Vocations in the Maronite Eparchy

For those who are called to the priesthood there is nothing on the earth like it, and you will always feel like something is missing in your role until you become a priest (“I have called you by name. You are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). As a priest, you have an extraordinary opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of your brethren in Christ. A word from a priest can, and very often does, give a person hope, and strengthen their faith sufficient to deal with the problems of life.

But even more than that, perhaps the clearest sign that a man has a vocation to the priesthood is his love of the Eucharist. If you have that love, then nothing imaginable can be compared to the wonder of celebrating the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass and holding the bread and the wine which become transubstantiated (“He can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself” Hebrews 5:2-3).

If you do possess a vocation to the priesthood, nothing can take its place. To be an ordained priest of the Lord Most High will be in itself the highlight of your life. It is to be a bridge between heaven and earth. But be prepared: like a bridge you have to have the humility to allow people to walk over you!

To be a priest, then, needs first and foremost faith, hope and charity. It needs love of God and all which pertains to Him. It calls for a willingness to sacrifice oneself for that love; a willingness to express that love in the adoration and worship of God, and in helping His people.

The Church has, perhaps, never needed good priests as badly as it has today. And there are many men who are called to the priesthood who do not heed the Lord’s call. Why is this? The Church is under unprecedented pressure from other religious movements (Pentecostalism, Islam and so on), and also from the opposite: it is under unprecedented pressure from anti- and non-religious movements (secularism, atheism, materialism etc.). Each of these two sides are attacking the Church, and in their attack, they get to those men who have vocations before they can answer the call, and prevent them from hearing it let alone answering to it. It could well be that the most dangerous of these foes to vocations is materialism: the temptation to have a prosperous life and enjoy all the luxuries and delights, even innocent luxuries and delights which abound in the world.

This means that not only must each Catholic listen more closely to the inner voice to discern the true will of God for him, it also means that the Church must try harder to reach out to those vocations, to offer them examples of priestly life which are attractive not for their provision of creature comforts, but for holiness. Holiness and its attractiveness are, indeed, the secret weapons in the armoury of the Church. And where are they more apparent than in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, for truly the priest acts in the person of Christ, and to imitate Him in holiness and selflessness.

When Bishop Tarabay became the Eparch of our Maronite Church in Australia he soon made one significant innovation: he named himself as the Director of the Vocations Committee. Then, he instituted an annual vocations retreat, held in the first two weeks of Lent which he personally attends, and which he spends one on one time with every man who attends that retreat.

This has the significant result that each man who believes that he has or may have a vocation to the priesthood or even to the diaconate alone, can be assured of receiving the personal attention of the bishop.

The Maronite Church is very interested in vocations because God is, and it seeks to do His will. This year we have seminarians in Lebanon and seminarians in Australia. We have planned, we have struggled, and we are ready. We can advise you on how to discern: do you have a vocation to be a priest or a deacon? Or do you merely wonder if you might? There is no pressure: we want you to find what it is that God wants for you.

If you have any question about your vocation in life, even if you are certain it is not to the priesthood, please contact any Maronite priest: every Maronite priest is a vocations officer. Or else you can contact the Chancery on 8831 0000 and ask to speak to someone.

Yours in Christ,


Fr Yuhanna Azize,
Secretary Vocations Committee
0435 764 824