Vocations
in
The National Catholic Church of America

"You have not chosen me...
I have chosen you..."
- John 15:16

On This Page:
Thou Art A Priest Forever.


The Other NCCA Pages:


NCCA Vocations

Our Church invites qualified men and women to explore the possibility of ordained ministry as priests or deacons of the Church, or religious, bringing the Word of God and the healing power of the sacraments to the faithful; providing pastoral care for the sick and needy, advocacy for the disenfranchised and a warm welcome home for those who desire to renew the practice of their faith. The NCCA currently offers men and women who feel called to Holy Orders and/or religious life the opportunity to pursue priesthood or permanent diaconate either as diocesan clergy or as lay or clerical members in the religious community of the Church; the Order of Saint John the Divine. Diocesan and religious order candidates participate in our 2 year non-residential Holy Trinity Institute for Theology and Ministry under the guidance of tutors in their preparation for ordination or religious profession. Those already ordained to diaconate or priesthood are invited to consider incardinating as clergy of the NCCA.

Vocation Discernment

There has been a tendency in the past to see priesthood and religious life as somehow "superior" to secular life; as if priests and religious had an "inside track" on Christian spirituality and were, therefore, closer to God. In fact, all Christians, whether lay or clerical, religious or secular, are called to personal holiness and the striving for perfection in love of God and love of our neighbor. The all too frequent surrender of these Gospel imperatives to clergy and religious has tended to devalue the role of the laity in the life of the church and to create a stratified idea of the spiritual life.

The first step in any attempt to answer the question of whether Holy Orders or religious life is right for you, is to discern whether or not almighty God is calling you to this way of Christian life. The following are some ways of "listening" for Godís voice in your search:

+ Daily prayer, spiritual reading and journal keeping.

+ Weekly attendance at Mass.

+ Seeking spiritual direction from a trusted, experienced guide.

+ Engaging in acts of ministry, especially with clergy or religious of the NCCA.

A secular or diocesan priest is a man or woman ordained by a bishop for the service of
Godís people through the Church, under the direction of the diocesan bishop or Primate of the Church. Central to the priestís ministry is the administration of the sacraments and the pastoral care of the people entrusted to him or her. A deep faith and a fervent prayer life are also essential to the life of a priest.

The deacon, also ordained by a bishop, is a member of the clergy called to assist bishops and priests in the care of the people. Given the authority to preach, baptize and witness marriages, deacons also are involved in ministries of service.

A member of a monastic order or religious community is a person dedicated to Godís service through the public profession of vows or promises and committed to following a particular rule, which serves as the spiritual reference point for leading a life of prayer, community and good works. Members of religious orders and communities may also be priests or deacons ministering under the direction of their superior and bishop to members of their community and the larger Christian community.

The Formation Program for Diocesan Clergy

The diocesan formation program includes periods of Inquiry and Candidacy leading to seminary studies and eventual ordination for those who are deemed ready and qualified. Those who are already ordained priests or deacons, but who are not currently under any jurisdiction, may apply for incardination into the NCCA.

Those who feel called to the diocesan priesthood or diaconate should first consult the page on Minimum Application Requirements. If you meet this criteria, you are encouraged to contact the Office of The Primate, requesting an application and telling us something about your concept of priesthood and/or religious life and the particular way in which you believe almighty God is a calling you to serve others. The path leading to Holy Orders in the NCCA follows the way of an on-going, developmental relationship with us, the steps for which can be generally identified as follows:

Inquirer - The stage of initial contact with the Church with the purpose of learning more about us and letting us know more about you; a time of exploration and prayerful discernment that lasts from several weeks to several months.

Candidate
- If there is reason to think that a genuine call to Holy Orders is indicated, the Inquirer submits formal application for admission as a seminarian to the Primate. Once the completed application has been received the applicant is considered a Candidate for admission. This is normally a period of two to six months, during which the Candidate becomes more closely associated with the community, participating in regular worship with a local parish of the Church, if possible.

Seminarian - If the candidateís application is approved, he or she is formally admitted as a seminarian of the Church and participates in our Holy Trinity Institute for Theology and Ministry in preparation for ordination to diaconate or priesthood.


Holy Trinity Institute for Theology and Ministry

In preparation for ordination or religious life, seminarians and novices participate in our
Holy Trinity Institute for Theology and Ministry. A two year program of academic study and supervised ministry, the Institute covers a range of subjects in which candidates for Holy Orders and religious life need to attain a degree of competency in order to be effective ministers of the Gospel in our age. A standardized program of study is offered for candidates for Holy Orders as well as those preparing for non-ordained religious life.

Advanced standing in the Institute program can be granted by the Primate to students whose background warrants such a determination. Covering areas such as Scripture, Theology, Church History, Pastoral Ministry, Christian Spirituality, Liturgy, Homiletics and related humanities, the candidate is required to write original reflection papers which demonstrate his or her grasp of the material and serve as a basis for dialogue with the assigned mentor.

Upon successful completion of the Institute program, the candidate is awarded a Certificate in Theology and Ministry (CTM). Completion of the Institute program does not guarantee ordination. Each seminarian and religious desiring Holy Orders must request and receive approval for ordination from the Primate.

A more detailed outline of the Institute program in given on the Holy Trinity Institute for Theology and Ministry of The NCCA page.

Minimum Application Requirements
for
Candidates for Diocesan Clergy and
The Order of Saint John the Divine

  • For consideration as a Candidate for Holy Orders:
    1. Must be Baptized and Confirmed.
    2. High School Diploma and at least 2 years of college (or its equivalent in studies and learning experience).
    3. Must be at least 25 years of age by time of ordination.
    4. Must be of sound emotional and psychological health.
    5. Must be of good moral character.

  • For consideration as a candidate for The Order of Saint John the Divine (non-ordained):
    1. Must be Baptized.
    2. High School Diploma (or its equivalent in studies and learning experience).
    3. Must be at least 21 years of age by time of profession.
    4. Must be of sound emotional and psychological health.
    5. Must be of good moral character.

  • For consideration as a candidate for Incardination:

    1. Must have been ordained to diaconate or priesthood in a church/jurisdiction possessing valid apostolic lines.
    2. High School Diploma and at least 2 years of college (or its equivalent in studies and learning experience).
    3. Must be of sound emotional and psychological health.
    4. Must be of good moral character.
All applicants for Holy Orders, Incardination or Religious Life are required to submit to a complete Criminal Background Check (which the NCCA will initiate) and a psychological evaluation conducted by a mental health professional licensed by the state in which the applicant resides to make such evaluations. The psychological evaluation must be sent directly from the evaluator to the Office of the Primate. The costs for both of these services will be the responsibility of the applicant.

Additionally, all applicants must have, and maintain, an email address and have access to the Internet. This does not mean that you must own a computer. Internet access is now available at most public libraries and a free email account is offered by Yahoo.com.

Keep in mind that these are minimum application requirements for consideration as a candidate. Simply meeting these requirements does not ensure admittance to seminary studies, novitiate or incardination.

See Code of Canon Law of The National Catholic Church of America for details regarding bars to ordination or religious profession.


Application

In order to request an application for admission as a Candidate for Holy Orders, Incardination, or The Order of Saint John the Divine, please send a letter or email to The Office of The Primate describing your interest in the NCCA and giving a brief statement about your background. Be sure to include your home mailing address, telephone number and email address. You will then be contacted by a representative of the Church to discuss your interest in the NCCA and the application process.

The Most Reverend Richard G. Roy, OSJD
Office of The Primate
St. Martin's Priory
166 Jay Street
Albany, New York 12210-1806



{It is Not Our Policy to Send an Application for Admission to an inquirer until after we receive your letter or email and talk with you by telephone.}


© Copyright 1994-2004  The Most Reverend Richard G. Roy, OSJD  All Rights Reserved.