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The call to holiness is a universal call, valid for all human beings without distinction of age, profession, race or language. Just as all are redeemed, so all are called. (John Paul II)

The Call to Holiness

The vocation to holiness means putting into practice, in one’s own daily life, the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.” A vocation is a call from God to share in His mission in the world. Everyone has a vocation. It is as Pope John Paul II calls: “the universal call to holiness,” meaning that all people, everywhere, regardless of the vocation to which God calls them, are all called to be holy. It is in answering this call that we find joy.


While we associate ‘vocation” with ordination to priesthood, the first vocation is Married Life and its unique call to holiness as a couple and a family. In the teaching of the Church, the family is the bedrock of the People of God. Some are called to serve the People of God: priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and lay ministers. Each of them also has a unique call to holiness which requires discernment and wisdom.

The Franciscans

For 800 years, we Franciscans have been living the Gospel in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. Interested in the life? Contact us and let us assist you in discerning your vocation. Take a look at our vocations website or contact our local vocation director.

Secular Franciscans

Secular Franciscans are lay people in the world. Living the Gospel  as a community, in the footsteps of Sts. Francis and Clare – as they pursue family life and careers. See our local fraternity website for more information and to contact our vocation director

Diocesan Priest/Deacon

Diocesan priests and deacons are men ordained to their promises of obedience, celibacy for their state of life, and to live a life of holy simplicity. Diocesan priests and deacons serve a single diocese and are usually dedicated to parish life. Learn how to become a diocesan priest or deacon.

Religious Sister

Women vowed to a common life in obedience and chastity to serve the people of God in a variety of works and ministry.

Learn more visit these two websites: Leadership Conference of Women Religious or Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

Religious Brother

Men vowed to a life of obedience and chastity living in community to serve the people of God in an amazing variety of works and ministry. They are not ordained priest but are called to serve in unique ways. To learn more visit the website of Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

Growing in holiness and discovering your vocation

The general call to holiness is concretized through one’s particular vocation. The following areas are offered as an aid to become more open to that vocation and to thus, follow Christ more closely:

INQUIRE…as the Lord to show you the vocation He has prepared for you and invites you to embrace.

LISTEN…to God and have the courage to respond to Him freely and generously.

PRAY… daily and habitually for Wisdom and Spiritual insight.  Include the Prayers of the Church, the rosary asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede with her Son on your behalf. Include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as part of your prayer and devotion.

READ…and meditate on Sacred Scripture and other good spiritual reading including the lives of the saints.

ATTEND…Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as your state in life and current responsibilities will allow.

GO…to the Sacrament of Penance consistently.

SERVE…your parish, and elsewhere, as needed and as you are able.

TALK…with a priest or consecrated religious about your vocation questions and concerns, seeking spiritual direction and guidance.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a vocation question for the friars? We are present at all the Masses. Introduce yourself and ask away!


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Are all Franciscan friars also priests?

Not always. Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus have dedicated themselves to serving the People of God along the East coast for over a century. We are an evangelical and missionary fraternity called to minister in the Eastern United States and abroad. Rooted in the Catholic and Franciscan tradition, we are disciples of Christ who seek to bring the Gospel into the everyday experience of all people through Franciscan witness, popular preaching, teaching, and pastoral leadership. We foster Christian discipleship by collaborating with those whom we serve and by standing in solidarity with all people, especially the alienated, the immigrant, and the poor – and some of us are also priests. Talk with one of our parish friars or with the Franciscan Vocation Office for more information.

How is a Franciscan priest different than parish priests?

As regards ordination and priestly life – they aren’t different. Most priests ordained for a diocese will, for the vast majority of their priestly life, be working in a parish and stationed within the geographical bounaries of the diocese. The majority of friar priest do not work in parishes (which are diocesan parishes). Take a look at the range of ministries the Franciscans serve – but in each of those location, their priestly ministry is exercised.

While there are many smaller differences, perhaps the most prominent is that Franciscans live in community – a fraternal and shared common life. The Diocese of Arlington has a pretty succinct guide:

“As a general rule of thumb, if you find yourself attracted to family life (living, working, praying, relaxing, eating and even vacationing together), then it is very likely you should first explore a vocation to the religious life. On the other hand, if you find yourself more attracted to keeping your own schedule, working independently, living with others more in fraternity as roommates, than in community as a family, then you should probably first explore the diocesan Priesthood.”

If some Franciscans are not priest, what do they do?

Apart from priestly duties (celebrating Mass and sacraments), the non-ordained friars do pretty much the same things as the friars who are priests. Take a look at our provincial description of our ministries – ordained or not, friars fulfill the mission of those ministries.

Are Franciscan priests also Franciscan Brothers or Friars?

A Franciscan’s first vow and vocation is to live together as brothers to one another as we jointly walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. A Franciscan is always and foremost a brother (or friar if one prefers). It can be confusing for people who are used to having diocesan priests staff their parishes: he is a priest and is traditionally addressed as Father.  In a Franciscan staffed parish (which we administer for the local diocese), people wonder if the priests should be called “Father,” “Brother,” or “Friar.” An ordained Franciscan is all three. Our rule of thumb is don’t call us late for lunch.