I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?

There are religious institutes whose specific mission is to youth – the Salesians, for instance, or the Irish Christian Brothers. If you feel you have a specific gift for youth-work, you should consider an institute whose charism is precisely this. On the other hand, many institutes have youth outreach programmes, even if this ministry doesn’t define them. In these cases you could talk to those in charge (Superiors) about your desires for youth work.

However, it is possible that they may judge that you would be more effective in another ministry or that there are other pressing needs that override your particular desires. This is all part of what obedience means in a religious institute. Still, each religious institute will take very seriously your deeper desires insofar as they point to a calling within a calling – to youthwork within religious life, for example.

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