The Church is forever young. Proof of this is the recent World Youth Day held in Australia. Thousands of young people rallied around our Holy Father to give testimony of their faith.
The Church is always dynamic. Movements such as the Focolare Movement, the Neocatechumenal Way, the Charismatic Renewal, and countless others are sprouting up as a response to the concrete needs of the Church today.
The Church is militant. She needs and looks for men who are willing to give their lives in her service. The good news is that there are many men answering this call.
This summer, all over the world, there are young men entering programs offering God the first place in their lives. These men are interested in serving the Church radically in the priesthood. One of these programs is the candidacy program of the Legion of Christ.
The candidacy program is a testing period that lasts three months. The young men discern with the help of experienced priests of the congregation whether or not they called to the priesthood and religious life.
During this time, the young men follow a schedule very similar to what they would live in the novitiate and the rest of their religious life in the congregation.
They are introduced into the spiritual life with guided meditations, daily rosary and the possibility to go to confession. Every day ends as it begins: with our Lord in the Eucharist. Mass begins the day, and Christ blesses them each night before going to bed in Benediction.
During the day time is dedicated to physical exercise as well as mental exercise. Formation of the entire man is important, not just a part of him, and so sports along with study are important.
Sports usually consist of intramural soccer, basketball or Frisbee football. The young men also have two outings to the mountains or the ocean every week to get some fresh air.
They learn the basic elements they will need to prepare for the future priestly ministry: intensive courses to learn other languages, study of the Church documents, and talks on the spiritual life within the Church and within the congregation.
During this period, experienced priests are always available to help them discern on a personal level what God wants from them.
It is an intense but beautiful time: intense, because the young man knows that the decision he makes this summer will shape the rest of his life; beautiful, because he knows that he is giving the best of himself to the Best to be the best.
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