Father Casey Cole, a Franciscan Friar ordained to the Catholic priesthood on June 22, 2019, is known for his use of social media to promote the Franciscan way of life. In particular, Father Casey uses YouTube to answer questions and further promote the priesthood. In one such video, he was asked for advice for high school students considering a religious vocation.

Father Casey entered the priesthood at a young age, so he is the perfect person to thoughtfully answer the question. He offers the following advice to anyone in high school considering religious life.

First, he says they must be an active member of the Catholic church for at least three years. It’s important to understand what it really means to be an adult member of the church. This amount of time gives you the opportunity to complete the whole lectionary, attend Easter Vigils, immerse yourself into a number of apostolates and get a personal sense of what you need in your life as a Catholic. Take the time to learn what the church needs.

Another piece of advice he offers is to live on your own for a little while. You don’t have to live alone, but he states you should live independently outside the comfort of your family’s home. If you plan to live in community in a religious order, you must learn to live with others, who might be different from you. Learn to take care of yourself before you decide to lead and take care of others as a religious sister or Catholic priest.

The last piece of advice might seem counterintuitive, but understand it is important to date before choosing religious life. Dating will both help you understand if religious life is the life for you, and also helps you develop emotional skills necessary in religious life. This will teach you vulnerability, selflessness and new ways to love.

Father Casey Cole is a big supporter of young vocations. He encourages young people to follow these steps before beginning your journey to religious life.