Welcome to the priesthood page of our Westminster Vocations website. This section is dedicated to helping those of you who have a sense that God may be calling you to serve Him as a priest.
My name is Fr Richard Nesbitt and, as Vocations Director for our diocese, I have the honour to be a companion and guide to those many men in our place and our time who have the courage to test this sense of God’s calling to the priesthood. What does this mean in reality? I think that in answering this question these words from Blessed John Paul II are very helpful :
“I am often asked why I became a priest. Let me try briefly to reply. I must begin by saying that it is impossible to explain entirely. For it remains a mystery, even to myself. How does one explain the ways of God? Yet, I know that, at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: “Come, follow me!” There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own. Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest.”
There it is. My role essentially is to help men to answer the question, “Is it God’s voice which I am hearing in my heart calling me to be a priest?” Blessed John Paul recognises firstly that at the heart of this is a mystery – the reason why God may be calling me to the priesthood is not something I will ever understand fully in this life. But what I am asked to explore, to understand is whether this is indeed his will for me and then to ask him for the grace, the courage to respond to his call.
As Vocations Director, I help men, who are exploring this question, to deepen their relationship with Christ, to become a truly “living cell” within the Body of Christ which is the Church, and to have the trust and faith to allow the Church to help them recognise Christ’s particular calling for their life.
In this priesthood section, you will find a lot of different material which I hope will help you to explore this question. There are videos, articles and reflections on what it means to be a priest, testimonies from priests already serving in the diocese, and suggestions for what you could do next if you really want to explore your possible vocation to the priesthood.
But all this material is only meant to be a starting point. My deepest hope is that you will have the courage to then “put out into the deep” and really test this possible calling. This means talking to others, allowing others to help you on the journey. A good place to start might be your parish priest or university chaplain – someone who is already serving God in the priesthood and who knows you to some degree already. And of course, this is what I am here for as well – to listen to the journey you have travelled so far and to reflect together on the best way ahead for you.
In Spring 2016 Cardinal Nichols appointed Canon Stuart Wilson to continue Fr Richard’s work in promoting vocations. If you are currently living and worshipping in the Diocese of Westminster and would like to meet to talk about God’s calling for your life, email email@example.com or call 020 7349 5620.
I leave the final word to Pope St John Paul II:
“You wish to become priests, or at least you wish to discover if you are really called. To recognise if this is God’s desire for your life, love him with all your soul and all of your heart in such a way that this love becomes the standard and motive of all your actions. From this moment on, live the Eucharist fully; be persons for whom the Holy Mass, Communion, and Eucharistic adoration are the centre and summit of their whole life. Offer Christ your heart in meditation and personal prayer so that he truly does become the foundation of your life.”