Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 

Question:

"What are the requirements for acceptance as a candidate for the priesthood in the Melkite Church? What are the educational requirements for ordination? I have long felt a calling to the priesthood but was advised to finish my academic training first. Over the years, the sense of a calling has persisted. Your comments would be greatly appreciated."

Bishop John's Answer:

God bless your good will to serve His people. The first condition to be a candidate to serve a people is to know them and to be known and accepted by them. There is a general understanding that, to be accepted in our seminary, one should have belonged to a Melkite community for two years. Where do you live? Do you live near a Melkite community? How much you know about the people you intend to serve? You may get more information by writing or talking to our Vocation Director.

God bless your good will and direct your steps to His pleasure and glory.

Question:

"I am interest in how one becomes ordained in your church."

Bishop John's Answer:

Odination is a serious goal that can only be achieved after much prayer and discernment. On the occasion of his fiftieth year of ordination, Pope John Paul II spoke of his vocation to the priesthood as a gift from God and as a deep mystery known only to God Himself. Anyone attracted to the life of a priest should take this matter up with a spiritual director who can assist him in discerning God's will. The first goal of every serious Christian is the salvation of his soul. If you feel called to service as a priest, your spiritual director can show you the way to make application to the various Religious orders and diocese seminaries. Ordination in the Melkite Church follows the same course for those who are called to the service of an Eastern Catholic Church. Certain rules of the Church govern the acceptance of candidates for the priesthood. Our priests complete a prescribed course of studies in a major seminary prior to ordination. I wish you every blessing in your quest.

Question:

Is it possible for a married Roman Catholic such as myself to be ordained a priest in the Eastern Rite?

Bishop John's Answer:

Thank you for your inquiry about the possibility of a Roman Catholic layman to be admitted to the priesthood in the Melkite Church. As it is well known, it is the tradition of the Eastern Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, to admit married as well as celibate men to priestly ordination. However, it is not allowed, at the present time, to a Roman Catholic in the United States to seek priestly ordination in the Melkite Catholic Church. Besides, to serve a people you have to be part of them. You have to be a member of a Melkite Church for at least two years before being admitted to our Melkite Seminary or to our Diaconate Formation Program. Your seeking priestly ordination in a church should be for the sake of serving its people in their own style of worship (rite). That would be "false pretense," so to speak, to seek entrance into another church only for the sake of being ordained.

As sister Catholic Churches of East and West, we belong to the same "union." If there is a ban (a strike) against a practice in one church, the other churches should not provide the members of that church "to cross the strike line" and to break the rules of their church.

Consequently, it is not permissible for a Married Roman Catholic to seek priestly ordination in the Melkite Church. This is the rule at the present time. But we do not know what the future will hold. There are many way to serve the Lord. May God direct your step the the best track to serve Him and His people redeemed by His Precious Blood.

   

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