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#364158 05/07/11 06:23 AM
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KShaft Offline OP
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I am a cradle Catholic and have been discerning a vocation for a while. I didnt think my calling was on the Latin side of things but I didnt even realize there was an alternative until I went on the "other site" which I have been banned from because of hitting agnostics with their own medicine made me uncharitable but they can do it all the day long. Any way I attended a Byzantine service and really liked it. I started attending more and after a while its all I wanted to attend. I had been attending for a while and the thought of a vocation came back into my head. I asked the parish priest if I could go to a monastery or the seminary in Pittsburgh and they allowed me to do so. I went to the seminary and I felt remarkably at home there. I said to myself "this is it. This is my calling..." Finally... So I get back and Im ready to tell the parish priest Im ready to start whatever processes needed to see if I have a vocation and then go about doing it. Thats when they hit me. Hard. Like Zab Judah to Floyd Mayweather Jr. below the belt. "Well you need to wait about five years before we would consider you because you are a Latin Catholic..."
I personally think this is ludicrous. I had thought to myself maybe this is just procedure... but talking to my Catholic friend as well as to my spiritual advisor (a Father in the Latin rite), they both thought it sounded as a "put-off". Something to discourage me without having to man-up and give a definative reason. Perhaps its an ethnic thing. I certainly hope not but it would not be unheard of. Its not as bad as it is in Orthodox Churches, but it can still be an issue.

Does this sound as a "put off" to anyone here? I know it may be hard to discern with just what I have typed up, but maybe some have experience here with this sort of thing....? I could see 6 months, a year, maybe even two years. BUT FIVE?!? REALLY?!?! I appreciate any input.

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No one here can comment definitively.

There are bishops who will not accept everyone who applies to the seminary with good intentions, but who will "put them off" as part of the discernment process, to see if their vocation is real. Those individuals who do have real vocations will return to the bishop and ask again.

The five year request is not a bad idea in itself. First, it can be waved should the candidate be found suitable (and / or ready). Second, several years living the Byzantine life are necessary to see if one is called and committed to it. There are too many Latins who flee East seeking (and trying to create) a particular form of Roman Catholic life. But if, indeed, the five years is too big a stumbling block, and the candidate is unwilling to wait, then one can rightly ask if the vocation is real.

All questions to be resolved with prayer and under the direction of a good spiritual father.

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I will agree with John on this, especially the need for a good spiritual director.

A monastery may be a good place to look for a spiritual director.

Links to Monasteries

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I don't think it is necessary a "put off".
in any case, you shouldnot let it "put you off"!

many Latin religious orders will make one wait 3 years before accepting vocations...

in the meantime, one can take pre-requisite courses, e.g. philosophy etc., no?

Christ is Risen!

Herb

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K,
Christ is risen!

Right now the seminary CAN"T accept you because you are a Roman Catholic. If you have discerned over a period of at least a couple years that you are comfortable at accepting Eastern Catholicity for the rest of your life then you should formally change rites.

After the change is accepted by both Churches you should participate to the fullest, including attendance at all services on all the holy days, taking all the adult education courses regionally available and becoming an adult altar or reader or catechist. Then after at least a year (or two or three) discern if the call is still there and if it is talk to your pastor again.

There have been many potential vocations who dropped out and it's discouraging to have a poor completion rate. Most likely this is affecting your query.

A charitable disposition is essential for any vocation; perhaps "hitting agnostics with their own medicine" raised a red flag.

May God bless you and help your discernment. Welcome to the forum; I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Fr Deacon Paul


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KShaft Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Paul B
K,
Christ is risen!

Right now the seminary CAN"T accept you because you are a Roman Catholic. If you have discerned over a period of at least a couple years that you are comfortable at accepting Eastern Catholicity for the rest of your life then you should formally change rites.

After the change is accepted by both Churches you should participate to the fullest, including attendance at all services on all the holy days, taking all the adult education courses regionally available and becoming an adult altar or reader or catechist. Then after at least a year (or two or three) discern if the call is still there and if it is talk to your pastor again.

There have been many potential vocations who dropped out and it's discouraging to have a poor completion rate. Most likely this is affecting your query.

A charitable disposition is essential for any vocation; perhaps "hitting agnostics with their own medicine" raised a red flag.

May God bless you and help your discernment. Welcome to the forum; I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Fr Deacon Paul


Thank you for the thorough response. Just to clairify some points, I understand that I must be a Eastern Rite Catholic to enter the seminary as a seminarian. I could of course attend courses for a graduate degree but not necessarily as a seminarian while being something other than an Eastern Rite Catholic as Im sure you well know. The five year stipulation came from the director of vocations for my area AFTER switching rites.

The thing I had the most trouble with is that I kept asking about things to get started about switching rites, or other things I can do and he seemed to not want to entertain any of it. "Well lets not get into switching rites until your absolutely sure...." I had just told him I was, and everything I tried was thrown back in my face. There was no, "Well lets not talk about priesthood yet but lets see about this or education or switching rites...." it was just wall after wall.
My spiritual advisor, a Father in the Roman Rite who was very much for me joining the Byzantine Rite and even asked if I wanted to see how to get a rite change going, thought it sounded like a put off like I said in the previous post. I would think he would understand the difference between a will check and stonewalling but he may be off. My perceptive friend thought the same way and thats why I asked people on these forums.

Its funny that you had mentioned attending all the services, and I did during lent. Not all at the same place and even a few at Orthodox parishes, but mostly between two Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian) parishes. I would also attend Vespers and Matins before Saturday and Sunday Liturgy. After that little bomb I admit I have been discouraged. I still attend Saturday and Sunday services (sometimes just Vespers on Saturday skipping the Vigil like Liturgy), but not always Matins on Sunday...

There are other factors that I was hoping to PM to you about but since it is disabled I will ask if you want me to email you, or I can post my addy and you can email me your addy. Its a bit personal and I dont want my laundry out on an internet forum.

Oh and as for the agnostic forum thing, Im not sure anyone knows about that so that wouldnt be an issue.

Thanks for everyone's replies.

KS

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KS,

Welcome to the forum.

I'd generally tend to agree with the comments offered by John, LC, and Herb. However, I want to follow-up in particular to the exchange that you had with Deacon Paul.

If I understand correctly the sequence of events that you've described, you are presently a Latin Catholic. I'm not certain how long you've been worshipping with Eastern Catholics and I think it would help us to understand the situation if you clarified that point. My sense is that it hasn't yet been a very long time.

If so, that's a major factor for consideration not only as to one's suitability for admittance to the seminary, but even as regards a transfer of canonical enrollment from the Latin to the Ruthenian Church. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long one should 'live a Byzantine spiritual life' before seeking a canonical transfer. Some eparchies (Ruthenian and otherwise) have a fixed period that they prefer or require to elapse before considering such a request. Others do not, individualizing decisions based heavily on the impressions and recommendations of a presbyter who has come to know the petitioner. In either instance, it's reasonably safe to suggest that anything less than a two year period is pretty uncommon; requiring more than three years would likewise be unusual - but not unknown, on a case-by-case basis.

And, from the standpoint of the other 'player' in the request - the Latin hierarch who must also consent to the petition, I'd similarly doubt that anything less than two years would be considered an adequate period for discernment of one's spirituality being inclined to the East. (I won't say that I haven't seen action taken after shorter periods, but it is rare and unusual - and probably unwise on the part of the hierarchs involved.)

As you may or may not know, the process of formalizing canonical transfer was instituted to 'protect' the Eastern Churches from having their faithful poached by the Latins. It's only in the aftermath of Vatican II that the flow to the East - versus from it - became a notable concern. Some of our Churches were deluged with Latins uncomfortable with changes in their Mass, etc. What initially looked to be a 'good thing' (an influx of faithful to Churches that previously were very ethnically based and received few 'outsiders' to their ranks, other than through marriage) was found, over time, to not have been the boon it was first believed to be.

We learned that those who were running from the West, rather than running to the East, were seldom as committed to living Eastern spirituality as they were committed to not having to live what they perceived as a flawed Latin spirituality. So, over time, our guard went up - we looked for more evidence that the person really wanted to be what he or she thought they wanted to be. And, that is where the situation now stands for most hierarchs.

The vast majority of our Churches welcome inquiring Latins and are more than pleased to have them among us, whether as visitors, as long-term attendees who choose never to request transfer, or as persons who will ultimately take that step. The number of Churches - particularly among those of the Byzantine Rite - which discourage persons not of their historic ethnicity is few (not denying that you can find individual parishes which are ethnic enclaves - but they are a minority). The Ruthenians certainly do not practice any such exclusivity.

Moving on to the five year issue. I suspect you're being told that, subsequent to any transfer, you'd have to wait a further period of time before consideration of a seminary application. And, frankly, you would. Whether the five years cited includes the period of waiting for transfer or is on top of it, I don't know - can't tell from what you've described. However, anytime a Latin male seeks a transfer and expresses that he believes himself to have a vocation to the presbyterate, there is always the question - is this being done to circumvent the celibacy rule of the Latin Church? The powers-that-be want to feel some certainty that the answer is no - because that is not a valid reason for transfer. That certainty comes with time.

Which is not to say that a man who transfers and is married - or subsequently marries - cannot have a vocation. I know such priests. It cannot, however, be the driving factor.

Hopefully, this explanation further explains why you may indeed be being 'put-off' - not in the sense of being pushed away, but in the sense that there are constraints and that you may need to live with those for a while to come, if this is truly what you want and what God wants for you.

Many years,

Neil

PS - your PM capability will be instituted shortly. We, too, impose a wait period, necessitated by some bad experiences in the past with newbies who weren't what they appeared to be.


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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I welcome your correspondence if I may help in any way.
My email is bobovich@verizon.net

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Thank you Irish Melkite and Fr Deacon Paul for your responses.

I will write you when I get to a better computer Fr Deacon. Im using a mac laptop right now and its not easy to type on this thing. My computer is on the fritz so Im using this one.

Thank you again.

KS

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I completely agree as well with the Admin. The bishop (now retired) who accepted me for diaconal formation also held to the "five year" rule. I think it is absolutely appropriate to determine stability, patience and steadfastness to the vocation, as well as to allow fuller acceptance and living out of the particular liturgical and spiritual tradition being discerned.

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KShaft,
Welcome to the forum. I guess Irish Melkite did give you a very detailed answer.
Don't be discourage by "roadblocks" , God will take care of this in his time. The good thing about your story is that you live in the U.S...
I'm the "exception to the rule"( and living in Canada...).My wife and I have petitionned for a change of rite. It is currently "frozen"( since last year-We've been attending a UGC parish since 2008). Nonetheless, I'm still going to my Eastern Catholic parish and won't back down. My nose is touching a "roadblock" but I do not care since there is some good priests that are very supportive.
So my humble advise is : make yourself comfortable in your parish, get to know the priest(s) in your parish( area) and pray that all those roadblocks will eventually vanished. You might find that it is a slow process but , believe me you can deepen your faith in the process.

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Thank you for the new replies.

I have been seriously looking into Eastern Orthodoxy. There are many fold reasons for this but I would rather not discuss it openly on the forum.

If you are really that interested on why, go ahead and PM me and Ill try to explain myself.

Thank you,
KS

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KS,

Your reasons are, of course, your own to discuss openly or not, as you choose. Do know, however, that over the years we have agonized with and prayed for and with many here who have made these journeys - both to Orthodoxy from Catholicism and to Catholicism from Orthodoxy.

It is the long-standing tradition on this forum to recognize that such decisions are not easily made, inevitably involving great internal spiritual struggle. We acknowledge and respect that each must find the spiritual place in which one feels most in touch with God and you have a right to expect that no one will brow-beat or remonstrate with you, regardless of the direction that you decide to take. The important thing is that you are comfortable in your relationship with God, that your spirituality is nurtured, and that you are at peace with yourself.

In the end, regardless of which spiritual home each has chosen, I'm pretty confident in saying that the vast majority of us have embraced our brethren and prayed for them to be blessed in their decision.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."

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