Originally a Franciscan Friary, the Diocese of Nottingham is developing the property adjacent to Our Lady and St Edward Church in Thorneywood, Nottingham, into a House of Discernment.

The thinking behind this idea is that men who are interested in learning more about the priesthood would live and work alongside the Diocesan Vocation Directors, Fr Paul Newman and Fr Jonathan Cotton, to look at what it means to be a priest in today’s world and to discern whether God is calling them to this particular way of life.The discerners will commit themselves to a programme consisting of spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and human development – in short, it will allow men to have an opportunity to listen to the Lord, get to know themselves better and discern the values and pastoral requirements and responsibilities of priesthood.

The Discernment programme will offer a community experience, sharing in prayer, household responsibilities, developing friendships with local parishioners, other local parishes and a deeper relationship with God. The discerners will be asked to commit themselves to the programme of discernment and formation under the direction of the Vocations team and then rooted in the scripture passage ‘O that today you would listen to his voice’ (Hebrews 3). It will bring those who are involved into a clearer understanding of what God is asking of them.

Perhaps this quotation from Pope Francis says everything about the importance of discerning what God is asking us to do and be for him: ‘Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying yes to God! In him we find our joy’. (Pope Francis)