Vocations

Vocations

In the simplest terms, “vocation” means a “call.” So, in general terms, your vocation is what God calls you to do with your life. Everybody is called by God to know, love and serve him. The difference is how each one does this.

Individual vocations vary between being single, married, consecrated, religious order, deacon or a priest. However, we usually use “Vocation” to mean a call to the consecrated, religious, diaconal or priestly life. In the one life God gave you to live, you have one overriding purpose, to fulfill the will of God, because this is the key to your true destiny, eternal happiness.

God gives each one of us a particular mission in life. As we grow and life progresses, he makes it known to us, usually in indirect ways, more as an invitation than an imposition. Discovering and ultimately following your vocation gives the greatest glory and praise to our Creator. It is what we were meant to do. “Take up your cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). The Archdiocese of Anchorage provides the opportunity for those looking to explore a vocation to the priesthood through the House of Discernment, the diaconate through the Deacon Formation Program, or religious life with the various religious orders who serve in the Archdiocese.

Becoming a Priest or Deacon

Priest: A priest is a man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which confers on him certain powers of Christ, principally the power to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and the power to forgive sin in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. When he does these things he acts in the Person of Christ.

A diocesan priest is one who is called to serve in a particular diocese. The Archbishop has been placed by Christ as the head of our archdiocese and the diocesan priest serves in obedience to and collaboration with him, serving mostly in parishes. They administer the sacraments, they are responsible for the instruction of their people, they are close to them in their lives and trials, they counsel, forgive and serve constantly, heroically and patiently.

A religious priest is a member of a religious community who has received the Sacrament of Orders. He is under the authority of his own superiors, and he serves the local diocese through the works of his order or congregation located there. However, he is not limited to serving in one diocese but can be assigned elsewhere by his superiors. Everywhere he serves he does so with the permission of the local bishop. Some religious priests serve in parishes, but the majority have more specialized apostolates, such as education, retreats, communications, etc.

For further information about a call to a vocation as a priest, contact:
Fr. Leo Walsh, Director of Vocations
907-243-2195 or send a message using our Archdiocesan contact form

Permanent Deacon: There are two stages of preparation before ordination to the Permanent Diaconate. The aspirant path (usually one year) and the candidate path; it usually lasts 5 years. Application takes place through the diocesan diaconate formation office. Once accepted by the bishop, aspirant level of formation begins. It’s a time to discern the capacity and readiness for candidacy through prayer, study, spiritual direction, interviews with the formation director and continued parish life.

The candidacy path is marked by continued discernment of God’s call and preparation for ordination through the means already mentioned, with a more focused approach.

According to the Canon Law, candidates for the permanent diaconate must be at least 25 years old, if unmarried, and at least 35 years old, if married (in this case, he also needs his wife’s consent). If an unmarried man is ordained to the diaconate, he commits himself to the life of celibacy; married men commit themselves to the same, should their wife pass away before them.

For further information on the Permanent Diaconate, you may contact:
Deacon Mick Fornelli, Director of Deacon Ministry & Formation
907-297-7770 or send a message using our Archdiocesan contact form

Deacon Formation

The Archdiocese of Anchorage is in the planning stages for the commencement of a new formation class for permanent deacons to begin in September of 2013. Discernment for the permanent diaconate is a five year process beginning with a year of aspirancy followed by four years in candidacy.

Firstly, the order of deacon is a ordained ministry. Graced by the Sacrament of Ordination, the deacon proclaims by his very life the Church’s call to serve the needs of others. Upon ordination, the deacon enters into new sets of relationship with his bishop, those with whom he ministers, the laity from whose ranks he comes and from whom he must be separated.

As an ordained minister, he becomes for the community a unique sign and instrument of what Jesus Christ is for the Church, and of what the Church must be for the sake of Christ – a servant. It is this “service” which characterizes the ministry of deacon, a distinctive mark from the ancient days of the Church.

More than 90 percent of permanent deacons throughout the world are married, and through marriage they bring the experience and mutual sacrificial love of marriage to the service of the Church. The love bond which deacon and wife have developed in their lifelong ministry to one another in the Sacrament of Marriage is the springboard of the married deacon’s ministry to the wider community he serves. This nurturing and deepening mutual sacrificial love within marriage is the most important way the wife of a deacon becomes involved in her husband’s public ministry in the Church.

The deacon’s marital status becomes a factor which his bishop takes into account in providing ministerial appointments which are, in addition to being parish based ministries, social service based (hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, etc.) As well as most effective use of the special gifts that have been discerned during the deacon’s participation during the last three years of the formation process.

Please click on the appropriate link for the Deacon Formation course schedule.

If you are interested in information regarding the upcoming formation program, please contact:
Deacon Mick Fornelli, Director of Deacon Ministry & Formation
907-297-7770 or send a message using our Archdiocesan contact form

Prayers for Priests, Deacons, & Vocations

One of the greatest gifts someone can give is the gift of prayer. Below are links that offer specific prayers for priests, deacons and vocations to the ordained and religious life.
Please consider adding some of these prayers to your daily prayer life.

Religious Life

Consecrated life is a way to live celibate here on earth. It refers to a state to which men and women takes public vows to the Evangelical Counsels (poverty, chastity, and obedience), ordinarily within the context of religious communities; monasteries, convents, friaries, etc. By taking these vows religious men and women strive follow the Jesus’ counsels in a more perfect way. As Our Lord expressly stated, they are counsels for those who desire to become “perfect” because they most closely mirror life in heaven.

It is thus that the Church gives “preeminence” to the religious vocation, and recognizes it an act of supererogation, that is; exceeding the minimum necessary for salvation. It should also be noted that a diocesan priest, though he is celibate, does not take this triple cow to the Evangelical Counsels, and is therefore not consecrated in this sense.

The Archdiocese of Anchorage has been blessed to have several religious communities ministering in our diocese.
If you are interested in more information on any of these religious orders click on the name and it will take you to their website.

Oblates of the Mary Immaculate (OMI) Sisters of Mercy of the Americas (RSM)
Order of Preachers (Dominicans)(OP) Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace (CSJP)
Adrian Dominican Sisters (OP) Sisters of St. Paul de Chartes (SPC)
Daughters of Charity (DC) Sisters of the Most Precious Blood (CPPS)
Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Mother of Christ, Nigeria (IHM)
 • Little Sisters of Jesus (LSJ)

 

Lay Ministers

In a general sense, any Catholic Christian exercising a ministry is a minister. Since all the baptized are part of the universal priesthood, whenever they engage in their vocation to evangelize the world and to help those in need, they are ministers.

In addition, the Catholic Church calls people to the responsible stewardship of their time and talent in support of the Church. This often takes the form of volunteering for a specific lay ministry, most of which are liturgical, catechetical, or involved in pastoral care and social justice.

Liturgical lay ministries include lectors (Ministers of the Word) who proclaim scriptural passages during Mass, alter servers and acolytes who assist the presider at the altar, cantors and music ministers who lead the singing, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who serve during Mass and/or who take Holy Communion to the sick and homebound, and ushers or ministers of hospitality who direct the seating and procession of the assembly. Catechetical lay ministries include catechists (Kairos or CCD teachers in the parishes and teachers at Catholic schools), dismissal leaders (ministers who lead RCIA catechumens on Sundays), retreat leaders, youth group leaders, and Scout religious emblems counselors.

Other lay ministries include those who work with charitable activities, pastoral care and outreach, or advocacy for social justice. For information on Lay Ministry, contact any one of the parishes located in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

St. John Vianney House of Discernment

Located in Anchorage at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish is the Saint John Vianney House of Discernment. The mission of the house of discernment is to assist men typically between the ages of 20-45 in the discernment and development of a priestly vocation, providing them the foundation for subsequent entry into seminary, through a shared community life of prayer and worship; spiritual, personal and intellectual development; and pastoral service.

The standard length of stay is one academic year. Although Candidates come from the local communities around Anchorage, Candidates may be from another state or country, desiring to live in Alaska for a year while continuing their discernment with an eye to determining their suitability to the local climate, culture, customs, etc. Once selected, residents would normally enter the house on August 1st and remain until May of the following year. In special circumstances, residents may be accepted at other times during the year, and residency could be extended for a second year. Near the conclusion of this time, a resident would decide if he intends to apply to the Archdiocese to be considered as a full-time seminarian.

For more information about the St. John Vianney House of Discernment, please contact:
Fr. Tom Lilly, Director of Seminarians
907-345-4466 x715 or send a message using our Archdiocesan contact form

© 2016 Archdiocese of Anchorage. All rights reserved.   Site Credits   Site Map

Connect with us: