Office of Vocations

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Are you being called to serve God as a priest, sister, or brother in the Catholic Church?

Do you know someone who would make a great priest or sister?

The Office of Vocations has been established to aid interested individuals in trying to determine if God is calling them to a religious vocation.

In trying to decide if a religious vocation is the right call for your life, you might have questions like these:

  • How long does it take to become a priest?
  • Where can I get information about different communities of sisters?
  • Who can I talk to that would help me understand God’s call in my life?
  • What is seminary life like?
  • How can I apply to be a priest in the Diocese of Beaumont?

The Office of Vocations can help you with these and any other questions you might have regarding Church vocations. Contact the Director of Vocations with any questions you might have regarding priesthood or religious life.

The Director of Vocations is also available to speak to different parish or diocesan groups about how they can help promote religious vocations in the Church.

In addition, the Office of Vocations sponsors several different vocations programs such as Youth Southeast Texas, Vocation Awareness Retreats, and Trips to the Seminary.

OFFICE OF VOCATIONS

DIOCESE OF BEAUMONT SCREENING
PROCESS OF APPLICANTS FOR SEMINARY

(Rev. 4/’10)

Table of Contents

  1. Inquiry Stage
  2. Applicant Stage
  3. Formal Interview
  4. Candidate Stage
  5. Seminarian Stage

1. Inquiry Stage

The inquirer contacts the diocesan Vocation Director (409/924, ext. 4361) at Lamar University Catholic Student Center, Beaumont, Texas.  (E-mail: vocations@dioceseofbmt.org).  The Vocation Director will meet with the inquiring party to see if he is a potential applicant.  The inquirer is responsible for his own travel costs to/from the diocese.  If the Vocation Director determines so, he will have the inquirer fill out completely the Application for Acceptance As A Seminarian For The Diocese of Beaumont, including the Clergy/Seminarian Background Questionnaire.  Along with the application and background questionnaire, the inquirer is to return to the Vocation Director the following documentation:

  • a copy of his birth certificate
  • a recent (issued within the past 6 mos.) baptism certificate with all notations on back
  • a certificate of Confirmation (unless noted on the baptism certificate)
  • copies of documents/transcripts verifying educational background, academic degrees, or certification

–a thorough, candid, and chronological autobiography (signed and dated), including family background; health; faith history and discernment of vocation; involvement with the Church; a chronological listing of work experience after high school; reasons for wanting to become a priest and for applying to this particular Diocese; any previous applications to a Religious Institute or Diocese and, if not accepted, why; previous time spent in a seminary or Religious Institute and reasons for departure; if previously married:  how long, number of children, the circumstances of the breakdown of the marriage, if declared invalid–the grounds; etc.

  • results of a complete physical exam and a dental exam (both within the past 6 mos.)  Any prescribed medical or dental work must be completed, at the inquirer’s expense, prior to acceptance as a seminarian.
  • letters of recommendation (also concretely addressing strengths and weaknesses of the applicant) from the pastor of the parish where he is currently active, from any other priest or religious who may have advised him in his discernment, from a current employer or supervisor, or from a friend or co-worker
  • If previously married: documents of marriage, divorce, and final annulment notification
  • If not a U.S. citizen:  copies of all immigration documents: passport, visa, I-94, permanent residency, etc.
  • If currently/previously a seminarian: name of sponsoring Bishop/Religious Superior and rector of seminary currently/previously attending, along with their mailing addresses, phone and fax numbers so contacts can be made and documentation requested; signed release for seminary to release files to Diocese of Beaumont.

2. Applicant Stage

After the Vocation Director reviews all of the documentation and determines that the person is still a viable applicant, then he notifies the Chancellor to complete the background checks (convictions, credit, driving).

If the checks are clear, he will arrange for an interview of the applicant by members of the Vocations Board.  A confidential copy of the applicant’s documentation will be provided to the members of the Board for their review in advance of the meeting.

3. Formal Interview

The applicant is interviewed by the Vocations Board.  Following the interview, there is a discussion by the members, after which the Board makes its recommendation to the Bishop.  The Bishop will then meet with the applicant.  If the applicant is approved for candidate status, he is notified by the Vocation Director.

4. Candidate Stage

A complete psychological assessment is arranged by the Vocation Director or the Director of Seminarians with a qualified professional, unless a professional report in the last 12 mos. is available.  The Diocese will cover the expense of the assessment.  If approved by the Bishop, the candidate is notified in writing of his acceptance as a seminarian.  If immigration application is necessary, the Chancellor, with guidance from C.L.I.N.I.C., will assist the candidate to obtain the proper documentation, unless the candidate will be obtaining a “Student Visa” through the Seminary.

5. Seminarian Stage

Arrangements are initiated for entrance into the Seminary

Seminarian Policies

Table of Contents

Financial Policy for College Seminarians

The whole church shares in the responsibility and work of preparing men to serve as priests. Concerned men, their families, parishes and the Diocesan Community as a whole join together in a response to God’s call and in the formation process that leads to ordination and ministry.

Since the Diocese has an invested interest in its personnel, it feels a responsibility toward the financial obligations to its students for the priesthood. In order to describe what is considered to be a fair sharing in the cost of education, a financial policy is outlined below. This policy reflects the belief that the cost of education is to be borne by the college seminarian himself and his family.

From the outset, it should be clear that acceptance for seminary formation and education is not based on “ability to pay”. No student or his family is asked, or is expected to be under any undue financial burden while he is training for the ministry. This policy hopefully will help to meet a realistic situation.

College seminarians and their families should evaluate their financial situation and pay what they feel that they can pay. The Diocese asks only that each student do his part, according to his own means, in meeting this financial responsibility.

Guidelines for Meeting Educational/Formation Costs

1) Each college Seminary participates in a variety of Federal and State Loan/Grant Programs to aid the students who have financial needs. It is the responsibility of the APPLICANT to check the catalogue of the Seminary College where application has been made for the various programs and procedures for applying for Financial Aid.

2) Parents of seminary applicants are expected to complete the “Financial Aid Form” at the time of application to the seminary, unless the family agrees to pay for the total education/formation of the seminarian.

3) Students are expected to apply for ALL grants, scholarships and loans from available sources. This means that they are to fully cooperate with the Seminary Financial Aid Office.

4) College seminarians are expected to pay ALL personal expenses such as personal needs, health/hospitalization insurance (if not covered by parents or not offered by the college seminary), and fees not generally charged to all students (parking, air conditioning, room deposit, etc.).

5) Students attending schools participating in the Federal Work-Study Program or who offer a local program are required to participate in this program.

6) Each seminarian must complete the Confidential Report on how much the seminarian/his family can pay toward education/formation. This is obtained from the Chief Financial officer of the Diocese.

7) Students will be given $50.00 per month for spending money.

8) The Seminary will send a semester statement to the Diocese showing all deductions for each seminarian. The Diocesan Office of Vocation Ministry will notify the family as to their confidential commitment for helping to meet the education/formation costs of the seminarian.

9) Any exceptions to these guidelines must meet with the approval of the Diocesan Director of Seminarians and must be submitted in writing for filing in the Office of Vocation Ministry.

10) If there is some difficulty and financial assistance is needed, the individual seminarian must contact the Director of Seminarians and discuss the matter. Any loan to the student must be made in the form of a written request by the seminarian. Included with the requested funds will be a loan from the Diocese of Beaumont which the seminarian is required to sign and return to the Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese. In the event the seminarian in College discontinues his studies for the Diocese of Beaumont, or if for any reason college studies are discontinued, any loans with the Diocese must be repaid. Arrangements for this will be made with the Chief Financial Officer for the Diocese. This also applies to students who graduate from College Seminary and then choose not to continue with advanced studies in Theology.

Travel Policy for College Seminarians

The Diocese will be financially responsible for travel expenses to the seminary in the Fall and the return after the Spring Semester for College Seminarians.

The Diocese will assume the cost of ONE trip for home visitation during the course of the year at the seminarian’s choice of holiday time (Christmas, Easter, etc.) in the event that no financial means are available.

All other travel expenses incurred by the seminarian are the responsibility of the seminarian.

Receipts should be submitted to the secretary of the Vocations office for reimbursement.

Summer Program College Level

College-level seminarians are encouraged in the summers to pursue employment in order to set aside funds to meet at least part of their expenses during the academic year.

1) Because of the importance of summer work experience, college-level seminarians are encouraged to seek secular work positions for the experience gained in such jobs.

2) Seminarians are encouraged to offer their leisure time to help in and around their home parish. Each seminarian should let his home pastor know he is in the parish for the summer. Contact with the parish is important for maintaining an identity during these formative years.

3) The Director of Seminarians will evaluate the summer informally with the seminarian.

4) This policy is inclusive of the summer between college and theology studies.

Financial Policy for Seminarians in Theology

One of the principle concerns of the Diocese is to provide a well-rounded academic, pastoral and spiritual program for the development of the future Diocesan priest.

Since the Diocese of Beaumont has an invested interest in its personnel it assumes a responsibility toward the financial obligations of its students for priesthood. No student or his family is asked or is expected to be under any undue financial burden while he is in training for the ministry. Therefore, the Diocese of Beaumont has programs for subsidizing the costs of a student’s education/formation.

Part of the developmental experience in formation of students for the priesthood is the acceptance of the responsibility toward the costs of their education. It is important, therefore, that each student be aware of and bear some of the expenses incurred in his training. The Diocese of Beaumont asks each student to do his part, according to his own means, in meeting this responsibility.

Based upon this Philosophy, the Office of Vocation Ministry has adopted the following financial position.

Guidelines for Meeting Educational/Formation Costs

1) The Diocese will accept responsibility for all Room and Board and Tuition and book costs of the seminarians in Theology.

2) Certain fees of a personal nature (parking, car, etc.) are the responsibility of the student.

3) If there is some difficulty and financial assistance is needed, the individual seminarian must contact the Director of Seminarians and discuss the matter. Any loan to the student must be made in the form of a written request by the seminarian. Included with the requested funds will be a Loan from the Diocese of Beaumont which the seminarian is required to sign and return to the Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese. In the event the seminarian in theology discontinues his studies for the Diocese of Beaumont, any loans with the Diocese must be re-paid. Arrangements for this will be made with the Chief Financial Officer.

4) Theology students will be given $100.00 a month for spending money.

Travel Policy for Seminarians in Theology

The Diocese will be financially responsible for travel expenses to the seminary in the Fall and the return after the Spring Semester for seminarians in Theology.

The Diocese will assume the cost of ONE trip for home visitation during the course of the year at the seminarian’s choice of holiday time (Christmas, Easter, etc.) in the event that no financial means are available.

All other travel expenses incurred by the seminarian are the responsibility of the seminarian.

Receipts should be submitted to secretary of Vocations office for reimbursement.

Summer Program Theology Level

1) These directives apply to Theology students finishing their first year of Theology and following. The directives are made so that the Theology-level seminarian may familiarize himself with our Diocese, its unique character and special pastoral concerns and services.

2) The Director of Seminarians and Vocations Board will place the student for the summer.

3) Any request for placement by student or priest in the parish are to be made through the Director of Seminarians.

4) The salary for Theology-level seminarians working in a parish will be set by the Director of Seminarians and assumed by the parish unless other arrangements are made between the parish and the diocese.

5) The seminarian should submit a list of interests and experiences to the Director of Seminarians, before placement is effected.

6) At the end of the summer, the appropriate people will be asked to evaluate the student. Forms will be furnished to both at the beginning of the summer. The evaluation will be reviewed with the seminarian by the Director of Seminarians.

Internship For The Diocese Of Beaumont

Purpose: To assign the seminarian to a parish, where he and the Pastor and Associates can work comfortably together to provide for the seminarian:

1) Theological reflections and pastoral insight into the priestly ministry.

2) A support system as he learns, through his own personal experience, the relation between theory and practicality in ministering to the people of God.

3) Experience in serving the Christian community.

Directives:

1) The internship must be completed prior to priesthood ordination.

2) The internship consists of full-time assignment to parochial ministry.

3) The internship ideally should be spent in the same parish; be under the same supervisor who resides in the same parish; and if there is a need for a change of assignments during the internship, the original supervisor should continue to be consulted along with the new supervisor.

Guidelines For International Students

The Diocese reserves the right to ask international students and applicants from outside the Diocese to spend an extended period of time working within the Diocese in a secular or parochial service as a necessary element in the process of discerning their vocation to the Diocese.

This is to provide the Diocese and applicant with sufficient time to become inculturated within our country, American Church experience and local community in order that the applicant adapt reasonably well as an American in culture, language, mentality, and as well as an American in ecclesial theology and pastoral life. The objective of an extended year(s) is to provide quality time for the Diocese to know the candidate personally and for the candidate to discern as well his own capability of adjusting emotionally, physically, and spiritually to the unique political, social, cultural, economic, and ecclesial life of the Diocese of Beaumont.

Students must have an ability to communicate in the English language both in speech and writing skills. English classes may be offered but if there is no noticeable improvement in one year’s time the student will be dismissed as a candidate for the Diocese. The Bishop will make this judgment with consultation from the Vocations Board.

Seminarians must be diligent about keeping their immigration documents current (passport, Visa, I-94).

Seminarians And Foreign Language

All seminarians are required to be proficient in pastoral Spanish prior to ordination to the diaconate. Specifically, “pastoral” means to perform the following in an intelligible manner:

1) To proclaim the Scriptures in Spanish;

2) To celebrate the sacraments (including Reconciliation and the Mass) in Spanish;

3) To deliver Spanish language homilies (published by a homily service).

Seminarians who are more than proficient may be invited by the Bishop to undertake intensive study in order to become bi-lingual/bi-cultural in Spanish.

This policy is effective August 15, 2002, and applies to all current seminarians. Only the Bishop may exempt a seminarian from the requirement for pastoral proficiency.