A few questions I need answered


#1

Hi. I am a young man at the crossroads you could say and I have a few questions about priesthood and the church's education.

First a little about myself: I have decided to spread The Word in life and put in work for the kingdom. When I first decided to do this I was bent on becoming a Jesuit priest and going on missions. I went to my parish priest and told him I wanted to become a priest and he told me something to the fact that I was adequate enough. I later realized the church would limit my mobility and limit exactly what I could do so becoming a priest seems like it may not be the best decision. I also don't want to segregate myself from other Christian believers too much and I feel that being caught up in the church may limit my ability to interact with other Christians. This leads me to my questions...

  1. Where can I learn all of what a priest learns, officially?
  2. If the only answer to the above question is at a seminary: Is it frowned upon to study to become a priest and leave the priesthood right before/after graduation?
  3. If I do decide to stick with being a priest upon graduation what are my freedoms mobility wise? (to choose where/when I want to preach, to whom etc)
  4. How often, weather on missions or in a parish, will I be interacting with the rest of the Christians besides Catholics.
  5. How long is a Jesuit priest's education?

I ask where to get the education because there just isn't anything good for Catholics textbook wise that gets as in depth as what the priests learn and I can tell. I know God, The Father, is willing to teach me all I need to know, but laying a foundation of knowledge for him to build on that is the best it can be is what I want and a proper education is what is needed. I know it is the Catholic church that will provide this for me and not another Christian college, without offense intended, I just know the Catholic church has more books to read from as well as a highly organized body of teachers.


#2

Hi Miles,

It's great that you want to share your love of God with others. Are you a Catholic?


#3
  1. Formation generally occurs in the seminary.
  2. One can’t study for several years and then leave the priesthood right before graduation, since the priesthood is not conferred until after studies are completed. Typically for a diocesan priest, the program is either 2 or 4 years of philosophy (depending upon whether one has a 4-year degree coming in; it’s 2 years of philosophy for those with a Bachelors and 4 for those who do not), and then 4 years of theology.
  3. You will be sent to a seminary by a sponsoring diocese, if you are to be a diocesan priest. Upon ordination you will be assigned to a parish within that diocese, and every so often you may be reassigned to another parish. Typically a new priest is assigned as a parochial vicar (assistant pastor), and then after a few years is assigned as a pastor. Expect to move around every six years or so, depending upon where you’re at and the particular needs of the place.
  4. That all depends upon where you’re at and the particular needs of the place, and what the bishop might have in mind for you.
  5. I am not entirely sure but if I recall their formation lasts over a decade.

As for nothing being available textbookwise, there are certainly lots of good books out there and lots of good schools out there that aren’t seminaries. You go to seminary to discern a call to the priesthood and to receive formation as a priest. You do not simply go to seminary to be better educated, there are other aspects of that formation as well. If you would like to be better educated in your faith, there are other ways to do this. If you think you might be called to the priesthood, begin meeting with a spiritual director to discuss this and discern where the Lord might be leading you.

-ACEGC


#4

[quote="Miles, post:1, topic:276007"]

  1. Where can I learn all of what a priest learns, officially?

[/quote]

What you are looking for is Catholic universities that offer an MDiv degree. Many of these take lay people as students. Seminary is for people who seriously intend to be priests.

For your undergrad degree include a strong philosophy background, including Plato, Aristotle and and Aquinas.


#5

Start with a google search. Something like "Catholic vocation discernment tools" should work to get started. I found this website: vocations.com/ Who knows? Might help :shrug:

Being a priest or religious brother will definitely require obedience. That is, you will not be able to determine where you go, and when you go there. Start working with a spiritual director to explore the possibilities of how God is calling you to use the zeal He is giving you.

God bless you.

Gert


#6

Hi Miles,
Welcome to the forum :)

You might want to check out the Lefion of Mary; they do a lot of reaching out to others, and you'd be able to start sooner.

Additionally, if you discuss your ideas with the vocations director of your diocese, he'd probably be able to steer you in a direction most suitable for you.


#7

Given that priests are sponsored in order to attend seminary, that fact that you would even contemplate going into seminary knowing you intend to drop out and not become a priest is highly unethical. You'd be living a lie the entire time you're there. I know my friend's cost for going through seminary is costing the diocese close to $100,000.

Becoming a priest is a vocation. That is, it's a calling. Not something you decide to do based on your own terms. Being a priest means being a servant.


#8
  1. Seminary

  2. Some seminaries offer a lay track where individuals can take the same courses as those pursuing priesthood do. There would be some exceptions, which are studies directly related to ordination.

As for going all the way to the end but not serving as a priest, that is unlikely. If you have no intention to serve as a priest, you will not advance in the seminary. The process is a continual discernment as to your ongoing desire and your suitability as a priest. Unless you lie, I can’t see you getting very far with that route. If you were to complete your seminary training, be ordained, but then immediately seek release from priestly ministry, you may find your actions even more limited. So-called “ex priests” are often not allowed to preach or to take on official ministries in the Church.

  1. All priests either take vows of obedience (religious priests) or promise obedience to their Ordinary (secular priests). You can often make requests as to assignments but ultimately, you go where your superior sends you.

  2. Depends on assignment. Many priests are directly involved in ecumenical work and that would be primarily with non-Catholic Christians. However, this is highly unlikely as a first assignment. Ecumenical work is best built on experience.

  3. That depends on how much education you alreay have going in. If you already have a degree in theology or philosophy, your path will be shorter.

Your first step should be to meet with someone involved in vocations for your diocese or a religious order whose spirituality appeals to you. You may be called to be a priest or you may not. It is more than just fulfilling your own wishes for your future. You need someone who will work with you to prayerfully and humbly submit to the vocation God has in mind for you.


#9

You may want to find an Order that better matches your goals.


#10

Hey, i'm coming to try to answer you as i can :-)

  1. Where can I learn all of what a priest learns, officially?

*You can learn all on internet on specialised website, on theology school like independent at university or by internet, correspondence courses. *

  1. If the only answer to the above question is at a seminary: Is it frowned upon to study to become a priest and leave the priesthood right before/after graduation?

It's not bad to leave before of after the priesthood, because you never enter in the seminary to become priest, but to discern on you vocation during all the 6 or 7 years of your training.
But the question is why start the seminary if you feel on your heart that you are not called for the priesthood? It's just a question like that, not necessary against you.

  1. If I do decide to stick with being a priest upon graduation what are my freedoms mobility wise? (to choose where/when I want to preach, to whom etc)

NO,
Because when you decide to become priest, it's an act of abandonment. So you Choose to follow THE LAMB (Jesus Christ) wherever he goes like Saint John. And you have to accept to go where you superiors or your bishop send you, because you are need there, not where you want and not for who you want.
Of course you can feel the vocation of a specific ministry, for specific people, and it's a discussion and a concentration with your bishop or superiors to decide where you have to go. But, never attend to go or make what you want where and when you want.

  1. How often, weather on missions or in a parish, will I be interacting with the rest of the Christians besides Catholics.

Who knows, you never know in advance, all depend on you charism, your missions, your life, your story... Hard to answer, if i understood well the question :-)

  1. How long is a Jesuit priest's education?

It's really depend on your capacities, the continent where you have your training. Don't forget that you can make your training every where in the world if you want in consultation with your superior.
In general they make long studies more than 8 - 10 years depending on your speciality, want you want to study : sociology, psychology, philosophy, theology....

Did i answer your questions?

God bless you.


#11

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