Candidacy Reflection – Jacob McDougall

Apr 25, 2024

This past Thursday I was blessed to be accepted as a Candidate for Holy Orders for the Archdiocese of Portland. I was blessed that my family, vocation director (Fr. Peter), and pastor were present at Bishop White Seminary to support me in receiving Candidacy. It is a major step in my journey towards priesthood. In the act of Candidacy, I came before the church and publicly stated that I believe that I am called by God to be a priest and that I am giving myself entirely to formation in preparation for Holy Orders. The Church in her response publicly declared that she has discerned and believes that I am called to be a priest. In her response she declared that she is determined to give me all the support that I need to be formed in order to one day serve her as a priest.

I have been preparing for this point in my discernment for the last 4 years. I was aware that this was going to be a step I would have to take at the end of my time in college seminary. This goal of candidacy animated my discernment to truly seek to surrender to the Lord and hear where he is calling me. The 4 years of discernment culminated for me in an 8-day silent retreat; in which the Lord gave me the confidence necessary to petition the archbishop for candidacy. This is a major step in my life, one that I am deeply excited about. Candidacy is a lot like an engagement; I have stated my intention, and the Church has stated her intention to accept me. Being accepted as a candidate is lifegiving for me because the joy that I receive is a strong reminder that I was made for this. I was born at this time in salvation history in this location in the Archdiocese of Portland and called to serve as one of his priests in this archdiocese.

I thank the Lord for the abundant gifts that he has poured out upon me throughout my whole life. For blessing me with faithful and faith filled parents and grandparents who witnessed the faith to me since I was born. For all of my teachers and their encouragement in serving the Lord. For all of the donors and the staff in the vocations office and the Archdiocese of Portland for their devoted commitment to supporting Priests and seminarians. For all of my friends and all of the faithful, both in the archdiocese and around the world, who are praying constantly for me. Lastly, for all of the priests and their self-gift that has led to a profound encounter with Our Heavenly Father. It is truly hard to put into words just how grateful I am for everyone’s prayers and support. So, thank you!

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