In 2014 a new House of Discernment was established in the Archdiocese of Portland. The House of Discernment is a pre-seminary formation program which allows Catholic single men 18 and older the opportunity to reflect deeper upon the Lord’s invitation to follow him as a priest. This program is important because it allows a young man to make that first step toward formal discernment while not fully committing to seminary. So often a man is called to the priesthood but has difficulty saying “Yes!” It can be a bit scary! The House of Discernment essentially takes that fear away by providing an environment of prayer, community, and fraternal support so that a man can open his heart more fully to God’s will for him.
Those living in the House of Discernment live a similar schedule as our seminarians. This includes daily Mass, Morning and Evening prayer, meals in common, a celibate lifestyle, house responsibilities, a pastoral ministry in a nearby parish and accountability to the Director of Vocations. The house can accommodate six men at a time in single bedrooms with a shared bath. Each room is furnished with a bed, sink, closet, desk, lamp and night stand. The house also provides a laundry room, recreation room with a television, and wireless Internet accessibility. A resident may provide some of his own personal decorations to make it feel
Young men come and go each year. Some of them leave to enter seminary; some of them leave to discern a religious vocation; and some of them leave to get married. It is important not to measure the success of the house by the number of seminarians it produces, but by the number of men we can help discern God’s will in their lives. It is there that they will be truly happy!