To serve God and his Holy People in East Texas

A vocation is a call from God to share in his mission in the world. Everyone has a vocation. Sometimes this concept is referred to as “the universal call to holiness,” meaning that all people, everywhere, regardless of the vocation to which God calls them, are all called to be holy. It is in answering this call that we find joy.

There are a variety of paths to achieve this holiness. This section of the website is concerned specifically with the vocations of the priesthood , though many of the same tools of discernment will also apply to the discernment of other vocations including holy matrimony. It is important that all of us learn to listen to the voice of God and seek to follow his will.

The Priesthood

The priest is an “alter Christus” which is Latin for another Christ. He is called to be a witness of Christ to the flock that has been entrusted to him as their shepherd. He is a minister of the sacraments, proclaimer of the word, teacher of the faith, and steward of the Church. The priest is meant to accompany and lead the flock entrusted to his care through this world in such a way as they are able to reach the eternal kingdom of heaven.

Permanent Diaconate

Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. Learn more about the permanent diaconate.

Consecrated Life

The Consecrated Life is a permanent state of life recognized by the Church of men and women called to live freely in response to the call of Christ to perfection as religious sisters and brothers or monks and nuns. Their life is characterized by the profession of evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience to be a witness of life of heaven living here on earth.  They are to serve as a reminder and an encouragement to us to live our own lives with hearts and minds fixed on Christ.  They live their lives in radical contrast to this world that is fading away.

Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony is a sacrament uniting one man and one woman to each other and to God for the sake of salvation of their own souls and to help share in Christ’s mission in the world. Marriage is not merely a human commitment or a contrast between two parties, it is a God inspirted unity of self-sacrifice.  Just like every sacrament, its goal is to get us to heaven. When a couple gets married they are promsing God and the other to do everything in their power to get their spouse to heaven. The Office of Family Life offers resources, talks, retreats and more to help prepare for and live out the vocation to holy matrimony.

Dedicated Single Life

The dedicated single life is a call from God to make a gift of your person to him and to his Church while still living in the world as a lay person, dedicating your life to service of others and to making the church and the world a better place.

Vocations Director

Father Justin Braun
(903) 534-1077 x151


Papal Documents and Homilies on the Priesthood

Vocations Discernment

Christ calls us to be holy, to be conformed more closely to his image and likeness. Growth in holiness is a continuous development, nurtured by the Sacraments, personal prayer and spiritual reading. In the words of Pope John Paul II, “The call to holiness is a universal call, valid for all human beings without distinction of age, profession, race or language. Just as all are redeemed, so all are called. The vocation to holiness means putting into practice, in one’s own daily life, the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.”

From Holy Scripture we read: “It is God’s will that you grow in holiness; that you abstain from immorality…” (1Thessalonians 4:3) And again: “In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).

The general call to holiness is concretized through one’s particular vocation. The following areas are offered as an aid to become more open to that vocation and to thus, follow Christ more closely:

PRAY…asking the Lord to show you the vocation he has prepared for you and invites you to embrace.

LISTEN…to God and have the courage to respond to him freely and generously.

RECITE…the rosary, asking Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Mother of us all, to intercede with her Son on your behalf.

MAKE…Eucharistic Holy Hours, placing yourself in the real presence of the one who calls, the one who invites.

READ…and meditate on Sacred Scripture and other good spiritual reading including the lives of the saints.

ATTEND…Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as your state in life and current responsibilities will allow.

GO…to the Sacrament of Penance, frequently and consistently.

SERVE…your parish, and elsewhere, as needed and as you are able.

TALK…with a priest or consecrated religious about your vocation questions and concerns, seeking spiritual direction and guidance

    Priesthood Questions

    1. Do I really want to live the life of a priest, or am I being pressured by someone or something? Does this life appeal to something in my own heart?

    2. Why does this life attract me? What am I really looking for? Am I seeking to get something for myself, or do I really want to give of myself in service to God and to others?

    3. Am I in reasonably good physical health?

    4. What about my mental and emotional stability. Can I cope with stress reasonably well, or am I often restless, tense, or struggling with my moods?

    5. How important to me is the intimacy and companionship of women? Have I considered marriage as a possible vocation?

    6. How well do I get along with other people? Am I basically at ease with them or do I feel threatened much of the time? Can I work together in a group without demanding my own way?

    7. Can I stand alone if I have to? Am I overly dependent on others? Do I tend to just ‘go along with the crowd’ in order to fit in?

    8. Do I have an affinity for prayer? Am I willing to work seriously at developing a solid spiritual life, a life centered on God and radiating out in service to his people?

    9. Do I honestly desire to be a priest or am I really seeking security, the prestige of the priesthood, or for some other non-valid reason?

    10. Am I fully aware of the difference between a ‘vocation’ and a ‘career’ or ‘profession’? Vocation is the Lord’s call to a particular state of life. Career or profession is merely one aspect of how one lives out their vocation.

    A priest is someone who…

    …proclaims the Gospel in its fullness with clarity and courage, in word and in deed, while teaching and encouraging others to do the same.

    …sacrifices and intercedes on behalf of others.

    …prays daily, faithfully reciting the Liturgy of the Hours.

    …recognizes the unique privilege of offering Mass and the other sacraments as a normative channel of God’s grace.

    …strives to grow in his love for Christ regularly honoring and adoring his real presence in the Eucharist.

    …has a deep love for, and devotion to, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    …wants to be a ‘fisher of men’ whose goal is to unconditionally love others and become a humble instrument for the salvation of souls.

    …lives a preferential option for the poor, ready and willing to assist those in need, fully embracing his call ‘to serve’ and not ‘to be served’.

    …is committed to living a chaste and celibate life.

    …prides himself on being a Catholic, never shying away from publicly witnessing his faith or his priesthood.

    …strives for a balanced and sustained devotional life.

    …humbly recognizes his need for Christ’s mercy and forgiveness, seeking it regularly in the Sacrament of Penance.

    …readily seeks prayerful intercession among the Communion of Saints.

    …maintains respect and obedience to the Holy Father, the Church’s Magisterium, his Bishop and local superior.

    Qualifications for Seminarians

    To be considered as a candidate for formation in the Diocese of Tyler, an aspirant must meet the following qualifications and criteria:

    1. Gaith in, and love for Christ and His Church.
    2. Good moral character.
    3. A high school diploma with favorable academic abilities.
    4. Emotional balance and maturity.
    5. Good physical health.
    6. Psychological readiness and capacity to pursue a sustaining, life-long commitment.
    7. A deepening habit of prayer and a balanced devotional life.
    8. Maturity to recognize, and willingness to respond to, the needs of others.
    9. Readiness to serve in the manner to which he is called by God, through the Bishop.
    10. A developing spirit of detachment that helps him be in the world, but not of the world.
    11. Freedom to enter this state in life.
    12. Be between the ages of 17-55. (A previously obtained undergraduate college degree is required for those between the ages of 50-55.)
    13. Does not have personal financial liability, i.e. car or personal loans, credit card(s), etc. verses personal assets that exceeds $3,000; nor have total outstanding college and/or graduate school student loan debt that exceeds $40,000.
    14. Have some familiarity with the Diocese of Tyler and the people with whom the candidate feels called to serve here as a future priest, i.e. by living (past or present), working or studying within the diocese. (On a case-by-case basis, consideration will be given to those who do not meet this criterion only after they have seriously considered the possibility of serving in their home diocese with the consultation of their home Bishop and/or Vocation Director.)
    15. Not suffer from a disordered sexual orientation, i.e. not consider oneself to be homosexual.
    16. If the candidate has previously been dismissed from another priestly formation program or from an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life, he must wait at least two years prior to being considered for the priestly formation program in the Diocese of Tyler
    17. If the candidate is a recent convert to the faith or has recently returned to the regular practice of the faith, he must wait at least two years prior to acceptance into the priestly formation program in the Diocese of Tyler.

    Additional criteria apply to non-U.S. Citizens and aspirants who were previously married.

      Application Process

      Initial Contact and inquiry – This can start as simply as asking a priest at your parish to give you some tips for developing your prayer life. As you grow closer to God, you may sense a call to offer more of yourself to Him, “Who did you create me to be Lord?” Sometimes a conversation can become an invitation, to pursue more deeply, attend a discernment event, bring it up with a priest, a trusted friend, or the vocations director. If you begin to feel a sense that God is calling you to be a priest, bring that up with a priest you know, or contact the Vocations Director directly to speak with him.

      Once your discernment has reached the point of feeling a call to continue exploring your vocation in the context of seminary, contact the Vocations Directory to help you discern if this is the right moment for that, and give you guidance along that path.

      Application Materials – Upon recommendation of the Vocations Director, the aspirant will turn in the following documents:

      1. Completed Diocesan Application Form
      2. Letter of recommendation from pastor/priest-mentor
      3. Letter of recommendation from employer/supervisor/teacher
      4. Letter of recommendation from a non-family lay person in the aspirant’s parish
      5. Baptismal certificate with sacramental notifications of first Communion and confirmation
      6. Copy of parent’s sacramental marriage certificate
      7. Official academic transcripts from high school and previous colleges/universities
      8. Completion of the Church Personnel Certification process (background check, commitment to the Code of Conduct, and attendance at a training session).
      9. Confidential Information Release Form
      10. Letter from Ordinary of previous diocese or religious order (if applicable)
      11. Certificate of reception of candidacy, lector, and acolyte (if applicable)