Vocations

Priests · Deacons · Lay Ministers · Religious Life

When looking at the future, there are many paths a person can choose.
Sometimes individuals feel called to the priesthood, religious life, or other service within the Church.

Interested in Vocations?

Want to know more about the priesthood?
Are you sensing the Call from God?

It’s never too soon to contact the Office of Vocations.
No question is too trivial.

Find out about the priesthood at www.buffalovocations.org

There are many different ways God calls people. You don’t have to wait for a lightning bolt or a supernatural vision. Most often the call from God is found deep within your own heart (planted there by God left to be discovered by you!). It might manifest itself in different ways such as a desire to want to help others or a desire to know God more deeply. If you like being with people especially during some of the bigger moments in their lives… their weddings, the birth of their children, the death of a loved one… the priesthood could be for you. No two callings are the same, just like no two priests are the same. The important thing is, if you think you’ve been called, check it out. What have you got to lose?

A vow is a solemn promise made freely as an individual gives his or her life to God. Many religious communities make vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience. Some communities have other vows. Diocesan priests do not make vows. For ordination, they freely make promises of celibacy and obedience to their bishop.

A diocesan priest ordinarily serves the church within a well-defined geographical area (a diocese). He serves the people within that particular diocese as a parish priest, but may also be involved in other forms of ministry: teaching, chaplaincy in hospitals or prisons, campus ministry, etc.

Most diocesan priests live and work in the same diocese for most of their life. Diocesan priests make two promises: obedience to the bishop and celibacy. Being part of a diocese or an order is like being part of a family. The men are like brothers to each other and usually turn out to be some of your best friends.

A religious priest, on the other hand, is a member of a community which goes beyond the geographical limits of any diocese. A religious priest seeks to live a vowed life within a community of men for mutual support and the accomplishment of some work. There is an emphasis in the community on shared ideals, prayer, and commitment to Christ. Religious priests work in a wide variety of ministries. Religious communities were founded at different times in history and often focus on a special ministry. For example, the Jesuits are involved in education and missionary work. As members of a worldwide order or group of men, following the ideals of their founder, like the Franciscans who follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi, they make vows to live their lives in the same manner. The vows that religious priests make are poverty, celibacy (chastity), and obedience. The vow of poverty means that the priest will not own anything of his own. A religious, for instance, would not personally own a car, but more than likely would have the use of one provided by his community. All of his property will be shared by the brothers in his order. 

Interested in the Permanent Diaconate?

Permanent deacons are ordained ministers of the Church who, like bishops and priests, have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Deacons are called to Diakonia – to be servants of God to His people.  

The ministry of a permanent deacon is a threefold:

The deacon participates as an evangelizer and teacher in the Church’s mission of heralding the word. In the Liturgy of the Word, especially in the Eucharist or in those liturgies where he is the presiding minister, the deacon proclaims the Gospel. Other forms of his function in the Church’s ministry of the word include catechetical instruction, formation of candidates preparing for the sacraments, leadership roles in retreats and renewal programs and outreach to alienated Catholics.

In the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy, the deacon participates in specific penitential rites, proclaims the Gospel, may preach the homily in accord with the provisions of Canon Law and voices the needs of the people in the General Intercessions. He assists the presider in accepting the offerings of the people and helps to prepare the gifts for sacrifice. He may extend the invitation of peace, serve as an ordinary minister of communion and finally he dismisses the community at the end of the liturgy. Other liturgical roles include those of solemnly baptizing infants, witnessing marriages, bringing Viaticum to the dying and presiding over funeral rites. He may officiate at exposition, benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, conduct public rites of blessing and administer the Church’s Sacramentals as designated in the Book of Blessings

The deacon’s ministry of Word and Liturgy would be severely deficient, if it were not accompanied by his exemplary witness and assistance in the Church’s ministry of Charity and Justice. Thus, Pope John Paul II affirms both: “This is at the very heart of the diaconate to which you have been called: to be a servant of your brothers and sisters.” Thus we see the deacon ministering in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, soup kitchens and being of service to his fellow workers and, of course, his family. In a world hungry and thirsty for convincing signs of the compassion and liberating love of God, the deacon makes the mission of the Church visible in his words and deeds, responding to the master’s command of service and providing real-life examples of how to carry it out.

Interested in learning more about the faith?

The Diocese of Buffalo is in partnership with St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, a dynamic graduate school of theology and ministry, where students from all walks of life come to study with a love for truth, faith, and ministry. They offer both in-person and online classes at their Rochester and Buffalo locations. They offer both graduate and certificate programs. Learn more.

Religious Communities of Women

Monastic Religious


Carmelite Nuns (Discalced), OCD

Shrine of the Little Flower of Jesus
75 Carmel Road
Buffalo, NY 14214-1098
Phone: (716) 837-6499

Apostolic Religious


Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
Sisters' Residence
2157 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 862-1320

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, OSF(w)
St. Mary of the Angels Convent
201 Reist St., P.O. Box 275
Williamsville, NY 14221-0275
Phone: (716) 632-2155
Fax:  (716) 632-0339

Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, New York, OSF(a)
St. Elizabeth Motherhouse
115 East Main Street
Allegany, NY 14706
Phone: (716) 373-0200
Fax: (716) 372-577

Sisters of St. Joseph, SSJ
Administration Building
10324 Main Street
Clarence, NY 14031
Phone: (716) 759-6454
Fax: (716) 759-6415

Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, FSSJ
Immaculate Conception Convent
5229 South Park Avenue
Hamburg, NY 14075
Phone: (716) 649-1205
Fax: (716) 209-494

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance & Christian Charity, OSF(s)
4421 Lower River Road
Stella Niagara, NY 14144
Phone: (716) 754-4312
Fax: (716) 754-7657

Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, GNSH
47 Marine Drive, #6E
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 783-8204

Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, SSMN
241 Lafayette Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14213
Phone: (716) 884-8221
Fax: (716) 884-659

Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, MOM
388 Franklin Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 854-5198

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, RSM 
(Regional Community of Buffalo) 
Mercy Center
625 Abbott Road
Buffalo, NY 14220
Phone: (716) 826-5051
Fax: (716) 826-1518

Missionary Sisters of St. Columban, SSC
St. Columban on the Lake
2546 Lake Road
Silver Creek, NY 14136
Phone: (716) 934-4515
Fax: (716) 934-391

Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, SSHJ
5269 Lewiston Road
Lewiston, NY 14092
Phone: (716) 284-8273

Sisters of Social Service, SSS
296 Summit Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 834-0197
Fax: (716) 834-6168

Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice (Felician Sisters)
Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent,
600 Doat St., Buffalo 14211
Phone: (716) 892-4141
Fax: (716) 892-4177

Religious Communities of Men

Barnabite Fathers, CSRP
National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima

1023 Swann Road
P.O. Box 167
Youngstown, NY 14174
Phone: (716) 754-7448 or 7489
Fax: (716) 754-9130

Jesuit Fathers and Brothers, SJ
Canisius Jesuit Community

2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208-1098
Phone: (716) 883-7000
Fax: (716) 886-6506

Brothers of Mercy, FMM
4520 Ransom Road
Clarence, NY 14031
Phone: (716) 759-8341

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, MM
73 Adam Street
Tonawanda, NY  14150
Phone (716) 213-0000

De La Salle Christian Brothers, FSC
St. Joseph Collegiate Institute
845 Kenmore Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14223
Phone: (716) 874-4024

Mercedarian Fathers, OdeM
(Order Our Lady of Mercy) Mercygrove
7758 East Main Street
LeRoy, NY 14482-9701
Phone (585) 768-7110
Fax: (585) 768-4803

Consolata Fathers, IMC
35 Brompton Road - P.O. Box 570
Williamsville, NY 14221
Phone: 716-634-5678 or 3793

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, OMI
Holy Angels Church
348 Porter Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14201
Phone (716) 885-3767
Fax: (716) 882-8211

Columban Fathers, SSC
St. Columban on the Lake
2546 Lake Road
Silver Creek, NY 14136
Phone: (716) 934-4515
Fax: (716) 934-3919

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, OSFS
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph Church
1413 Pine Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY 14301
Phone: (716) 282-1379
Fax: (716) 285-3704

Conventual Franciscan Friars, OFM, Conv.
St. Francis Friary

4129 Lake Shore Road
Athol Springs, NY 14010
Phone: (716) 627-5762

Pallottine Fathers, SAC
3452 Niagara Falls Boulevard
P.O. Box 563
North Tonawanda, NY 14120
Phone: (716) 694-4313

Franciscan Friars, OFM 
St. Bonaventure Friary
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
Phone: (716) 375-2416
Fax: (716) 375-2424

Pauline Fathers, OSPPE
Corpus Christi Church
199 Clark Street
Buffalo, NY 14212
Phone: (716) 896-1050

Vincentian Fathers and Brothers, CM
Vincentian Residence
Niagara University, NY 14109
Phone: (716) 286-8147
Fax: (716) 286-8766