arranged by the diocese.
Interviews are arranged for a day in June/July. The candidate will be interviewed from the perspective of their human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral suitability.