How can you know if God is calling you to be a Religious?
Remember it is God who calls so pay attention to your everyday experiences where God speaks. Religious Life is not just a job. It is a committment and consecration to Christ through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in a community so as to serve others according to the Gospel.
What does MSC mean?
The initials M.S.C. come from the Latin: Missionarii Sacratissimi Cordis, which means “Missionaries of the Sacred Heart”.
What is the formation process?
The process of becoming a Priest or Religious Brother is called Formation. This process takes several years. While you are still studying in college, you can begin your discernment process with our vocation director. After graduating college you begin aspirancy and so begin living in a M.S.C. house under the guidance of a formation director. As an Aspirant, you continue studying as you live in community and share life, prayer and ministry as well as deepen your knowledge of Catholic teaching.
There are more levels of formation called the Novitiate and then the Post-novitiate when you have taken your first vows.
Novitiate – Once the candidate knows the MSC way of life, he is admitted into the novitiate, preparing himself to take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is given the opportunity to focus on the human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and communal aspects of religious life. The candidate is accompanied by his novice master to live the gospel and MSC values in a ministry setting. The Novitiate ends with the young Religious taking his first (temporary) vows.
Post Novitiate is where the young Religious deepens his committment as an MSC and decides whether or not to make a lifelong commitment to vowed life. It includes community living, ministry, prayer and further education in Theology at Catholic Theological Union (www.ctu.edu
) and other professional training.
What’s the difference between a Religious priest and a Diocesan priest?
All priests are called by God to serve others and are ordained by a bishop through the sacrament of Holy Orders. So often when we think of a priest, we think of the priest serving in our parish. Although parish priests are usually diocesan priests, there are also many religious priests who serve as pastors and parochial vicars. The difference between the two types of priesthood is found in the taking of vows, location of assignments, who the priest reports to and receives assignments from, and whether they typically live in community or alone.
Diocesan priests further the mission of the Church through the celebration of the Eucharist, the liturgy and the sacraments. Unlike religious priests, diocesan priests make no vows. However, during ordination, they do freely make a promise of celibacy and obedience to their bishop. Diocesan priests are attached to the diocese in which they were ordained and, although they are assigned to different places within that diocese, their assignments will rarely take them outside its borders.
Religious priests are also ordained to serve the Church in specialized ministries and as ministers of the sacraments. Priests responding to this call take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Instead of being under the authority of a bishop, a religious priest reports to the leader (Superior) of his congregation.
Besides the vow of poverty, one of the major differences between diocesan and religious priests is that a religious priest’s ministry may take him to places far away from where he was ordained. Religious priests are called to serve where they are needed, and since most religious congregations operate in several locations (as opposed to in one state or part of a state like a diocese), a religious priest’s ministry may take him to other parts of the United States and/or other countries. Religious priests also tend to live in community with other members of their congregation, whereas diocesan priests are more likely to live by themselves.
What about MSC Brothers?
We MSC have both priests and brothers in our congregation. A brother is a person who is called by God to serve the Church in a unique way where he uses the talents that God has given him to work in our missions, projects and ministries. An MSC Brother takes the same three vows as an MSC priest and so priests and brothers are equal members in our congregation. An MSC Brother can work in all the ministries that our congregation is involved in except for those that require ordination. Some of the projects and ministries that MSC Brothers are currently involved in include: the promotion of peace, justice and integrity of all creation; Native American ministry; hospital ministry and volunteer work with local shelters and social service programs.
What kind of ministry can you do?
Almost any ministry is possible. In reality, the needs of the Church and of our congregation shape the ministries of our members. For example, members of our congregation are teachers, chaplains, pastors, parochial vicars, retreat leaders and foreign missionaries. We promote social justice, peace and integrity of creation and work to involve lay people in the mission of the Church. MSC serve in hospitals, prisons, parishes, and schools and we also respond to the needs of the local Church through ministry to Hispanics and Native Americans. In whatever ministry we do, we strive to be instruments of Christ's love.
Do you get to choose your ministry?
Usually the Provincial Superior suggests assignments based both on your talents and the needs of the Church and ministries are chosen in the spirit of dialogue and discernment.
Where will I live and work as an M.S.C.?
We M.S.C. are missionaries of God's love and guided by the Holy Spirit, we go where the need is greatest in the U.S.A. or in many other countries around the world.