Here-by different propositions to help in to discern and discover this men vocation :
Le Festival de la Vocation sacerdotale : a weekend in Belgium (French)
Le Cycle du Curé d’Ars (French)
St. Joseph's year in Namur: French version English version
A diocesan priest is one who is called to serve souls in a particular diocese. The Bishop has been placed by Christ as the head of that diocese, and the diocesan priest serves in obedience to and collaboration with him, serving mostly in parishes. They administer the sacraments, they are responsible for the instruction of their people, they are close to them in their lives and trials, they counsel, forgive and serve constantly, heroically, patiently.
From the beginning, certain young men in the Emmanuel Community have received the call to the priesthood.
Pierre Goursat realised what a benefit it would be for the Church to have priests who would share with their lay brothers and sisters the same life of prayer, the same desire for sanctity and the same fire to proclaim the Gospel. Emmanuel priests, incardinated in dioceses for the universal mission of the Church, are called to fully live their Community commitment:
‘The different states of life are linked together without losing the responsibilities associated with each state, but living in a fraternal relationship based on membership in the Community’(1). This communion of charisms lived by priests and lay-people together is seen as illustrating the teachings of Vatican II.
What is a priest?
A priest is a man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which confers on him certain powers of Christ, principally the power to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and the power to forgive sin in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. When he does these things he acts in the Person of Christ.
What is a diocesan priest?
Short story of priesthood in the Emmanuel community…
Fr. Andrew was born on the Huron River in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He studied at the University of Saint Thomas in the Saint John Vianney College Seminary in Minnesota. His majors were philosophy and Catholic Studies. He then spent a year with the Emmanuel Community in Namur, Belgium and then four years at the Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota.
He has two older brothers and two younger sisters. He received his calling at the age of 9 when a friend of his dads came to their new home and said that one of the boys in our family had a vocation to the priesthood. At the moment the seed was planted and although he didn’t always want to be a priest he actually began to desire it after he met Jesus in the Eucharist. During his senior year of high school he began to pray before the Blessed Sacrament also known as Eucharistic adoration. This had a major impact on him.
He met the Emmanuel Community at a youth forum in Altötting, Germany. The forum was held one week prior to the 2005 World Youth Day events in Cologne, Germany. This was his first experience with the Emmanuel Community and he was touched by their joy and the witness of different states of life gathered into one family.
The Emmanuel Community helped him to realize that he could not be a good priest without the help of his brothers and sisters in community.
Fr. Andrew serves as a priest at the parish of Nativity of the Lord in St. Paul, MN.
Fr. Andrew Brinkman
– St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN
Msgr. Thomas Petrillo
– Larchmont, NY
Msgr. Thomas Petrillo was born in Brooklyn, NY on April 6, 1957. He grew up Catholic and attended Catholic schools his whole life. In first grade he decided that “he wanted to be a priest.” However, by Junior High School he had already dropped the idea of priesthood altogether. He went on to Catholic High School and there the flame for the love of the Lord was rekindled. Yet, he went on to NYU with the idea of studying medicine. He wanted to specialize in geriatrics and believed that there he could serve the “poor” that so many did not care to serve in the medical field–the elderly. He thought this would be pleasing enough to God.
At NYU he began to work for the Catholic Center. He also ventured into the world of nursing homes as his pull towards geriatrics found him searching for work experience in this field. Little did he know that this would be the very place where God would pull at his heart once again in order to lead him to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Msgr. Petrillo began to work for the “Little Sisters of the Poor” during his junior year. In that environment God spoke to him and through his desire to serve the elderly God was able to put him back on the path that he had originally walked upon so many years earlier.
He entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers and was ordained a priest on November 5, 1983. After serving as a priest at a parish for three years he was asked to serve at a local High School, Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. There he spent ten wonderful years teaching and serving as chaplain and campus minister. He later went on to complete a doctorate in Education at Columbia University.
From here he served as Secretary to the Papal Nuncio for nine and a half years in Washington D.C. Today he is Pastor of St. John and Paul parish in Larchmont, NY where he was introduced to the Emmanuel community through a local family.
He attended the summer sessions (mini-retreats) in Paray-le-Monial, France in 2010 and 2011. But it was not until the Fraternity of Jesus Christ in Paray-le-Monial, an annual retreat for those Emmanuel Community members (including priests and consecrated brothers and sisters) who live mission in a more radical way, that the community touched his heart. He was drawn by the fraternal love and joy of all the brothers and sisters. He made his first step into the Emmanuel Community in 2012.
“How great is the priest! The priest will only be understood in heaven. Were he understood on earth, people would die, not of fear, but of love.”
The Community now has 240 priests, more than 90 seminarians, and about twenty young men doing their year of discernment (the St Joseph Year). Community life and formation are an integral part of the path and discernment of the seminarians.
The majority of Emmanuel priests exercise their ministry in parishes (85 parishes currently have an Emmanuel priest as parish priest). The other priests have diverse ministries – e.g. to young people (in chaplaincies, student hostels, schools of evangelisation etc.), in hospital chaplaincies or in helping with the formation of future priests.
Some priests are sent on mission to other countries and continents. In all these places, they develop a fraternity of life and mission. They live together and share their daily life of prayer and pastoral activity. They also participate in the fraternal and missionary life of the local Emmanuel communities.
How to discern ?
Testimonies of two preists of the Emmanuel Community
Contact fr. Thierry Quelquejay - head of discerment year in Europe!
Was is helpful for you to do St. Joseph's year of discernment in Namur?
"This was one of the most important and beautiful years in my life. Although it was one of the most challenging and hard ones. It was a time to learn how to pray and listen to God’s voice. Through the life in community, the other young men assisted and motivated me a lot. Above all, I learned much about God and myself. Due to the diverse activities throughout the year, I was able to discern clearly the path and God’s calling me to."
Gregor Schweizer, 26, seminarian in Munich
¨I didn’t believe that it would be possible to recognize and discern a vocation in such great freedom and depth as I’ve experienced it during this year. Before that I was not at all open for the question of priesthood in Emmanuel Community. However, after I entered St. Joseph’s House, I could really grow in trust in God, especially through long times of prayer. Suddenly I realized, that I was open to choose the path God invites me to because I was convinced God will show to me the path which will be the best for me and for everyone else – and it leads to happiness. Thanks to this confidence I realized that my deepest desire is priesthood. God is amazing! ;)¨
Korbinian, 25, seminarian in Vienna