50 | VISION 2020 | VocationNetwork.org
person may be a candidate for one
or two years.
NOVICE: The novitiate is the next
stage of formation. This is a special
one- to two-year period that marks
a more official entrance into a community. Novices spend time in study
and prayer to learn more about
themselves, the community, and
their relationship with Jesus. At the
end of the novitiate, novices prepare
for temporary vows.
VOWS: Promises of poverty, celibacy,
and obedience may be taken for
one, two, or three years, depending
upon the decision of the individual.
These promises are renewable for
up to nine years. As soon as three
years after making temporary vows,
a person can make a promise to live
the vows for life.
A man studying for religious
priesthood must also undergo seminary training. During this time he
studies theology, scripture, church
teachings, and the skills he will
need to be a priest.
10. What vows do priests,
brothers, and sisters make?
Brothers, sisters, and priests in
religious communities make three
vows, and some congregations make
other vows as well. The three most
common vows are:
POVERTY. We share our goods
in common, live a simple life,
and realize that we depend on
CELIBACY. We choose to love
and serve God and all God’s
people, rather than to love
one person exclusively in
marriage. We offer our celiba-
cy as a witness and testimony
to God’s love.
OBEDIENCE. We live in community and try to listen and
follow the will of God by
taking part in community life,
goals, hopes, and work.
Diocesan priests make promises
of celibacy and obedience to their
bishop. They do not make a vow
of poverty, but they do try to live
simply so they can be of service to
11. Can priests, brothers,
and sisters date?
No, they can’t because dating is
meant to lead to marriage, and
as celibates we plan not to marry.
However, we very much want and
need friendships, and we have
friends of both sexes.
12. Are you ever attracted
to others in a romantic way?
Of course! We still experience normal human needs, feelings, and desires. As celibate people we choose
to channel these feelings—our
sexual energies—into other healthy
directions. We work at remaining faithful to our vow of celibacy
through prayer, closeness to Jesus,
good friendships, and healthy physical exercise.
13. What if I fall in love?
It does happen. The basic responsi-
bility in such a situation is to pre-
serve the original, existing commit-
a “come and see” program to visit
a community and experience its
way of life. [For a current listing
of discernment opportunities, visit
CANDIDATE: This period enables
the candidate (sometimes called a
“postulant”) to observe and participate in religious life from the inside.
He or she must indicate interest
and have the community agree to
accept him or her as a person in the
process of joining. The candidate
lives within the community while
continuing his or her education
or work experience. This period
enables the candidate to observe
and participate in religious life. It
also allows the community to see
whether the candidate shows promise in living the community’s life. A
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