Through the sacrament of Baptism, each Christian receives a “call” or vocation. All are called to holiness and to serve. This can be lived out in a variety of ways – as a married or single person, or as a Priest, Brother or Sister. A vocation is not a single act, but a life-long process, a journey of faith. The vocation as a Priest sees the priest representing Jesus in his leadership role as head of the Body of Christ, the Church.
A seminarian is someone in formation to be a priest. The seminary is a place where seminarians live. Seminarians have their spiritual, human and pastoral education at Holy Cross Seminary situated in Ponsonby, a central suburb in Auckland. The academic formation takes place at Good Shepherd College, also in Ponsonby.
A diocesan priest lives and ministers in a particular geographic area called a diocese, which is led by a Bishop. New Zealand has six Catholic Dioceses: the Archdiocese of Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Dunedin.
A Diocesan Priest does not belong to a religious community or order of Priests. He lives a celibate life, following the example of Jesus himself, and promises obedience to the Bishop.
A Diocesan Priest’s first community is the Parish community which he serves. The parish is a Eucharistic community and the priest leads the community in the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments. The priest proclaims the Gospel in his preaching and homilies. He encourages lay people in their involvement in the parish.