Father Thomas Maikowski has been a Catholic priest for more than 35 years. The calling to join the priesthood is a powerful one, and the process of entering it is a sacred and transformative one, not to be taken lightly. Although the steps and considerations involved in becoming a priest are myriad, there are a few principal, defining characteristics expected of those entering the priesthood:
A true and pure faith in Jesus: The faith and piety expected of priests go above and beyond that expected of the layperson. Those who join the priesthood are men for whom prayer is a way of life, and for whom love of God and a true relationship with Jesus Christ are concrete facts, rather than abstract notions. Additionally, a candidate for the priesthood should be reasonably familiar with Catholic doctrines and positions and should hold a firm belief in them.
A well-rounded personality: As representatives of the church, priests are expected to be whole and balanced people who understand and embrace life even as they embrace their calling. Candidates for the priesthood should be kind, generous, and respectful of all people, and their words and actions should reflect these qualities. Furthermore, those interested in the priesthood should be intelligent enough to understand the foundations and responsibilities of the position so that they can preach, teach, and continue to learn and grow.
A patient nature: Getting from the beginning point of studying and practicing to the endpoint of being ordained as a priest requires great patience, as well as a willingness to focus inwardly and contemplate things deeply, rather than simply looking for the “right answer” and moving on to the next question. This is just as important for those who have not yet begun down the path but are considering it. As the priesthood is a sacred calling not to be undertaken lightly, a great deal of personal reflection and discussion with church figures are highly recommended before taking the first official steps.