Your Son Wants to Be A Priest!

When our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI visited our city in April 2008, he told the youth, “First of all my thoughts go to your parents, grandparents and godparents. They have been your primary educators in the faith. By presenting you for baptism, they made it possible for you to receive the greatest gift of your life. On that day you entered into the holiness of God himself. You became adoptive sons and daughters of the Father. You were incorporated into Christ. You were made a dwelling place of his Spirit. Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way – socially, materially, spiritually. Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life.” (Meeting With Young People and Seminarians in Yonkers, NY, April 19, 2008)

The first word to families our offer re-echoes that of our Holy Father, THANK YOU! Thank you for planting the seed of faith in your child. Thank you for doing your best in fostering their faith life. And now as they grow older, they feel called and therefore as a parent or family member you may have a mix of emotions such as:

  1. Your happy and very supportive
  2. No Way! – Not in my lifetime
  3. I am not sure what this means.

All of the responses of a parent discovering their son’s desire to be a priest are normal and have been the experience of parents for many years. In 2007, the Diocese of Brooklyn commissioned a study with St. John’s University to try and answer some of the important questions surrounding religious vocations. For instance, 76% of young adults turn to their religion to help them with daily problems. Our young adults pray! Even 73% of them pray at least once a day. We must then assume that young people, while they are caught-up in a crazy culture, have some sort of relationship with God yet how many people actually think that. This is proof that the seeds of faith planted by families at a young age do take hold and grow into something beautiful.

It is the purpose of families to create an inviting environment to allow God to be present daily. The Lord continues to call men to the priesthood, but sometimes wrong impressions by family members can be given, for instance, most families disapprove of religious vocations – service to the Church. When asked this question by the St. John’s study, 61% of the young adults said their families would encourage them to pursue a religious vocation; 59% said their desire would be taken seriously by family members. Families in fact do support vocations, but this does not mean that families are comfortable with the idea of a son, brother, grandson, nephew becoming a priest. However, it has also been noted that families while they would encourage a son’s decision to discern a vocation, they are not readily willing to ask their sons to consider a vocation. Parents are always looking for the best from their children; the greatest gift you have given your child is faith, the greatest gift you can give to the Church, is your son. And in all of this we continue to proclaim the great love that Jesus Christ has for each and every one of us.

This section is dedicated to you the family members. Here you will be able to read the stories and opinions of family members of priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn. They offer a candid view into their own reflections of watching their loved ones discern a call to priesthood. You will read how some were moved from uncertainty to excitement. How one family grew from one son to his 30 classmates. You will reads about real experiences. We will update this section of the site periodically to continue to document the reactions and responses of families possible like yours. We will even offer you the opportunity to ask one of our parents or siblings questions should you wish. Just e-mail your question to the vocation office, and we will pass it along for an answer.

We recognize that a family member discerning a call to priesthood can be a challenge for some. We invite you to use the resources of the Vocation Office to allow us to help you find the answers to questions you may have.


"I don’t think that we were surprised but yet I was shocked"

by Cathy Purpura


Help him to hear and listen to God’s call

by Linda Abels


I was upset thinking he would live a lonely life

by Robert Cunningham


The priesthood is more than a profession it is truly a vocation, as is medicine

by Dr. Christine Walsh


Who could have foreseen that God would be blessing our lives with so many additional sons?

by Joanne Giulietti



by Kevin Keating


St. John's University Study

In the Spring of 2007, St. John’s University and the Diocese of Brooklyn conducted a confidential study that explores the
views of young New Yorkers towards the Catholic Church today. The study focused on the personal thoughts and
ideas of those surveyed about vocations to priesthood and consecrated religious life. Below are some PDF documents you can download to see the study summary, results, and section on the family.

Study Summary - PDF

Study Results - PDF

Study Section II: Family - PDF

A Message from our Bishop

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Meet Our Seminarians

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