Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg


All Called to Holiness

What is a Vocation?

A vocation is a call from God to share in His mission in the world.  Everyone has a vocation. Sometimes this concept is referred to as "the universal call to holiness," meaning that all people, everywhere, regardless of the vocation to which God calls them, are all called to be holy. It is in answering this call that we find joy.

There are a variety of paths to achieve this holiness. This section of the website is concerned specifically with the vocations of the priesthood and religious life, though many of the same tools of discernment will also apply to the discernment of other vocations including Holy Matrimony. It is important that all of us learn to listen to the voice of God and seek to follow his will. 

Tyler Fitzgerald receives the next step towards ordination 
to priesthood as an Acolyte.

From left to right: Tyler M. Fitzgerald, Diocese of Ogdensburg; Most Rev. Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS, Bishop of Charleston; and Very Rev. Edward Mazich, OSB, Rector of St. Vincent Seminary.  

Recipients of the Bishop Edgar Wadhams Award for Distinguished Service at the Celebration of the Body of Christ for the Sesquicentennial of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, July 10, 2022


Sister Mary Christine Taylor, SSJ, Bishop Terry LaValley, Sister Sharon Anne Dalton, SSJ 

Ordination of Deacon Lukas H. Gruber

The Priesthood

The priest is an “alter Christus” which is Latin for another Christ. He is called to be a witness of Christ to the flock that has been entrusted to him as their shepherd. He is a minister of the sacraments, proclaimer of the word, teacher of the faith, and steward of the Church. The priest is meant to accompany and lead the flock entrusted to his care through this world in such a way as they are able to reach the eternal kingdom of heaven.

Permanent Diaconate

Deacons share in Christ's mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. 

The Consecrated Life

The Consecrated Life is a permanent state of life recognized by the Church of men and women called to live freely in response to the call of Christ to perfection as religious sisters and brothers or monks and nuns. Their life is characterized by the profession of evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience to be a witness of life of heaven living here on earth.  They are to serve as a reminder and an encouragement to us to live our own lives with hearts and minds fixed on Christ.  They live their lives in radical contrast to this world that is fading away. 

Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony is a sacrament uniting one man and one woman to each other and to God for the sake of salvation of their own souls and to help share in Christ's mission in the world. Marriage is not merely a human commitment or a contrast between two parties, it is a God inspirted unity of self-sacrifice.  Just like every sacrament, its goal is to get us to heaven. When a couple gets married they are promsing God and the other to do everything in their power to get their spouse to heaven.  The Office for Family Life offers resources, talks, retreats and more to help prepare for and live out the vocation to holy matrimony. 

Dedicated Single Life

The dedicated single life is a call from God to make a gift of your person to Him and to His Church while still living in the world as a lay person, dedicating your life to service of others and to making the church and the world a better place.

Discernment Process 
How Can I Know God's Plan in my life?

Keys to Discovering God's Will

Have you felt that God could be calling you to be a priest or brother? No matter what your vocation, the process of discovering it is half of the battle. Done right, this process lays a firm foundation for your living out of this vocation, be it to marriage, dedicated single life, or priesthood and religious life.

What is a Vocation?

Our vocation is our call from God to share in His mission in the world, and it is given to us for our salvation and to cooperate in the salvation of others. We receive our vocation at the moment of our Baptism, then we spend the next several decades of our life trying to discover what that call may be, asking questions like:

  • Who have you created me to be, O Lord?
  • How have you called me to love and serve?
  • How will my heart be fulfilled?
  • Who am I?
Six Steps to Explore Your Vocation:

1.  Know He created you for a specific mission. 
2.  Accept God’s love and His choice for you. 
3.  Make yourself available and listen to God. 
4.  Work with God in freeing you to say yes. 
5.  Give yourself entirely to Christ in love. 
6.  Get to know the four voices of discernment.

How do we unlock this secret of God's particular call?

Here are some practical suggestions which are a good basis for a diligent discernment. Doing these things will not turn you into a priest or religious, but they are keys which move you toward the goal of becoming holy and more open to the grace of God at work in your life:

Daily Rosary:

If you are not currently in the habit of praying a rosary each day, just start with one decade and build up the habit from there.

Daily Holy Hour:

Many people do not have the opportunity to pray a holy hour every day, so try to just spend 10-15 minutes of quiet meditative prayer each day, and maybe have a more extended period once a week of 30-45 minutes.  (Our Praying with Scripture Brochure gives helpful advice and scripture passages.) Visit one of the Churches near you that offers Eucharistic Adoration ( Adoration Locations and Times )

Liturgy of the Hours:

also called the Divine Office, it is considered the prayer of the Church. Five times a day priests and religious stop to pray Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer and the Office of Readings. Many lay people join in saying this form of prayer daily. If you are not familiar with it, there are apps and websites dedicated to explaining how to pray these hours. Maybe just start with Night prayer, the shortest and the most regular. You can access these prayers at iBreviary

Frequent Confession: 

The Sacrament of Penance is considered the sacrament of discernment, because every time you go to confession you have to compare who you are with the person God is calling you to be. If you are seriously discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, it is recommended you go to confession every 2-3 weeks, or at the very least once a month. Each of these keys to unlocking your vocation is a goal to work towards. It is helpful to talk them over with your spiritual director to help stay on track and not get discouraged. As Our Lord did after He fell when carrying the Cross, get up and keep moving!


Reverend Christopher Carrara

Diocesan Director of Vocations and Seminarians

Reverend Matthew 

Diocesan Associate Vocations Director

Diocesan Vocations 

Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, SSJ