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Monday, September 1, 2008

"Seminarians share thoughts on call to priesthood"

From the Florida Catholic
By Staffwriters

ST. PETERSBURG A few months ago, the diocesan Vocations Office Web site featured audio interviews with area priests who each took a few minutes to talk about his vocation.

Now, the Web site has a new feature that introduces men on the other side of the priesthood spectrum: those just discerning a call to the priesthood. In it, all six of the diocese’s new seminarians answer questions about themselves and why they are interested in becoming priests.

Lacking audio, the new feature doesn’t have the “in-the-same-room” feel of the priests’ interviews, but it does provide insight to the men, their past, their interests and their faith.

“This gives us a way to see who these guys are, what they are leaving behind and what they are looking (forward to learning),” said Father Len Plazewski, diocesan director of vocations. “A lot of the questions are commonly asked questions they get when they are out doing vocation talks.”
The diocese has 26 men actively discerning a call to the priesthood through seminary studies.

The new seminarians are a diverse group. Some just graduated from high school. One, Tim Corcoran, worked as an attorney and served as a federal bankruptcy judge. Together they show that a call to the priesthood can come at almost any time in a person’s life.

“It can be right for some people right after high school. That’s what I did,” Father Plazewski said. “For others, for whatever reason, it’s best to wait a year or two and go to college. For others, the best time is after college. Or, like Tim, it’s after a career.”

According to Father Plazewski, pursuing the priesthood parallels in many ways the process of dating and moving toward marriage. A young man who falls in love might get married earlier than he planned; others need to travel, go to college or have a variety of life experiences before they wed. Dating is not unlike the early stages of discerning a vocation. Entering the seminary is something akin to going steady. Reaching the theology stage of seminary is similar to an engagement, and the ordination can be compared to marriage.

In marriage or the priesthood, those involved have to give it time and attention before taking vows.

“I would say there are a lot of similarities between discerning a call to marriage and discerning a call to the priesthood,” Father Plazewski said. “You don’t rush into it. … It takes reflection. It takes time to see where it goes and, obviously, it takes a lot of prayer.

“The difference is that, when it comes to writing ‘thank-you’ notes, you don’t have anyone else to do it for you.”

Interviews with the new seminarians can be accessed through HERE.

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