Vocations to the Priesthood

A priest is called to be a man of God, leading people to know and love Jesus Christ and transforming the world by bringing heaven to life on earth.


A Life of Service

It is said that a diocesan priest is someone who lives with the people and each becomes a part of the other’s life. Diocesan priests work and serve within parish communities that are part of a diocese. They serve individuals and families within our parishes and are the spiritual leaders of our communities.

Diocesan priests are very active people, with friends, hobbies and recreational activities like other Christian people. Some serve the diocese in schools, as university teachers, chaplains or campus ministers, working in media, in hospitals or in prisons. 

The Diocese of Wollongong is rapidly growing: we now have a Catholic population of more than 200,000 in 31 parishes with 43 schools across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Macarthur and the Southern Highlands.

  • How is God calling you to serve others?
  • Do you know of someone serving others who may be called to priesthood?

More Than a Job

Deciding on a priestly vocation is, in one sense, a career choice like any other. Skills and attributes include:

  • Prayerfulness
  • Strong interpersonal abilities
  • Leadership
  • Charity towards others
  • Positive self-image
  • Good health and emotional stability

At the deepest level priesthood is about union with Jesus Christ: the goal is to become more and more like him. Being a priest is more than a job - it’s a way of life, requiring strong personal and professional commitment that is reflected in all that you do, all that you are. The opportunity to serve God and bring hope, joy and healing into the lives of many people brings with it a deep happiness and a sense of peace.

A diocesan priest commits himself to a celibate life, and gives respect and obedience as he collaborates with his bishop. Celibacy reflects the selflessness of Jesus and is a sign of the ultimate call to union with God. These commitments are a reflection of God’s enduring faithfulness to us.

  • Are you searching for something more?
  • Do you know someone seeking fulfilment who could be called to priesthood?

A Special Role

Jesus in the Eucharist is the centre of a priest’s life and ministry; we serve God and others through:

  • Offering pastoral care – visiting the sick and troubled, counselling individuals, married couples or families, animating parish projects and activities.
  • Proclaiming God’s word – through the witness of our lives and through homilies founded on daily reflection and prayer.
  • Ministering the Sacraments – celebrating Eucharist and baptism, witnessing marriages, leading funerals, and bringing God’s healing presence to people through the Sacraments of Penance (Confession) and the Anointing of the Sick.
  • How do you care for others, proclaim God’s word and foster church life?
  • Do you know someone possessing these qualities who could be called to priesthood?

For more information

Contact our Diocesan Vocations Team (Priesthood)
This team supports those discerning a vocation to priesthood, seminarians for the Diocese and recently ordained priests.
  • Fr Richard Healey (Vocation Director) - 0401 621 591
  • Fr Duane Fernandez - 0414 626 357
  • Fr Stephen Varney - 0402 616 586

Share your Personal Story

One of the components of the application process is writing a personal story. This will help us to know you much better. We have provided guidelines for the story. Download them here.

Live outside Australia?

Please note, that if you are not an Australian citizen, we strongly encourage you to first consider a vocation within your own country so that you can remain strongly connected to your own culture, family and the support that friends and local community can provide in fostering a vocation.

It is very rare for our Diocese to accept vocations from other countries. When we do, it is because there is an existing community from a particular country or culture present in our Diocese so that the potential seminarian or priest may be supported and will have a place to minister and serve. Read our Policy in the next section.

Information for overseas candidates

Policy for candidates who live in other countries

Please read the following carefully:

  1. The Diocese of Wollongong is open to receiving candidates who are well adjusted, in good standing and functioning well in their own Diocese.
  2. If you do not live in Australia, you will need to be prepared to come to Australia on a tourist visa (at your own expense) for a period of around four weeks, so that you can meet with members of the vocations team, and undergo medical, psychological and vocational assessment.
  3. We normally recommend that a potential candidate journeys with their spiritual director and members of the vocations team for a period of at least twelve months before being considered for the seminary. During this time, it is expected that the candidate lives independently and supports himself through employment.
  4. A detailed letter is required from your Bishop recommending you to study for the Diocesan priesthood in Australia. This letter would clarify the reasons why you could not be trained in a seminary in your country and why you would wish to study in Australia. If you have been a member of a religious community, this letter may come from your superior.
  5. The Diocese will only accept those candidates who have discerned over a long period of time with the Diocese of Wollongong Vocations Team.
  6. Significant cultural differences in certain countries can deeply hinder the pastoral effectiveness of a candidate attempting to minister in Australia.
  7. The priesthood is a communications vocation. Demonstrating a high degree of English fluency and inculturation within Australia through an extended period of living and working here will be considered very favourably. As a minimum, an IELTS or equivalent score of 6.0 is a minimum, but a score of 8.0 or more is recommended.
  8. If you can demonstrate that you fulfil our requirements, then after completing the application process and receiving an invitation for the Vocations Team, you may wish to travel to Australia at your own expense and begin the discernment process for the Church in Australia.
  9. While you are in Australia, the Diocese will accept no responsibility for your living or repatriation expenses nor will it guarantee that you will be accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese.

If you believe that you can satisfy these initial requirements, you are welcome to make further contact. If not, we wish you every blessing as you continue to seek the guidance of the Lord for your place within his church.

Information for candidates under 21

  • It is not the policy of the Diocese of Wollongong to accept candidates straight from high school.
  • Younger candidates - those who have just left high school - are encouraged to seek full time employment and/or undertake further study in their chosen area of interest, while gaining valuable life experience.
  • It is recommended to have completed a form of tertiary qualification or have completed a minimum of two years in the work force before applying as a seminarian.
  • Friday, 05 January 2018
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