All Christians are called by Jesus Christ to be his followers and to serve him in many different ways. Some people are called to ordained ministry as a deacon or priest. This is a particular calling to be set apart and to be given authority by the Church for a sacramental and functional leadership role of service.
If you believe that God may be calling you to consider the ordained ministry, the usual starting-point is to talk to your parish priest or vicar. If it seems appropriate your parish priest should then contact the Diocesan Director of Ordinands to introduce you. (You can make contact with the DDO directly for an informal conversation, if you would like to, but eventually you will need to have the support of your vicar.)
What then follows is a journey of discernment (seeking God’s will) and formation (allowing your call to take on an ordained shape), involving reading, writing, church visits and appointments with a number of people who assist in the process. The discernment process takes an average of 18 months to two years – and when you look back at the journey you have made, it is easy to see why!
The discernment process culminates in sponsorship by the bishop to attend a national three-day Bishops’ Advisory Panel, following which the bishop makes a decision about whether or not to send you into training of a further two or three years.
A perceived calling to ordination is one that requires an enormous commitment to see the discernment process through to a conclusion. However, if you are experiencing such a call, please do not suppress it, but respond in humility and faith to what you think God may be calling you to.