Becoming a Diocesan Priest


I want to become a priest, particularly a Diocesan Priest within the Vietnamese American community. However I know that I should be able to speak more than 1 language other than lanaguage with the 2 other languages l’m learning being: Vietnamese and Spanish. Nevertheless as a Vietnamese American Catholic , I’m afraid I won’t be able to speak them and unable to perform my duties. Any advice?


Your wording is very confusing. Are you proficient in Spanish and Vietnamese? I would certainly think 3 languages is quite enough.

If not, I’m assuming you got inspired to do this because of a local Vietnamese Catholic community. Attend there, ideally at Vietnamese mass. Being in a culture as much as possible is an indispensable way of learning a language.


I am confused. You say that you are studying Vietnamese and Spanish. Presumably you speak English. You are worried that these three languages are somehow not enough?


I know many, many, many diocesan priests who speak a single language. They’re still good priests, and not being multilingual didn’t prevent them from being ordained. :woman_shrugging:t2:

Even if the expectation is different in your diocese, (1) you’ve mentioned three languages so far, and (2) if more languages are required beyond those three, you’ll have seven or so years of seminary study to learn them.

Once ordained, your Bishop decides where and how you exercise your vocation, in accordance with the needs of the diocese. He is not going to to give you a mission that you’re not equipped to fulfill. While having the necessary skills to fulfill a particular mission will increase the chances of your being entrusted with that responsibility, it doesn’t guarantee it. I imagine, however, that you are aware of this.

God bless you in your discernment! :pray:


You are likely going to learn some basic Latin, Hebrew and Greek in seminary. If the diocese sends you to Rome for studies then you will learn Italian as well.


Sorry to all, I’m a vietnamese American that can speak english, sorta Vietnamese, and sorta Spanish. I am concerned that I won’t be able to lead my fellow Vietnamese Catholics during mass and thus not able to celebrate mass of course. I’m simply trying to have a decent understanding of Spanish as I live within Southern California and have been learning since 7th grade ( currently a 10th grader.


You don’t need great fluency in the language to say Mass in that language. Many priests who say the Latin Mass cannot speak the language conversationally. Please discuss your vocation with your pastor and vocation director.


You’re only in 10th grade, you have plenty of time to learn.

Why not just commit to attending Vietnamese masses each week, and you should catch on to it well enough by the time you are ready to be a priest?

Particularly if fellowship a lot with your fellow Vietnamese, who you hope to minister to.


If you are CALLED BY GOD to be a Priest in His Catholic Church He will make what you need to learn possible by His grace.


Latin, yes. Greek and Hebrew, it depends.


My husband and I both attend Spanish Mass when available. Many of the priests we have met over the years that say Mass in Spanish cannot speak the language at all. They simply read what is written. The homily May be pre written and read or some would say it in English and someone would translate or a deacon would do the homily. If a priest that speaks Spanish is available, then he is the one to say Mass or at least the homily.

Most of the priests I have known that do not Speak Spanish, or don’t fluently, learn over the years. They will at least be able to carry on conversations enough to find the help the parishioner needs. Many who are more fully immersed in the Latino community become fluent quickly.

I have faith in your abilities. If you are already beginning to learn I am sure you will excel. I’ll pray for God to lead your discernment.


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