Discernment Process

General Discernment from Diocese of Allentown

If you are interested in the Priesthood then you should speak to your Pastor, a trusted Priest, or directly with the Diocesan Vocation Director. This way you can hear what the life of a Priest is really like. A Priest can help you learn how to pray more concretely and discern more clearly if the Priesthood is for you. If the desire to serve the Lord and the Church as a Priest increases with prayer and you sense joy and happiness around the thought of the being a Priest, then it is time to think seriously about some formal process of discernment.

Fr. Mark Searles (msearles@allentowndiocese.org) in the Office for Vocations Promotion is glad to meet or to speak with anyone who would like some guidance in this process of discernment or assistance with any of the helpful steps listed below.  

Helpful Steps in the Discernment Process

Personal daily prayer:

  • Attendance at daily mass, when possible
  • Scriptures (lectio divina)
  • Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament, when possible
  • Daily examen of conscience Holy Rosary


  • Days of reflection
  • Weekend retreats

Spiritual Direction:

  • Meeting with a Priest every three to four weeks
  • Regular participation in the Sacrament of Penance



A very common misunderstanding is that if a man enters the seminary he is definitely going to be a Priest. The reality is that the seminary is the place where a man who has the desire to be a Priest goes to discern intensely whether or not this is God's plan for his life. In the seminary, the formation program disposes the seminarian to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. The Priests in the seminary as well as in his diocese will help the man discover if he is called to the Priesthood. In the end, the Bishop of the Diocese is one who calls a man to Priesthood.

The section of this website called FAQ (frequently asked questions) can answer some of those initial questions about the Priesthood and seminary formation.