Are you called to become a Vincentian priest? This is the question that brings you to this webpage. Finding the answer requires you to open your heart and dive into the work of discovering Christ’s call. If you are called by Christ to serve the Church as a Vincentian priest, it is in that life that you will find your joy and fulfillment. The Vocation promoters of the Vincentian Congregation are always ready to assist you as you seek to find the answer. Hearing the call is a matter of seriously engaging the process of discernment. Our vocation promoters provide the resources to support you in your discernment.
The call of a Christian to embrace the Consecrated Priestly life comes from God and is the manifestation of God’s love for that person. This love is absolutely gratuitous, personal and unique. “He now went up to the hills and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to preach” (Mk.3:13-14). Vocation to the Vincentian Congregation is a call to proclaim the Good news to the poor (Lk.4:18) and lead them to their total liberation.
Coming to an understanding of our call is a prayerful handling of the manifestations of God’s will that come to us through our skills and abilities, our hearts’ desire, the circumstances of our lives, and the encouragement of others. In Scripture we find many stories wherein God’s call was made manifest through some spectacular event, like a burning bush, an angelic messenger, or Christ Himself standing on the seashore. The reality is that our call will likely come in a much more subtle manner.
Hearing God’s call in our lives and responding to it is simply impossible without prayer. The only way we can ever expect to discern our vocation and have the faith to respond courageously is through a sustained life of prayer that develops and matures our communication and our relationship with the Lord. Daily participation in the Holy Eucharist is an unparalleled aid in discernment. Through Scripture, and in particular the Gospels, we grow in knowledge and love of Christ and become ever more familiar with the voice of the One we are seeking to follow. Mary is the mother of all Christian vocations. There is no one we can trust more to guide us in the discernment of our vocations than the Blessed Virgin. Praying with Mary is one of the more powerful ways to overcome our doubts and fears and make our own fiat to God and His call in our lives. These spiritual practices in your daily life will help you to come to understand the Lord ever more and His designs for you.
Christ may be calling you to follow, yet the many distractions of life can make it difficult to hear that call and respond. Vocation camps and retreats offer opportunities to step out of day to day life in order to spend time in prayer and reflection. Every year we arrange these camps and retreats in various places to give you the opportunity for prayer and reflection within the context of learning more about the Vincentian community and about God’s call. These sacred days provided the means for the discernment of your Vincentian vocation.
Seeds of your vocation are already planted in your heart. Spending time reflecting on your own thoughts with regard to your vocation can help to bring those seeds to life. A conversation with Vocation promoter is one of the greatest aids for all these and in discerning your vocation. Our Vocation promoters are always ready for your assistance. Their contact details are given below:
01. Rev. Fr. Mandapathil Denny - Vocation Promoter, Christu Nivas, Vincentian Minor Seminary, Thrikkakara, Kochi, 682021, Kerala, India; Phone - 0091 9487808794; E mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
02. Rev. Fr. Veliyathukunnel Mathew - Vocation Promoter, Vincentian Minor Seminary, P.B. No. 29, Chethimattom, 686575, Pala, Kottayam Dt., Kerala, India; Phone - 0091 7736369554; E mail - email@example.com
03. Rev. Fr. Vattamattam Antony - Vocation Promoter, Vincentian Minor Seminary, Munnoorpilly, Ezhattumugham P.O., Ernakulam Dt., 683577, Kerala, India; Phone - 0091 9656554390; E mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once, they left their nets and followed him (cf. Mt.4:18-20). The voice which lauded in the shores of Galilee… the voice which resonated in the ears of Simon Peter and Saul… the voice which instilled divine spark in the hearts of Vincent de Paul, Mother Theresa and Alphonsa... The same voice still resounds through the waves which break on the shores of the contemporary world. If you are prompted to commit your life in answering this call - cordial welcome to the Vincentian Congregation.
To join hands with God in proclaiming good news till the ends of the earth... through Popular Mission retreats, retreat centres like Divine, Potta etc., and through Bible conventions… to be a companion of those who stay alone at the fringe of their life… to be a guiding light for the youngsters through Educational Institutions… to be a soothing presence of divine kindness in the expansive arena of media… to become passionate witnesses of Christ after the heart of St. Vincent De Paul who spread the fragrance of love in the entire world - Vincentian Congregation extends warm welcome to God-seeking youngsters.
Stages of Vincentian Priestly Formation
The Vincentian Congregation has its specific formation program for the candidates to Priesthood. Formation is the process by which the one called by God prepares to lead a life as a priest in the Vincentian Congregation. Continued discernment is an essential part of formation, since the process gives him the tools and experience he will need in order to discern well. Our formation programs incorporate the pillars set forth by Saint John Paul II in Pastores dabo vobis: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. Since we are preparing men for religious life, our programs also emphasize formation for community life and for the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
Those who discern the call of God to priesthood are welcomed by the Vincentians and sent to various minor seminaries to be accustomed with different cultures and languages. No one enters the seminary completely certain about his vocation. For a man seriously considering priesthood or consecrated life, minor seminary is the best place to discern a vocation. Most of the Seminarians come after the High School studies. Some of them come after Plus Two studies or even after Degree or other higher educational qualifications. What they all have in common, is the commitment to discern whether God is calling them to serve His Church as a Vincentian priest. Seminarians live together, study together, work together and pray together. A regular schedule of common prayer, common meals, academic courses etc. helps them to grow and discern God’s will for their lives. By living the life of a seminarian, he grows in holiness and comes to understand whether this is God’s will for his life. This period of formation is normally three years. Together with the seminary curriculum special coaching will be given to the Plus Two courses so that by completing the Minor Seminary the Candidates will also complete their Plus Two. The candidates who successfully completed the minor seminary and convinced of their Vincentian Vocation will be promoted to the Novitiate.
Novitiate is a major and essential stage in the formation of a Vincentian. It shall be for one full year of duration. The purpose of the novitiate is to help the candidates to achieve an intimate and experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ, who is the foundation and source of consecrated priestly life. It is a time of initiation into the paschal mystery of Christ through detachment form self, especially in the practice of evangelical counsels (Chastity, Poverty and Obedience) and the five virtues proposed by St. Vincent De Paul. This phase, characterized by discernment and prayer, prepares the novice for their first profession of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
The candidates those who have completed the Novitiate and took their first Profession will be allowed to continue their secular studies in graduation according to their aptitude and talent. Philosophy studies are integral part of priestly formation. For this training a seminarian spends three years and acquires his degree in philosophy. This will permit the candidates to acquire knowledge of God and a Christian vision of man and of the world. This intellectual training should allow them to achieve a sense of purpose in life, personal convictions and certain maturity to face the problems of the modern word in a realistic manner. Those who have completed Degree studies may get a chance to do the post graduation privately during this time.
The candidates who have completed their philosophy shall undergo a period of regency. It is a period of at least one year in duration devoted for practical training in the Vincentian way of life. This will help the seminarians to deepen their understanding of future ministries. At the end of Regency worthy candidates shall be given Cassocks (Religious Habit) as a symbol of their religious commitment and be promoted for the Theology studies.
The last four years of priestly formation is dedicated for theology studies. This training enables them to become true shepherds of the souls after the mode of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the teacher, priest and shepherd. Here the students will be exposed to the study of Sacred Scriptures, all the theological disciplines of the church, canon law, moral theology, liturgy and other studies for pastoral formation. During these years the seminarians may receive the minor orders of Lector and Acolyte. Normally at the end of first year Theology course, the student makes his Perpetual Profession in the Congregation. Prior to priestly ordination seminarians receive diaconate ordination and enter in to a period of intensive preparation for the holy Order of Priesthood. The Order of Priesthood is conferred to the deacons at the end of their theology studies and they are sent out to various missions: to be with Him and to preach the Good News to the poor.
Prayer for Vocations
As we begin to ponder, and listen carefully for the voice of God calling us, it might be helpful to have a simple prayer that expresses our desire to know God’s will for our lives. At the same time we recognize that vocations to priesthood and Consecrated Life are essential for the life and health of the Church. Therefore we also may offer prayers for others who may be called to the priesthood or religious life. The following is the common daily prayer of the Vincentians for vocations:
O Hope of Israel/ and the Saviour in time of trouble,/ graciously look down from heaven;/ behold and visit this vineyard,/ make plentiful the streams thereof,/ multiply its fruits/ and perfect that which/ your right hand has planted./ The harvest is great indeed,/ but the labourers are few. We beseech you, therefore,/ Lord of the harvest,/ to send labourers into your harvest. Multiply the family/ and increase its joy/ that “the walls of Jerusalem”/ may be built up. O Lord God,/ this is your house;/ let there not be a stone/ which your most holy hand/ has not placed therein;/ preserve in your name/ those whom you have called/ and sanctify them in truth. Amen.