What can I expect when I inquire about becoming a religious in the Passionist Community?
Formal discernment begins when you contact a Passionist in your vocational journey to help discern your vocation -- possibly becoming a vowed Passionist among the many callings. The Province Vocation Director is to help you discover the direction in which the Holy Spirit is leading you. Our first desire is to begin to get to know you, who you are, and your life experience thus far. It is also a time for you to get a better understanding of the Passionists. Thus, the conversations and questions!
When both you and the Passionist community want to further explore this vocation journey, you will receive a vocation mentor who will walk with you on this part of your journey: meeting on a regular basis to identify and clarify and challenge, to prayerfully discern and affirm your direction in life.
When you and your vocation mentor come to a level of readiness to enter the next phase, residency, the formal admission process begins. Application documents and reports covering a variety of human and spiritual areas will be requested of you. After the application materials are submitted, a request to move into residency is processed by the Province Admissions Board and then presented to the Passionist Provincial Superior for his approval. This first phase of discernment extends for a minimum of 6 months.
If you show signs of growth in our Passionist vocation and are then approved by the Provincial, you will be welcomed into one of our residency formation communities –introducing you to our community life. The Residency program lasts a minimum of one year and may be extended as helpful. Residents have their own formation program, schedule, a formation director, and are responsible for their personal expenses. During residency, you may need to complete college-level studies required to later start the study of graduate-level Theology.
The next step is admission to a year-long preparation for professing vows as a Passionist. The Novitiate helps develop the foundations of a Passionist lifestyle, culminating professing vows of Chastity, Obedience, Poverty -- and our “fourth vow”: keeping alive in ourselves and others the Memory of the Passion of Christ. Vows are professed for three years, after which they may be made perpetually, unless a person’s development calls for an extension for one to three years.
After Novitiate, the temporarily professed becomes a vowed member of the Passionist Community and begins preparing for ministry by graduate theological studies at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago. Both religious brothers and candidates for the priesthood study theology. Candidates for priesthood must complete major studies in Philosophy before studying Theology. Brothers receive studies in line with their future ministry as a brother, based on their gifts and the needs of the Community. Theology studies require approximately four years before priestly ordination.
In the meantime:
- Be active within a faith community, such as your parish. Frequently celebrate the Sacraments.
- Find a good spiritual director/companion. It is important that you have direction in your life.
- Take time to pray and journal. Look for prayer experiences that nourish you.
- Get to know Passionists. Make plans to visit Passionist Communities and Passionist ministries.
- Read as much as you can about vocational discernment and about our Passionist way of life. Ask your spiritual director for recommendations. Visit our Passionist website www.passionist.org or the highly respected www.vocationnetwork.org.
- Be open to the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life.