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.
Most popular questions
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- Is a brother the same as a priest?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Why do we have priests? Can’t lay people do the work of priests?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- Can I leave the priesthood if I want, and is there any support if I do?
- What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?
- At times, I find it very hard to pray. Is prayer easier when you become a priest?
- If I become a priest, will I be living with mostly elderly men?