Parents Page: FAQ
“[Parents are] participants in the marvelous adventure of your sons. In fact, even if it can seem that most people do not find a priest's life interesting, in reality it is the most interesting and most necessary adventure for the world, the adventure of demonstrating and making present the fullness of life to which all aspire."
- Pope Benedict XVI, February 1, 2008
How can I support my son?
Parents often wonder how they can support their son in his discernment and formation for the priesthood. Just knowing that you support him and his discernment of his vocation and being assured that you are praying for him is a great comfort. Assure your son that you will pray that God reveals His will to him and that God will give your son the courage to follow God’s will in whatever vocation God calls him to. This gives your son the freedom to discern his vocation without the pressure of feeling that his parents already
Should I ask all my friends and relatives to pray for my son as he discerns?
Start by asking your son how public he wants his discernment to be. He will appreciate your desire to respect his privacy during his discernment. If he has just told you about his discernment, or if he is in the early stages of discernment, he may not want everyone to know. Many people knowing that he is discerning a vocation may feel like additional pressure on him. As he becomes more open about his discernment and if/when he enters the seminary, he will appreciate more people praying for him.
Will my son be happy as a priest?
Every parent wants their child to live a happy and fulfilled life. Since we don’t often get to see the priest outside of Mass or other events at the parish, many people don’t realize just how happy and fulfilling the priesthood is. In his book, Why Priests Are Happy, Monsignor Stephen Rosetti notes that,
A central finding of this study is the extraordinarily high rates of priestly happiness and satisfaction. The findings are strong, replicable, and consistent: priests, as a group, are very happy men. They like the priesthood. They are committed to it. They find much satisfaction in their lives and ministries. In fact, the satisfaction rates of priests are among the highest of any way of life or vocation in the United States. (p.10, emphasis added)
If God is calling your son to the vocation to the priesthood, then, YES! this is where he will be most happy and fulfilled.
I practice my faith but I don’t know theology as well as some others. What do I do if my son starts asking me questions?
Some parents feel that they are not prepared to answer all his questions which can make them uncomfortable. Your son will not expect you to have all the answers. Don’t be afraid to tell him that you don’t know how to answer a question but will help him to find the answer. He will appreciate if you take the opportunity to grow in the faith by leading him to sources that will answer his questions. Check out the resources on this site or have your son call Fr. Carl Fisette to discuss any questions he may have.
Will I ever see my son again?
Parents sometimes wonder if they will see their son after he enters seminary or after he is ordained. As a diocesan priest, your son will minister somewhere in the Diocese of Providence which is the same geographical area as the State of Rhode Island, so he will not be too far away. Priests do have a day away from the parish which they may choose to use to visit their parents, siblings, or friends.
What about grandchildren?
We all make some sacrifices to live out the vocation to which God has called us. As parents you have made sacrifices for your child. As a priest, your son will live a celibate life and sacrifice a biological family as he deepens his relationship with the Lord and he becomes a part of many families on a spiritual level. But this means a sacrifice on the part of parents as well as you will not have grandchildren from your son. Parents may see qualities in their son which they think would make him a good father and have difficulty understanding why he isn’t following a vocation to be a father; it is often these same qualities that will make him a good priest. This sacrifice on your son’s part and on your part will be blessed as you see the joy that he has in doing God’s will in his life.
Will my son be lonely?
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. We can be in a crowded room and still feel lonely; sometimes married persons even feel lonely. Priests may be living alone in a rectory but through their close relationship with the Lord and the many friendships that they develop, it is rare for a priest to feel lonely. All priests nurture healthy friendships with brother priests, religious, and lay faithful. Their relationships with their parents, siblings, nieces and nephews all help them support them in their ministry. Oftentimes, priests treasure the moments of solitude for prayer, writing, and rest
I love my son, but he is not perfect. Can he still be a priest?
If God only called perfect men to the priesthood, the priesthood would have begun and ended with Jesus Christ! God calls men knowing that they are humans who are not perfect. Seminary is a time of formation in human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral areas so that he can be a bridge to Christ. No man is worthy of the call to the priesthood yet many are called to continue to grow in holiness and serve God as His priest.