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Ultimately you love and support them. The grace that God gives parents is what best nourishes and supports the young man. Thinking always as your son first is best. Continue to have expectations of him.
Parents can talk to their children about the importance of discovering God’s purpose in their lives. It can be helpful to them to hear how you discovered that you were called to marriage. As Catholics, each of us has a responsibility to learn about each vocation so that we can support others. Parents need to learn about and understand Church vocations as well as marriage and single life. Some resources for doing this are personal contacts with priests and sisters, reading the lives of the Saints, literature about Church vocations, and web sites such as this one.
Every human being has some lonely moments, whether he or she is married, single, priest or religious. Priests and religious acknowledge their need for companionship and activity by enjoying friends, family and recreational pursuits. A celibate life can be a fulfilling life.
Prayer will help. Listen without judging or criticizing and reassure your child that whatever the decision, you will love and accept him. Don’t start treating your child differently, and be honest with him about your worries and concerns about a vocation. Ask your child whether he wants to keep the decision-making confidential from others for the time being, and reassure him that you will honor this.
Try not to be offended or hurt that your son didn’t confide in you until now. When men are thinking about whether they have a calling to the priesthood, they often wish to keep things confidential from the people closest to them until they are ready to talk about it. Rest assured your son does need and want his parents’ support and encouragement – probably more than anybody’s.
Yes, priests and sisters continue to support and are supported by the members of their families. They visit family members and take part in family celebrations and events. Many families find an even stronger bond with children and siblings who have chosen a Church-related vocation. In a unique way, the parish/community also becomes an extended family for them.
This is a common response from parents; but, in fact, there are no guarantees you would be one even if your child had not entered the priesthood or religious life. In time God will bless you, in ways you may not understand now, through your son’s or daughter’s happiness. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact the parish vocations committee or one of our parish priests.
Yes, doubt and faith are both part of the process of becoming a priest; questioning is normal and doubt is part of being human. Having doubts about one’s abilities and worthiness will happen. But we have to tell ourselves that it is God’s Grace that effects the change in us and that makes this possible. We need to realize that sometimes we will naturally move forward under our own excitement and sometimes we will need to very consciously put one foot in front of the other.