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Priesthood in the Diocese of Christchurch
…A Rare Adventure

Jesus said to them… “Come follow Me”

God calls men of all ages and from all walks of life to become priests, and each one experiences this call in a different way. Perhaps the thought of serving God as a priest is often on your mind. Or you may have even been asked about becoming a priest. God can work through anything – whether it’s people, events, thoughts or desires. God has many different ways of making this call known.

How can I tell if I have a vocation to the priesthood?

• Thoughts of priesthood start to become more persistent
• A desire for a deeper relationship with God
• A feeling of something ‘missing’ in your life
• A growing love for the Church
• A hunger for prayer
• A compassion for people
• A reasonable level of education and the ability to study
• Good physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional health


A Prayer for Discernment

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”

John Henry Newman

Priestly formation – what’s involved?

Training to be a priest is an exciting journey in faith. During this time of formation, the candidate is encouraged to grow spiritually, academically, and in areas of his own personal development, and is given the skills necessary for good pastoral care.

“The Lord cannot fail in his promise to provide the Church with shepherds, for without them she would not be able to live and carry out her mission.”

Pope Francis – Christus Vivit No. 275

A priest reflects…

“More and more I realise priesthood is a journey into the priesthood of Jesus himself. It is truly humbling to see how he uses me as His priest. I find this incredibly exciting and satisfying, (though not always easy), as I live and work among his people.”

– Father Stephen Lowe (Current Bishop Stephen Lowe of Auckland)


Priesthood – serving God’s people

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His flock. Through the priest, who in many ways lays down his own life, Jesus continues to care for His people.

A priest’s life is devoted to love and service through prayer, the Sacraments, pastoral care and proclaiming the Gospel.

The Eucharist, prayer, meditation and reflection on scripture are the foundations of a priest’s life, where he finds and draws on God’s love, wisdom and strength.

In caring for God’s people, a priest will come into contact with those in great need – the poor,

grieving, outcasts, prisoners and the suffering. The priest serves these people in the name of Christ and helps restore their dignity and worth.


Holy Cross Seminary, Auckland

Six years of study based at the Holy Cross Seminary. The focus is based around four pillars, Human formation, Spiritual formation, Academic formation and Pastoral formation. Academic formation includes studies of the scriptures, church teachings, church history, philosophy and church law.

Pastoral placement

Candidates spend their fifth year based in a parish in the Christchurch Diocese.

Priesthood Vocations Group

This is a group for those considering the priesthood, who meet to pray and discern God’s call. For more information contact the Vocations Director. You are welcome to join the Vocations Facebook Group by clicking this link.

Where to from here?

If you think God may be calling you, it’s important to take time to discern that call. Talk with your parish priest and someone you trust who is strong in their Catholic faith. You are welcome to contact the Vocations Director.

Contact the Diocesan Vocations Team:

Father Tien Cao
Email: vocations.chch@gmail.com

“I chose you and appointed
you that you should go
and bear fruit”

(John 15:16)