Formation of Apostles of Divine Charity (Charitan Missionaries)

  • Initial Contact

    Membership into the society begins with initial contract with the Director of Vocations or any Charitan priest or seminarian.

    The Director of Vocations will assist the candidate in getting the basic information about the society, and how he may proceed.

  • Application Process

    After the candidate has had sufficient information about the society, and is convinced our way of life is a good one for him, he can be initiated into the application process, which involves

    1. completion of the application forms,
    2. submission of academic certificates,
    3. religious certificates (baptismal and confirmation records), and
    4. recommendation letters (from the candidate’s parish priest,
    from the candidate’s previous or current school official or employer, and from another priest/religious who knows the candidate very well).

    In total, the candidate should be submitting about three (3) recommendation letters from the above-mentioned referees.

  • Entrance Assessment Exercises

    Below are the details of our Charitan Entrance Assessment Exercises (screening process) that all applicants must go through:

    1. First one-week of live-in experience: during which the candidate actively participates in our community life and has a foretaste of what the Charitan spirituality/apostolate entails. During this one-week live-in experience, the candidate will also be closely watched by the formation team to discern if he is a good fit for the Charitan Missionaries. He is also expected to observe us very closely to be able to discern if he is at peace with our Charitan way of life. In fact, it is a week of mutual watch between us and the candidate. It is during this one week that the written interviews/examinations are conducted and the candidate submits all his educational and sacramental certificates for vetting.
    2. Second one-week of live-in experience: After the first live-in experience, all the successful candidates are invited for another one week of live-in experience during which the oral interviews are conducted. As in the first live-in, the candidate also participates actively in the community activities and meet with the vocations director and the vocation team on several occasions for oral interactions and talks. This one-on-one interaction will principally be based on the candidate’s first live-in experience. He should be prepared to share his experience with the vocations director and the vocation team.
    3. Third Live-in Experience: Following the second live-in experience, the successful candidates are invited for the third one-week of live-in experience which concludes the entrance assessment exercises. During this time, the candidates undergo medical and psychological assessments to ascertain their medical and psychological fitness for the Apostles of Divine Charity. They will be required to do complete Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) exams and other health related tests necessary to ascertain their health fitness. The psychological assessment is aimed at ascertaining the candidate's mental fitness, behavioral fitness and level of human maturity. After this third live-in experience, successful candidates will be contacted a few weeks later with their admission information and what they need to return with to the Charitan community for their pre-novitiate program, which is the commencement of their journey to becoming Charitan Missionaries.
  • Additional Recommendation Letters

    One who has been admitted to another religious institution or seminary or diocese prior to applying for acceptance into the Charitan Missionaries is required to obtain letters of recommendation (or testimonial) from his previous local ordinary, the major superior (or the vocations director) of the religious congregation or the society to which he was previously admitted, or the rector of his previous seminary, giving an honest testimony of the candidate’s moral conduct and vocational commitment.

    NOTE still that we can do further investigations, secretly or openly, to ascertain the suitability of the candidate, and ensure he is free of anything that can impede him from receiving Holy Orders or Religious Vows.

  • Acceptance into Pre-Novitiate

    The successful candidates, after an interview, are now accepted to the first stage of formation called the Pre-Novitiate, which usually begins officially in the second week of August and basically lasts for a minimum of SIX MONTHS (but can be up to one year) during which the pre-novice starts getting to know the society in which he intends to spend the rest of his life, God willing.

    During this time, he is also assigned to one of our ministry centers to participate in our mission and explore the beauty of our apostolate. At this stage, the pre-novice actively gets involved in the community life such as praying the Liturgy of the Hours, Daily and Sunday Masses, the community manual labor, meals and housekeeping. He takes some classes on Spirituality, Scripture, Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Community Life. During this period of Pre-novitiate, the pre-novice learns some foreign languages, especially the local languages spoken where we have our presences.

    At the end of the Pre-Novitiate, the pre-novice is evaluated based on his academic performances, spiritual and moral advancements; his commitment to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the apostolate, spirituality and life of the Apostles of Divine Charity,. At the conclusion of the pre-novitiate, the pre-novice is given the permission to visit his family for three or four (3 or 4) weeks. During this period of break, he is expected to participate actively in his home parish or any parish where he is spending his holiday. The holiday basically starts one week after the completion of the pre-novitiate program.

  • Novitiate (or Spiritual Formation)

    All the successful postulants (pre-novices) return to the Novitiate House no later than August 28 for their compulsory one-year novitiate which normally begins with a Holy Mass on the morning of August 30. During the Mass, the new novices receive the habit of the society and henceforth, they properly begin their journey to religious/priestly life.

    On August 30th of the following year, the novices, with the recommendation of their novice master and the final approval of our Superior General, make their first commitment called “First Religious Vows” of Evangelical Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, which is renewable annually for, at least, three (3) years before the Final Commitment. With the profession of these Vows, the novices now become temporal members of the Apostles of Divine Charity.

    During this period of Novitiate, the novices engage in intense prayers and reflections; they also take classes on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Liturgy, Community Life, Constitution of the Society, Spirituality, and Scriptures. They are also required to turn in a weekly reflection paper of not less than a typed page about their weekly experiences in the community. Additionally, during the Novitiate, the novices will continue to deepen their understanding of some foreign languages, which they were initiated into during their pre-novitiate. We take learning the local languages spoken where we work very seriously.

    During the novitiate year, the novices will be participating in the community programs such as the Holy Eucharistic celebration, singing practice, community meals, games, faith sharing, liturgy of the hours (Lauds, mid-day, Vespers and Compline), community daily rosary, etc. Once the novitiate is over on the 30th of August, as mentioned above, the novices are permitted to go on holiday for one month (4 weeks) after which they return to the community to get ready for school by October or whenever our designated seminaries resume.

  • Temporary Vows

    Once the novices have made their First Profession, they will be renewing their Vows annually for, at least, another three years before they can make their Final/Perpetual committment. During this time, they are sent to different seminaries where they complete their studies in both philosophy and theology as required.

  • One Year Pastoral Experience (if discerned necessary)

    Upon the completion of their philosophy, our seminarians, if deemed necessary, are sent to parishes or any of our mission centers for a year of pastoral experience. We believe this will give the seminarian a beautiful opportunity to learn more about the life in the parish, and get more involved in our Charitan ministry.

    During this year, the seminarian is to be actively involved in the parish or ministerial activities under the supervision of the the parish priest or director of the ministry center to which he is assigned. He is to go inside the villages to encounter the people of God in their various conditions of life. This one-year experience enables the seminarian learn more about our ministry of serving the poor and the less-privileged. It is an integral aspect of our formation that seminarians must take seriously.

  • Vocational Training

    Every Charitan seminarian is required to undergo a vocational training prior to beginning his theological studies. So, in place of the aforementioned One Year Pastoral Experience, some seminarians may be sent to undergo a vocational training program according to the need of the society.

    This is another integral aspect of our Charitan formation that everyone must take very seriously. Here are some of the vocational training programs that one may choose from: carpentry work, tailoring, furniture production, building construction, tiling, molding of bricks and block cement, knitting, plumbing work, automobile mechanic, welding, production of leather bags, shoe making (male and female), nylon production, electrical work, computer education, computer repairs, electrical repairs, production of some industrial goods (such as emulsion paints of various types), production of some cosmetic goods (such as bar soap, perfumes, izzal, detol, Vaseline, body lotions, bathing soups (liquid & bar), car wash, detergent, bleach, etc.).

    There are several other vocational trainings that one can undergo according to the need of our society. This vocational training can be completed during the long vacations, but if necessary, the seminarian may be required to dedicate a whole year to undergoing the training. One who has fulfilled this requirement prior to this stage is not required to do it again. In this case, our Superior will discern the best way forward for such a brother. For instance, he may be asked to have one year of pastoral experience in a parish or any of our ministry centers, continue his theological studies, or engage in any other suitable program necessary for his deeper integration into the Apostles of Divine Charity.

    Note that this vocational training may precede the pre-novitiate or the novitiate; note also that it must be successfully and professionally completed before the candidate is admitted to the Final Profession.

  • Final/Perpetual Vows

    At the end of the 2nd year of his theology, the seminarian, with the recommendation of his seminary rector, the community superior, and the final approval of our General Superior and his Council; and with an intense discernment and prayers, is admitted to make his final commitment, which now incorporates him fully into the Apostles of Divine Charity.

    After that, he begins his 3rd year of theology. The Final Profession usually takes place on the 15th of August, the Feast of Assumption, at the Mother House of our Society.

  • Diaconate Ordination

    At the end of his 3rd year of theology or upon the completion of the first semester of his 4th year of theology, the finally professed member, with the recommendation of his seminary rector, community superior, and the final approval of our General Superior and his Council; and after an intense discernment and prayers, is admitted to the Holy Order of the Deaconate.

  • Priestly Ordination

    At the end of his 4th year of theology, the deacon, with the recommendation of his seminary rector, community superior, and the final approval of our General Superior and his Council; and after an intense discernment and prayers, is admitted to the Holy Order of the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ.

  • Ongoing Formation

    We understand that formation – human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral – is a lifetime process. Nobody would claim that he has no need for growth. Therefore, we, the Charitan Missionaries, are to be open to learning new things with absolute humility, charity and obedience.

    We should always be willing to advance our knowledge academically, pastorally, spiritually and humanly, whether, as a postulant (pre-novice), novice, temporally professed, finally professed or priest. Everyone needs growth, because we are no perfect persons. Our ongoing formation, in a nut shell, entails docility to learning and growth.

Entrance Requirements/Vocation

  • Faith Requirement

    The person applying for entrance into the pre-novitiate program must be a baptized and confirmed Catholic man who has practiced the Catholic faith for a minimum of 5 years prior to beginning his application. He must be a regular communicant who also participates actively in other Sacraments of the Church including Reconciliation and Eucharistic celebration of the Holy Mass. He must be a lover of prayer and spiritual exercises.

    He must demonstrate an outstanding spirit of providing selfless services to the poor and the needy, and must be able to live with other men of different ages in the community, living out their Charitan identity as a community of brothers. Most importantly, he must be in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church, free of any canonical impediments to the priesthood and/or religious life outlined in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

  • Academic Requirements

    The young man must have completed, at least, his secondary education or its equivalence with results that qualify him to enter a university or other tertiary institutions in his country of origin. For instance, a candidate from Cameroon should have obtained, at least, both the G.C.E. Ordinary Certificate and the Advanced Level Certificate, and be qualified to enter a tertiary institution in Cameroon. Similarly, a candidate from Nigeria must have obtained his Senior Secondary School Certificate with, at least, 6 credits in relevant subjects, including English and Mathematics.

    Additionally, every Nigerian applicant with only a secondary school or pre-bachelor’s degree qualification must write the University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), with an average score of 200 aggregate or better. This UTME must be written in the same year of the candidate’s tentative admission into a school of philosophy or major seminary. For instance, if the candidate is intended to begin his philosophical studies in October 2020, he must sit for the UTME in earlier time of 2020 pending on the month the UTME is scheduled to be written that year.

    Exempted from the UTME are only the candidates who are intended to study their philosophy outside Nigeria. Generally, the applicant must be intellectually capable to face all the rigors of academic works required for his training and formation.

  • Age Requirement

    Applicants with only Senior Secondary School qualification or an Advanced Level Certificate must not be less than 17 years or more than 22 years at the time he is being admitted to the Pre-novitiate. Applicants with post-secondary qualifications (but not with a degree), including Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE), University Diploma, National Diploma (ND), or their equivalence must be between 17 and 25 years at the time he is being admitted to the Pre-novitiate. Applicants who have completed their undergraduate (bachelor) program must not be less than 17 years or more than 27 years.

    Finally, applicants with a graduate or post-graduate degree, such as Masters or Doctorate, should be between the ages of 17 and 32. However, we are flexible about the age limit. What we are more concerned about is the suitability of the candidate, and not necessarily his age. Thus, an applicant found suitable for the Charitan vocation, but is over the above specified age limits, may still be considered. Therefore, everyone is welcomed to apply irrespective of their academic qualifications or ages.

  • Human Requirement

    The applicant must be a very mature person with a balanced spirituality. He must have the ability to manage his sexuality well, and relate well with both men and women. He must be physically, psychologically and morally healthy. He must be able to live peacefully with other men of different academic, family, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.

    Above all, he must have the interest of the poor at heart, and as such, be able to discern better ways of serving them well and making them feel very accepted. Moreover, the applicant must demonstrate a high sense of initiative and creativity.

  • Vocation

    Charitan Vocation is a unique and special one. We consider it a holy vocation or a gift from God. No one is worthy to embrace this unique call whereby one devotes one’s entire life to the service of humanity, all exclusively to the glory of God. We do not seek to satisfy our own personal interests; we are committed to giving selfless services to the poor and the needy. We try to imitate the priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is one characterized by service and sacrifice. If you feel called to be a priest for the people, and not for yourself, and you want to learn more about the uniqueness of our Charitan Vocations, please feel very free to contact our vocations coordinator at

    Our vocations coordinator will be more than glad to provide you with all the necessary information you need. God bless you abundantly as you come with a great zeal and enthusiasm to partake in this so noble a mission that Christ has entrusted to the Apostles of Divine Charity.

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