20 Signs of a Vocation

In To Save a Thousand Souls: Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood (Vianney Vocations, 2010), Fr. Brett Bannon devotes an entire chapter to the characteristics of a good candidate for priesthood. He identifies 20 “signs” of a possible vocation to diocesan priesthood, since that is the focus of the book. However, I think these particular signs could also point to a vocation to the priesthood as a member of a religious community. 

Fr. Brannen, an experienced vocation director and vice-rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, gives two important caveats before diving into his list of signs.

First, the Lord can call anyone to serve as a priest. A potential candidate may not initially have all the qualities listed here, and that’s okay.

Second, the discernment of a priestly vocation should be a deliberate process involving one’s spiritual director, vocation director, and other sound spiritual guides.

According to Fr. Brannen, a good candidate for priesthood should . . .

  1. Know and love Jesus Christ and experience a thirst to bring Jesus and His teachings to the world.
  2. Be a believing, practicing Catholic.
  3. Be striving to live a life of prayer.
  4. Live and desire a life of service to others.
  5. Have a desire to be a priest.
  6. In many cases, have his call validated by other people.
  7. Find his calling validated in Sacred Scripture.
  8. Be striving to live a virtuous life.
  9. Have good people skills.
  10. Have above-average intelligence (but those who struggle academically should not lose heart!).
  11. Be physically, emotionally, and psychologically stable.
  12. Be joyful and have a good sense of humor.
  13. Have a “priest’s heart.”
  14. Have self-possession and self-mastery.
  15. Show stability in lifestyle.
  16. Be a Christian gentleman.
  17. Have life experiences that point toward priesthood.
  18. Be able to accept both success and failure peacefully.
  19. Have a healthy psycho-sexual development and orientation.
  20. Be truly open to the will of God for his life.

Vocation Office

12615 Parallel Parkway
Kansas City, Kansas 66109
Phone: 913.647.0303