May 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

4-Vatican-candidates

Candidates for priesthood share their thoughts

Two seminarians from Aberdeen Diocese gave a remarkable insight into their thoughts after being admitted to candidacy.

The Mass where Emmet O’Dowd and Rafal Szweda were recognised as candidates, alongside Emmanuel Alagbaoso from Argyll and the Isles, took place in the main chapel of the Scots College, and the celebrant was Bishop Farrell.

Emmet O’Dowd, of St Mary’s Inverness, said: “I have just been admitted as a candidate for Holy Orders. That means that, all going well, in two years I will be ordained as a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Aberdeen. Some people may think that to become a priest all you do is think about it, pray about it, go to the seminary, and seven years later you come back as a priest.

“Up to this point, my first five years, it has been ‘unofficial’. That is because a seminary is not only a place where you become a priest, but also a place where you try to figure out what God wants you to do with your life. Several friends I’ve made along the way have left, realising God was asking them to do something else. It’s been as right for them to go as it has been for me to stay.

“For us in the Scots College, we receive candidacy in our fifth year. We stand up in front of a bishop, our families, our friends and fellow seminarians during Mass, and ask to be considered for ordination as priests.

“We resolve to get ready to become priests to the best of our abilities, and we resolve to get ready to serve the people in our parishes as best we can. The Bishop, on behalf of the whole Church, then publicly and officially accepts our request for candidacy. We then begin the final leg of our preparations.

“There are still two more years before we become priests, and there is still no guarantee from either us or from the Church that this will happen.”

Rafal Szweda, of St Sylvester’s, Elgin, added: “Today’s ceremony was very special for me, I felt very happy and moved. My heart was filled with joy and peace when I was able to express publicly my desire to serve God. A parallel that comes to my mind would be of the situation when a man and woman publicly announce their engagement.

“They are not married yet but they have made a public commitment to do so in the near future. If we can say that a priest is, metaphorically speaking, married to the Church and to God, then admission to candidacy is like the public announcement of the engagement between the candidate and God.

“I feel very humbled that the Holy Mother Church has honoured me by publicly confirming my vocation to priesthood.”

—This story ran in full in the May 20 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

 

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