Are their any high school 'Jump Start' programs to seminary?



I am wondering if the United States offers any type of program for juniors and/or seniors in high school to maybe leave their high school and go into a seminary boarding school to gain high school and seminary credit at the same time(Including Spirituality, Human and Pastoral formation). And this would all be funded through the diocese.

I live in Georgia and we have an Accel program that allows juniors and seniors in high school to join enroll part time or full time at a university near their school for both college and high school credit. So by the time you graduate from high school, your a junior in college.

Now Georgia doesn't have a seminary in state, our closest one is probably either in Alabama or Florida.

Even if it isn't going to a seminary, but eh... Retreats are always an option, but not a 'jump start' in seminary.


Cannon law stipulates minimum ages for formal acceptance into the discernment process, which includes Seminary after a minimum of 1 -2 years. Therefore no. You can’t take easy short cuts to earlier ordination.


I think that used to happen, in different parts of the country. I think our Bishop went to a dedicated seminary high school…but don’t quote me on that. Ask your vocations director about it. Another possibility is attending a Jesuit high school. It won’t give you any early seminary credit, but the training would be good for discernment.


St. Lawrence Seminary High School
301 Church Street
Mt. Calvary, WI 53057-0500
(920) 753-7570
(920) 753-7507 (fax)

Spiritual formation

We are proud of our tradition of academic excellence and spiritual direction. Faculty and administration members are dedicated to providing each student an opportunity to succeed. We welcome your questions and feedback. To further assist you and your son with his high school decision process, please contact




Having done a little more research, I realise my previous answer is woefully incomplete. There is a requirement in cannon law to “preserve (where they exist) and foster” Minor Seminaries.
These are High schools for boys which have a particular intention of assisting and fostering potential vocations to Ordained and Religious Life.
It’s not technically a short-cut, and it does not start the formal training process of the Major Seminary, but is designed to tailor your high school education and foster the discernment of your vocation.
I see someone has linked to one in Calgary above.
Having grown up in Ireland, and now living in the UK I have never encountered one of these, and had only heard of them existing in Rome.


The Diocese of Knoxville has the Melchezidek Project for high school boys.

Didn’t know about that canon regarding minor seminaries.

Women interested in religious life need beguinages.



Good to see that you're eager to jump into your currently perceived vocation. Look for a college seminary if you're that into it though, it'll count.

Canon Law forbids ordinations before the age of 25, so you'll need to wait a while anyways.


You can, in a way, start "prepping" now by choosing courses in high school that will be beneficial for you in seminary.

I'm thinking specifically about language courses: taking Latin or Spanish in high school will help prep you for the same in seminary.

Where I live it is a requirement that priests be able to offer the sacraments in both English and Spanish ( not necessarily preach an entire homily, but able to baptize/confirm/hear confessions, etc).


The standard formation program in the US is 9 years:
4 B.A. with sufficient philosophy
4 M.Div.
1 pastoral year - where depends on the diocese

18 + 9 = 27

So cutting a year off would be fine


If you are looking at religious life, my community runs 2 high school seminaries in the US (Indiana & New Hampshire). However, these are for those discerning religious priesthood and although they help immensely regarding the points of formation you mention, they will not usually speed up your ordination (in fact, I just mentioned on another thread how our formation is longer than most).

If you are looking at the diocese, speak with your director. Usually those who enter out of high school do a 4 year B.A. (with 30 Philosophy and 12 theology credits) at a Catholic University while living at a college seminary. Find out where your diocese sends these seminarians and see what transfer credits they would accept.

Whatever road you are going:
Quod parlat latanam intellegentus est.
Necesitas ser capaz de hablar en español a corresponder a las necesidades de la Iglesia hoy.
In other words, taking Latin and Spanish as options now would help.


In my experience, it seems mostly older priests underwent a discernment process of this kind, For instance, in talking to two priests recently, one retired and helping out at my parish while the pastor is sick and the other a Franciscan priest at a retreat, they both mentioned going to a Seminary boarding school at age 15. I thought it sounded really cool, but they don’t seem very common nowadays.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit