Age limits for traditional priestly vocations


Greetings, and thanks for reading.

This evening, I received a very disappointing letter from an society of traditional priests, thanking me for my inquiry regarding beginning priestly formation with them, but informing me that they do not accept applicants for the priesthood over the age of 30 (I am 34). However, they did ask me if I might consider becoming a “clerical oblate” with them. I’ll write them and ask for more information, as I’m not quite sure what this is; I’m presuming that it’s something like a coadjutor brother. As this is a society of secular priests, I’m not even sure if their oblates are vowed or not. When I find out, I’ll go over it with my spiritual director.

My interest in the priesthood was strongly renewed toward the end of last year. There were a number of factors for this, but I’ll leave it with the statement that it became evident to me that I make a rather terrible secular layman. I’ve gone through the motions for many years, but my heart has never quite been in it. It feels, for lack of a better term, mercenary, even somewhat cheap. I did take part a little in “discernment culture” in my 20s, but just found myself frustrated by it quite a bit. It wasn’t until I found a real spiritual home, so to speak, in a parish that celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass that my frustration with the Church abated. Now, the attitude and ethos that a reverent liturgy inculcates has become necessary for me, and in my research into societies and orders the nature of the liturgy they celebrate is a decisive factor.

As I said, I’ll ask for more information regarding this “clerical oblate” status, but my initial reaction is not one of enthusiasm. It seems, of course, better than my present condition, I must admit, but I don’t quite feel a draw yet. That might change with more knowledge or perhaps with a visit to this society. Even still, if the priesthood isn’t possible, I’m much more drawn to the life of a contemplative monk than that of an active brother. I am fortunate to know of a Benedictine establishment not too distant from me where the liturgy is beautiful–Novus Ordo and particular Breviary in Latin with Gregorian chant. Indeed, I plan on retreating there for about a week after the end of the semestre (I am a tutor at a college) and hope to speak to them about a possible vocation.

I feel however, particularly drawn to the priesthood, and particularly in a traditional order or society. I want to provide publicly what was denied me in my youth, for the salvation of many souls and the greater glory of God. If that’s not possible, then I wish to go to the cloister, place myself under obedience, leave a world that loses more of its lustre year after year, and embrace the state of perfection.

So, the big question I would have then is: Are there any institutes or societies of priests who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, who live, preferably, in a community of some sort, and that will accept men of my age for formation?

Thanks very kindly.


see PM


I am sure that some of them do, but am unsure of which orders because it was many years ago that i was looking at entry ages for different orders. Not so that i could enter but just out of personal curiosity because I am not a male :slight_smile: I am positive that there are some you can enter, and of all the orders that really totally appealed to me, Carmellite Hermits seem to have an amazing way of life. I was so drawn to it, and i am sure that had i not had children i would most certainly have gone to the nearest Carmellites and never come back!
I am sure the Holy Spirit will draw you in a very natural way to where you should be. Try surfing the net for a while and see where it leads you, or just relax and the information you need will come. Don’t be overly concerned with the people who will discourage you or try to divert you from this course, they are a test I believe. God Bless you. We certainly need more Priests.


This society may not be your only avenue to the priesthood.


Kkollwitz, I know that. Note what I asked in my penultimate paragraph.


I was just at the LA Religious Ed Congress and they had a table for a seminary that had new seminarians in their 40’s and even 50 years old.

I will try and find the info tomorrow.

Here is a link to offer encouragement. The median seminary age is 32!


Which society is this? There is a priest from the FSSP who first applied to Society of Christ the King or something along those lines. (They wear a lot of lace and baby blue) when he was in his 30s and was turned away for being “too old”. He applied to the FSSP and is now a priest. I know the FSSP did take late vocations (ie: in their 40s), but I heard the late vocation thing has ended. 34 isn’t really a “late vocation”.


If you are really keen on a Traditional Order, you’d better contact the FSSP fast; their deadline is 35 - although they are nicer and more likely to let you have some time to think too.

The FSSP were founded by John Paul II in 1988. Their purpose is to maintain the traditional rites of the faith as far as possible to those who desire it. Contact the FSSP, they are always very charitable to new applicants.

The ICKSP - which, from what I read, is who you applied to - are known to be a tad snobby and are often criticised for a lack of pastoral thought, which is a shame, because the order has an amazing charism. The FSSP carries a very Roman, Petrine Charism. They generally think of themselves as acting as Priests would have acted in the 1930s. Look them up, send your nearest FSSP Superior a letter.

God bless and preserve you, and pray for me in my vocation!


Did you take any Liturgical Dance Classes? Did they have dancing Mass Puppets too? Did everyone concelebrate? Did the disco lights make a prayerful atmosphere? :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:


Also, you mention a call to the monastic life! Great! But remember, there are also many Traditional Monasteries that are cool too!

There is Clear Creek Monastery in Tulsa, USA. They are Traditional Benedictines, who attend the FSSP Seminary for Formation in Denton. They follow the Traditional Roman Calendar and are generally a very happy order.

There is also a French Order, the Monks of Le Barroux. Like the ICKSP, you must speak French to be an oblate/Priest in this monastery.

Also, there is an awesome Traditional Monastery in Scotland. They are Traditional Redemptorists on an Island in the north. A large community, that also works through the FSSP Seminary in Denton, USA. Check them out too! (Obviously, I’ll be biased because I live in Scotland tehe)

Hope that may have helped a little too!


This may be of help to you:

closed #12

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