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Q & A with Father Anthony

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When should I tell my parents I joined an order?

Melinda asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I thank God for your dedication in advising young people to discover God's Will in their lives. Am struggling with my family. I have started discernment programme with a certain congregation but I have not informed my family for fear of not being allowed to continue. Am joining next year what should I do? May God bless you.


Dear Melinda,

A very important consideration is your age. If you were an adult and living independently, you'd be responsible for your own life and it would be completely up to you to decide how, when, and even if, you want to inform them. But since you say you fear not being allowed to continue, I presume you are either a minor, or technically (age-wise) an adult but living at home and dependent on your parents.

If you are underage you will necessarily have to speak with your parents about it, and this (telling your parents) is something you need to speak about with the people who run the discernment program you are in. They may be able to help your parents understand the process of discernment and put them at ease as regards the steps you are taking with their help and guidance.

Now, if you are technically no longer a minor but dependent still on your parents, you certainly have to be very tactful and considerate, but also aware of your personal responsibility before God.

There are many reasons why parents would be opposed to their daughter or son's vocation, and you should try to understand why you think your own parents may not allow you. The reasons can sometimes be well founded, (based on their child's habitual behavior and problems, temperament, health, etc.); and other times they can be due to the religious situation of the parents, or some unfortunate experience in their own life that colors their outlook, or maybe even some misinformation about the particular group you are thinking of joining. Try to understand why, and that will help you address their concerns and find a solution, or at least find someone who can help you address the real problem. Make sure you continue to go to Mass and Communion as often as you can, and pray for what it best for your parents.

God bless,,

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