Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 1999
Priest to help men discern God's call
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Young men thinking of the priesthood will soon have a place to discern their vocation.
The Edmonton Archdiocese will open a formation house for priesthood candidates in the residence of the Redemptorist Fathers at St. Alphonsus Church.
The order, which has run the parish for the past 75 years, recently turned St. Alphonsus over to the Edmonton Archdiocese and will vacate the residence by the end of June.
Father Martin Carroll, who will take over as pastor of St. Alphonsus and St. Paul parishes in July, will head the formation house. In 1981-82 Carroll served as vice-rector of St. Joseph's Seminary.
Plans for the house are still in the preliminary stages and Carroll doesn't know what type of programs it will offer.
"What exactly we will do there I don't know," the priest said. "We still haven't met to decide how this will work." He predicts the program will be set up within the next year.
But Carroll, 56, is not about to reinvent the wheel and plans to get in touch with religious communities which have pre-novitiate programs to find out what those programs offer.
The idea, however, is to give "young adults" who have expressed an interest in becoming priests "an opportunity to come and live in a community," he said in an interview.
They could be university students or "young men who have been working and need to upgrade their education," he said. They could live at the formation house while they complete studies required for entrance at the seminary.
"Rather than telling young people 'After you finish your education come back and see us,' we are trying to do something for them at that time when they are expressing their interest," Carroll said.
Program participants will be introduced to prayer and will likely be involved in the life of the parish to help them decide whether they are cut out for parish work.
At the same time, "this will be an opportunity for the archdiocese to assess whether or not they are suitable candidates," Carroll said. Up to eight people can reside at the house.
Candidates for the formation house will likely be screened by the same committee that screens seminarians, he said.