May 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


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.


Leave a Reply

latest news

Scottish bishops reveal new Coronavirus working group chaired by lay Catholic

May 6th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Bishop Gilbert said: "The bishops are keen to benefit from...

Scots College rector says BBC documentary’s success shows desire for more religious-themed shows

May 4th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

The rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome said...

Funeral arrangements made for one of Glasgow Archdiocese’s ‘best-known’ priests

May 4th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Funeral arrangements have been made for a Glasgow Archdiocese priest...

Dunkeld pays tribute to priest who served for nearly 65 years

May 4th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld paid tribute to to a...

Social media

Latest edition


exclusively in the paper

  • Unite in prayer against the virus, Paisley bishop pleads
  • Papal award recognises 60 years of Faithful service
  • Catholic high school leads trend with positive outcomes for pupils
  • New memorials celebrate Croy’s proud mining heritage
  • Top Catholic university rolls out programme in Scotland

Previous editions

Previous editions of the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper are only available to subscribed Members. To download previous editions of the paper, please subscribe.

note: registered members only.

Read the SCO