Almost 60 years ago the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council reflected on the meaning of the priesthood and its relationship to the People of God:

“In the measure in which they participate in the office of the apostles, God gives priests a special grace to be ministers of Christ among the people. They perform the sacred duty of preaching the Gospel, so that the offering of the people can be made acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Through the apostolic proclamation of the Gospel, the People of God are called together and assembled. All belonging to this people, since they have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, can offer themselves as “a sacrifice, living, holy, pleasing to God” (Rom 12:1). Through the ministry of the priests, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is made perfect in union with the sacrifice of Christ. He is the only mediator who in the name of the whole Church is offered sacramentally in the Eucharist and in an unbloody manner until the Lord himself comes. The ministry of priests is directed to this goal and is perfected in it.”

Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis), #2

A call to a priestly life is best understood by considering who a priest is. He is a man of faith and prayer called to be a church minister; he proclaims the Word of God; he administers the sacraments; he lives celibately as servant-leader; he builds a parish community that works to bring healing, justice, and holiness to all. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, baptized men are consecrated in Christ's name "to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God."

The priest stands as a sacramental witness of the presence of God in the world. This vision of priestly life is lived each day in the parishes of the Diocese of Albany and the diverse institutions which serve the needs of the people of New York. The Diocese is part of a tapestry of ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity. Diocesan priests work in this challenging mosaic of humanity.

Requirements to be part of the tradition of the priesthood are understandably high. Emotional maturity, good health, intelligence, a deep and prayerful commitment to serve God and His people are essential. Seminaries provide the necessary tools, formation, and direction to be an effective priest for the Church and the Diocese of Albany once a man has recognizedthe call to priestly life. 

Through the process of discernment, one discovers God's will for his life. A man exploring the possibility of a vocataion to the priesthood, diaconate or a religious order can find assistance through the Office of Priestly & Religious Vocations. A discernment test can be helpful in knowing the next step to take.

If we understood the priesthood, we would die not of fright, but of love. The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.” 

- St. John Marie Vianney