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The Process

The process of discerning a calling, receiving formation, and being ordained is a wonderful journey. Below are several resources and articles to help you understand the journey and proces.

Step 1 - Discernment

Jesus Christ is the Source and Measure of All Vocations
At the heart of our faith we make a simple statement. "Jesus Christ is Lord." He is the son of God, and through his death and resurrection he is the instrument by which humanity has been redeemed. Yet for these words to take shape we have to put them into context. "Jesus Christ is Lord of my life."

What does this mean? Simply put, we place Christ first in all aspects of our lives. This includes everything we do, everything we believe, our focus, our perspective and our energy. Jesus Christ not only rules our lives, but he is the one who makes sense of our world and our vocation. Let's look at this in three particular ways.

If we are searching for the Lord's call, then we can ask a simple question. "Lord how can I best serve you and your people? How can my life bring your faith, hope and love to others?"

Each of us has been called by Christ into this world. We are here on earth that our lives might be filled with meaning and purpose. The Lord guides us, and through our discipleship we are called in our chosen vocations to follow him through this world to the world to come -- where he is Lord, for ever and ever!

Step 2 - Contact Vocations Office

Initial Contact

A candidate can approach the Vocation Office through a number of ways:

  • Through a referral by a priest or pastor
  • Through a catechist, youth minister, or liturgist
  • Through a Knight of Columbus
  • Through the invitation of a seminarian;
  • Through a seminary;
  • Through direct contact by mail, phone call, or email
Vocation Director
Rev. Thomas E. Thompson
1201 Hughitt Ave.
P.O. Box 969 Superior, WI 54880 | (715) 394-0234

In Person Meeting

The initial meeting covers many topics:

  • Family and community background
  • Education and work experience
  • Church involvement and service
  • General friendship and social skills
  • Spiritual life, personal prayer, and faith practice
  • Obstacles or impediments
  • General direction of the candidate's interest, ability, and intention

3 Possibilities

  1. A candidate meets the initial preparation and can move into the application process.
  2. A candidate is turned away from the program if there is a serious inadequacy in any of the above areas.
  3. A candidate is not turned away, but he is encouraged to grow in his general areas of human development. He might not yet be ready to enter the application process for the following reasons: age, prior committments to work or school, need for more experience and involvement, time for further prayer and reflection.

Step 3 - Application

The application process provides a number of perspectives for the admission of a candidate tothe seminary program. These include personal interviews with a wide variety of people, writen autobiographical work, recommendations from others, transcripts (when applicable), sacramental documentation, medical, dental & psychological examinations, and a background check. The breakdown of these areas are on the pages at right.

Personal Interviews

These interviews include the Vocation Director, the clinical psychologist, members of the Vocation Board, and on occasion priests from the Diocese of Superior. The purpose of these interview is to give a number of people an opportunity to meet the candidate and get a sense of his personality.

Written Work

The candidate submits an autobiography which covers a variety of topics (family, work, school, military (if any), and general goals of life. When writing your autobiography, do not just provide the facts (who, what, where, when), but also give answers to how, who, and why questions. In your autobiography, examine each part of your life from the perspective of your vocation.

Look for the patterns that repeatedly appear in your journey. Often people are so bogged down by the facts (which are important--you must have them in your autobiography), and they find themselves unable to clearly read the pattern (which, of course, is also important).. They become so involved that they loose the ability to step back and examine their lives from a larger perspective, looking for patterns of behavior and motivation. Be sure to include those times when you have experienced peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment, purpose, hope and love.


The candidate submits 1 to 3 names of people from the following categories: pastor and associate(s), priests (if different from pastor), teachers and counselors, friends, employers (including the most recent), family. These people receive a diocesan form that addresses questions about the candidate's suitability for seminary studies and ability to serve as a priest. These forms are returned directly to the Vocation Office. Be sure to only to ask people in your life that you trust. The people who write these recommendations should give helpful feedback about what they see. Most likely, you have already been engaged in conversation with them and have found them to be a wonderful resource to helping you clarify your journey of faith.


Those candidates who have preivous college credits request a copy of their official transcript be sent directly to the Vocation Ofice.

Sacramental Record

A copy of the baptism and confirmation of the candidate is filed with the Vocation Office.

Medical and Dental Examination

The Vocation Office provides the candidate with a medical examination form. This form is completed by a physician. A similar dental examination form is also provided to be completed by a dentist. Both forms are returned to the Vocation Office.

Psychological Examination

The psychological examinations are composed of two parts--written and oral interview. The written portion is filled out by the candidate in a supervised site. These forms are then forwarded to the clinical psychologist along with all of the pertinent written material listed above. The clinical psychologist, having reviewed the forwarded material, then meets with the candidate and personally administers a series of tests and conducts a psycho-sexual interview. Upon completion of these tests and interviews the psychologist reviews any findings with the candidate, has the candidate sign a release form, and then submits a written report to the Vocation Office. The the Vocation Director meets with the psychologist to determine if the candidate can move forward.

Background Check

The Vocation Office will perform a background check on every applicant who submits an application. This background check screens for criminal activity, including child abuse and child abductions.

The Vocation Director Formally Meets with the Bishop

Once the Vocation Director and Vocation Committee believe that the candidate is strong and viable, the Vocation Director meets with the Bishop to review the interview results, all paperwork information, and the psychological reports.

The Candidate Formally Meets with the Bishop

If the Bishop is satisfied with the information presented by the Vocation Director, the candidate formally meets for one hour with the Bishop. Immediately following the interview, the Vocation Director informs the candidate that the Diocese will sponsor him.

If during the Bishop's interview (or earlier if the situation warrants) the Bishop is not satisfied with the candidate for any reason, then

  • If the obstacle is unacceptable, the Vocation Director meets with the candidate and a formal letter is sent informing the candidate that the diocese will not sponsor him.
  • If the obstacle can be overcome, then the Vocation Director and the Bishop determine what action needs completion. The Vocation Director then communicates this information to the candidate.

Step 4 - Seminary

After a candidate is formally accepted, he will apply to and be enrolled in a particular seminary based on his previous education and formation.

Formation, as the Church understands it, is not equivalent to a secular sense of schooling or, even less, job training. Formation is first and foremost cooperation with the grace of God. In the United States Bishops’ document The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests, a reflection on Saint Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 3:17-18 leads to a description of formation.

The apostle Paul marvels at the work of the Holy Spirit who transforms believers into the very image of Jesus Christ, who himself is the image of God. This grace of the new covenant embraces all who have joined themselves to Jesus Christ in faith and baptism. Indeed, it is sheer grace, all God’s doing. Moved by that grace, however, we make ourselves available to God’s work of transformation. And that making ready a place for the Lord to dwell in us and transform us we call formation.

There are four components that the seminary and its programs use to foster the formation of future priests. They are the human, the spiritual, the intellectual, and the pastoral. These four pillars of priestly formation developed in (Pope John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation) Pastores Dabo Vobis (I will Give You Shepherds). These pillars of formation and their finality give specificity to formation in seminaries as well as a sense of the integrated wholeness of the different dimensions of formation

Seminarians and Seminaries

Step 5 - Ordination

After years of formation and prayer and grace, a seminarian is ordained a transitional deacon and then a priest.

Upcoming Ordinations

Sunday, June 1, 2014
at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, Wisconsin

Join us for the celebration of Deacon David Nueschwander to the priesthood and Adam Laski to Transitional Deacon

More Info