Priesthood in the Diocese of Christchurch
…A Rare Adventure

Jesus said to them… “Come follow Me”

Download the latest Vocations Flyer: ‘Diocesan Priesthood – Do You Have What It Takes?’

Thursday a Day to Pray for Priests Poster.pdf Vocations Flyer.pdf (8MB)


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?

• 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

Lord, You have made me to serve you.
Help me to know the way you are calling me;
Give me the courage to follow Your call. Amen.

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 Mass

A priest is most commonly known for celebrating Mass. The Eucharist is the centre of both the priest’s life and the life of the Church. Christ, present in the Eucharist, evokes worship and adoration. Together with the Word of God, the Eucharist spiritually nourishes both the priest and the community.

At Mass the Catholic community gathers to worship God, hear His word, and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. Preaching about the Gospel, matters of faith and morals to a wide audience of different ages and backgrounds requires the grace of God, skill and commitment on the part of the priest.

‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few’ (Mathew 9:37)

A priest reflects…

Steve_Lowe.jpg“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 


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.

Pre-Seminary Formation

Priestly formation begins with one year of studying basic Catholic theology and developing a solid prayer life while living in the diocese.

Holy Cross Seminary, Auckland

Six years of study based at the Holy Cross Seminary. The focus is academic formation, which includes studies of the scriptures, church teachings, church history, philosophy, church law, and skills for working in parishes.

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.

Where to from here?

If you think God may be calling you, it’s important to take time to discern that call. Talk with someone you trust who is strong in their Catholic faith. At some stage you may wish to contact the Vocations Director.

Contact the Diocesan Vocations Team:

Father John O’Connor


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

(John 15:16)


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