Priestly vocation in the Institute of the Good Shepherd
The Institute of the Good Shepherd is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right established in 2006 under the pontificate and with the support of Pope Benedict XVI. The members of the Institute are secular priests, but live the common life in the houses of the Institute.
The sacerdotal spirituality of the Institute is based on the qualities of Jesus the Good Shepherd who does not cease to go after the lost sheep with a pastoral zeal filled with charity and mercy. The goal of the Institute is the sanctification of its members and the sanctification of the souls for the greater glory of God.
The Institute of the Good Shepherd has for its specific mission, entrusted by the Holy See, the propagation within the Church of the liturgical and doctrinal treasures of the Catholic Tradition. To this end, the priests of the Institute are at the service of the dioceses to take on any type of traditional apostolate.
Its mission is characterized firstly, by the exclusive use of the traditional roman liturgical books of 1962 (Extraordinary Form of the roman rite) in all of its liturgical acts. In the sense of the instruction Universae Ecclesiae (2011), the Institute aims to make accessible to all the faithful the richness of the Usus Antiquior, in order to take part in the renewal of Christian fervor as required for a re-evangelization which, to be fruitful, has to be rooted in Tradition.
Secondly, its mission is characterized by the spiritual, philosophical, and traditional theological formation received by its priests. This formation implies the possibility, as conceded by the Holy See, of constructive criticism regarding certain discussions on recent documents of the Magisterium, with respect to the theological principles which command the various degrees of this Magisterium and the various degrees of its due assent. The intention is not to raise vain disputes, but to make available to the ecclesiastical authority solid theological arguments in order to work towards a proper interpretation of the documents, and eventually amend some of them.
For the members of the Institute, the traditional liturgy and the theological formation based on the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas - recommended so many times by the popes - are irreplaceable resources for the personal good of the priest and of the souls entrusted to him.
The apostolate of the Institute is diverse comprising: parishes, chaplaincies, schools, spiritual retreats, charities, etc… Anything that aims to the good of the souls may be included in the ministry of our priests. Presently the Institute has houses in five countries: France, Poland, Italy, Brazil, and Colombia.
Saint Vincent de Paul Seminary is the house of formation of the Institute. It is located in the diocese of Chartres, in the small village of Courtalain, France, a two-hour drive from Paris. The tranquility of the village setting makes it an ideal location to nurture a life of prayer and to study sacred doctrine. The formation lasts six years: one year of spirituality, two years of philosophy, and three years of theology. During this time, under the guidance of the Angelic Doctor, seminarians study the various classical treaties of philosophy and theology, but they also study contemporary issues in the area of these two disciplines.
In the time of their formation, the candidate to the priesthood receives the tonsure, the minor and the major orders. Each steps bring him closer to his priestly ordination. Once a priest in the Institute, he will have to celebrate mass daily and administer the sacraments. At Saint Vincent de Paul Seminary, we aim to unify prayer and study which are the two pillars for sacerdotal sanctity and a fruitful apostolate.
The desire to enter the seminary and follow the path of the priesthood does not go without a solid Christian life. This means frequenting the sacraments regularly, being applied to its duty of state, and being moved by a great desire to save souls, along with the will to serve God and the Catholic Church fully. The candidate must lead a moral life coherent with the state of life he desires to embrace. He must also possess the intellectual aptitude to apply himself to the study of Church doctrine so to be able to nourish the flock entrusted to him.
Any young catholic must consider, before God, the state of life in which he shall be able to best serve Him. It is not about waiting for a particular calling, but rather about making an informed choice, with his intelligence and will moved by faith and charity. It is through regular prayer, particularly to Our Lady, and by talking to a spiritual director that one can eventually answer generously.
In this process of discernment, if one feels he might have a vocation to the priesthood, it is also necessary to consider carefully the institution or the congregation in which to best serve our Lord.
Candidates who have the willingness to serve Jesus Christ and His Church as a priest in the Institute of the Good Shepherd should make contact with our vocation director at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org