Fr. T. J. Dolce

Vocation Director, St. Mary's Seminary, Houston, Texas

2016 Christmas Banquet Speaker


Fr. Dolce told about the people he and Sr. Brenek look for…people who want to serve the Lord and share this with others. We also look for, in men and women contemplating the priestly and religious life, the following characteristics that Serrans can also look for:

  • Persons of deep prayer, who spend time with the Lord, in conversation with him and are looking to serve the lord. People who make time every day to talk to our Lord, and who know how God works in their hearts.
  • Persons who are good at talking with people, who can relate to others and explain the precepts of the church in a way that shows connectivity to each other.
  • Decent intelligence is another consideration. It's a long process to get through the seminary, to get through religious formation, to understand the faith.
  • Persons who love the Lord and are passionate about sharing this with others.
  • Being compassionate, to walk with another, to walk with them in their times of grief, times of suffering, and times of joy.

There are many career options for younger persons in life, things they can do, and things they can be good at. It is therefore easy for them to overlook service to the Lord. Fr. Dolce told how he became a priest. He was asked many times, “Hey, have you ever thought about being a priest?” Plant that seed. This is very important.

There are several myths about becoming a priest that must be dispelled. First, it is not a quick process. It takes a long time to finish, between 6 and 10 years to ordination. The vetting process is extensive, including the application process, recommendations, background checks, interviews, and related processes along the way. And, as it turns out, not everyone makes it to the end and is ordained. Some seminarians discern it is not their calling in life. This is not for me! If they leave it is OK, for it is part of the process. This doesn't mean we should stop praying for them.

Sometimes it is said, because we have 80 seminarians in St. Mary's, we are doing great. However only 49 seminarians are for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The others are for other dioceses.

Cost per seminarian per year is approximately $35,000. This is supported by The Knights of Columbus, the DSF, Serrans, and others who generously give their support.

Fr. Dolce thanked the Serrans for their prayers and the ministry they pursue, encouraging young men to become priests.


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