"You have not chosen me...
I have chosen you..."
- John 15:16
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The first step in any attempt to answer the question of whether Holy Orders or religious life is right for you, is to discern whether or not almighty God is calling you to this way of Christian life. The following are some ways of "listening" for Godís voice in your search:
+ Daily prayer, spiritual reading and journal keeping.
+ Weekly attendance at Mass.
+ Seeking spiritual direction from a trusted, experienced guide.
+ Engaging in acts of ministry, especially with clergy or religious of the NCCA.
A secular or diocesan priest is a man or woman ordained by a bishop for the service of Godís people through the Church, under the direction of the diocesan bishop or Primate of the Church. Central to the priestís ministry is the administration of the sacraments and the pastoral care of the people entrusted to him or her. A deep faith and a fervent prayer life are also essential to the life of a priest.
The deacon, also ordained by a bishop, is a member of the clergy called to assist bishops and priests in the care of the people. Given the authority to preach, baptize and witness marriages, deacons also are involved in ministries of service.
A member of a monastic order or religious community is a person dedicated to Godís service through the public profession of vows or promises and committed to following a particular rule, which serves as the spiritual reference point for leading a life of prayer, community and good works. Members of religious orders and communities may also be priests or deacons ministering under the direction of their superior and bishop to members of their community and the larger Christian community.
The Formation Program for Diocesan Clergy
Those who feel called to the diocesan priesthood or diaconate should first consult the page on Minimum Application Requirements. If you meet this criteria, you are encouraged to contact the Office of The Primate, requesting an application and telling us something about your concept of priesthood and/or religious life and the particular way in which you believe almighty God is a calling you to serve others. The path leading to Holy Orders in the NCCA follows the way of an on-going, developmental relationship with us, the steps for which can be generally identified as follows:
Inquirer - The stage of initial contact with the Church with the purpose of learning more about us and letting us know more about you; a time of exploration and prayerful discernment that lasts from several weeks to several months.
Candidate - If there is reason to think that a genuine call to Holy Orders is indicated, the Inquirer submits formal application for admission as a seminarian to the Primate. Once the completed application has been received the applicant is considered a Candidate for admission. This is normally a period of two to six months, during which the Candidate becomes more closely associated with the community, participating in regular worship with a local parish of the Church, if possible.
Seminarian - If the candidateís application is approved, he or she is formally admitted as a seminarian of the Church and participates in our Holy Trinity Institute for Theology and Ministry in preparation for ordination to diaconate or priesthood.
Additionally, all applicants must have, and maintain, an email address and have access to the Internet. This does not mean that you must own a computer. Internet access is now available at most public libraries and a free email account is offered by Yahoo.com.
Keep in mind that these are minimum application requirements for consideration as a candidate. Simply meeting these requirements does not ensure admittance to seminary studies, novitiate or incardination.
See Code of Canon Law of The National Catholic Church of America for details regarding bars to ordination or religious profession.
The Most Reverend Richard G. Roy, OSJD
Office of The Primate
St. Martin's Priory
166 Jay Street
Albany, New York 12210-1806