Academic Reqs for Priesthood?


#1

Good afternoon everyone! Very quick background on me: I have a Bachelor's degree in Micro/Molecular Biology and work in research. I am now in the RCIA in my local parish after feeling moved to join the Church after years as an atheist. I'm just gathering information, but here are a few questions I would love some insight on:

Theoretically if down the line I wanted to pursue a career in the Church (such as joining the priesthood) what is required to do so?

I have searched for information and I see that there is a Master's program by me for Pastoral Studies, is this a pre-req to join a seminary?

Also, are you required to have an undergraduate degree to pursue a graduate degree in theology or enter the seminary?

Thank you so much for any information you can provide, but I have truly been overwhelmed with my new faith in the God, and I can't even express my joy at having the opportunity to soon be baptized and confirmed as a member of the Church.

-ThirdGen


#2

Hello,

I too am discerning the priesthood and i am going through the interview process to get accepted, however i am a senior in high school.

To enter a major seminary you will need at least 30 units of Philosophy and be free of debt. You being a Convert you might have to wait a couple of years because that is usually the norm for a diocese.

Contact the Vocation Director for more info:thumbsup:


#3

I am a convert and am discerning for the priesthood as well. From what I have found, some seminaries, such as St. Meinrad's in Southern Indiana, have as a requirement sponsorship from the diocese and ANY bachelor's degree (at a minimum). Most dioceses will sponsor you, full coverage, if you already have a degree (at least, that's what the material my diocesan vocations director stated). Also, I believe the Knights of Columbus, if the diocese does not pay for the full tuition, should be able to help out if you are a member (you probably aren't now, given you are in RCIA and not confirmed yet). There are also college-level seminaries for those who are going to the seminary after high school and there are also a few high school seminaries. If you are looking at a particular religious order, you can search their website for something like "religious formation" or "seminarians" or the like. Some religious orders tutor privately, others send the candidates to a seminary outside of their organization. Hope this helps.


#4

The requirements for entry into a major seminary (the Masters of Divinity program) is 30 credit hours of philosophy and 12 credit hours of theology. These must be gotten at a good Catholic institution. Not all philosophy and theology credits will be accepted by major seminaries.

The Masters of Divinity program (a 4 year professional masters degree program) is what is required for ordination in the United States.


#5

Not all Major Seminaries require the same preparation. In many of them, no classes on philosophy are required at all.

It is misleading to make a bald statement, such as the one that Brother O made. It may apply to some seminaries, but certainly not to all of them.

In order to determine what any specific seminary may require, you should either contact it directly, or contact the vocations director of your diocese.


#6

Google is your friend.

  1. Theologates must require a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution. Sufficient education in philosophy, which the Code of Canon Law states as a biennium, is understood in the United States to be at least 30 semester credit hours, plus the out-of-classroom work associated with each credit hour traditionally expected in American higher education. A minimum of 12 semester credit hours is required in appropriate courses of undergraduate theology. (The content of such courses is outlined in norms 178 and 179 under "Intellectual Formation -- College Seminaries: Norms.")

From: Program of Priestly Formation, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006. usccb.org/vocations/ProgramforPriestlyFormation.pdf

The paragraph I quoted has a footnote to this canon:

Can. 250 The philosophical and theological studies which are organized in the seminary itself can be pursued either successively or conjointly, in accord with the program of priestly formation. These studies are to encompass at least six full years in such a way that the time dedicated to philosophical disciplines equals two full years and to theological studies four full years.


#7

[quote="The_Old_Medic, post:5, topic:224180"]
Not all Major Seminaries require the same preparation. In many of them, no classes on philosophy are required at all.

It is misleading to make a bald statement, such as the one that Brother O made. It may apply to some seminaries, but certainly not to all of them.

In order to determine what any specific seminary may require, you should either contact it directly, or contact the vocations director of your diocese.

[/quote]

This is untrue.

The Program for Priestly Formation, 5th edition, is the guideline and contains the requirements. I am sorry if you disagree with them but this is what the USCCB required of all to be ordained in the United States. SuscipeMeDomine gives the relevant paragraph and a link to the actual document.

One may be ordained with a pontifical degree but the entry requirements are much the same as is the length of time (about 4 years) to get such a degree.


#8

Thank you so much for the advice, I was mainly getting confused between whether one would pursue a Masters of Pastoral Ministry, or a M.Div. This is definitely something I will ask my Deacon about once RCIA classes start up again next week.

*Luckily, there are two schools right by me that offer both these degrees (one being a Catholic private university for the MPM, and the other a Monastery/Seminary/Abbey that offers the M.Div.).


#9

For ordination in the United States one pursues either a pontifical degree or the M.Div.

Are you a baptized Catholic? If not then you will have a bit of a waiting period, 2 to 3 years at the least before you could be accepted as a candidate for ordination.

Also, the diocese you apply to decides what major seminary they will send you to. Some will have a choice of two or three but most just deal with a single one.


#10

I am not baptized or confirmed yet, I am several months into my parish’s RCIA. I understand that it would be years before I could think of doing something like that (plus I wouldn’t want to do it right after joining the Church, I already feel like I’m studying full-time to understand everything!). I was just curious if several years down the road I felt pulled towards doing something of that nature. Thank you!


#11

[quote="ThirdGen, post:10, topic:224180"]
I am not baptized or confirmed yet, I am several months into my parish's RCIA. I understand that it would be years before I could think of doing something like that (plus I wouldn't want to do it right after joining the Church, I already feel like I'm studying full-time to understand everything!). I was just curious if several years down the road I felt pulled towards doing something of that nature. Thank you!

[/quote]

No, its a good think to consider for the future. Especially with the requirements to enter the major seminary. Just check with the vocations director to find out what seminary they use then check with them to see where they will accept the philosophy and theology credits from. There is nothing that says you can not work on completing those.


#12

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