Becoming a priest in a different diocese (even an different country/continent)

Dear friends

I was wondering, is it possible for a Catholic man to enroll in a seminary abroad and become a priest in a foreign country? I’m asking because I was wondering about those men who prefer the Catholic culture in another country/continent…what do they do? Do they need a permit from their own bishop?

I believe it is possible because in the USA we get seminarians from all over the world and have had imports of Filipino and African priests help with the priest shortage here in America.

The Bishop will probably ask why there and not here? If your country is having a priest shortage I would say stay to help fight the shortage and to help those in your country.
The Jesuit order is known for sending people around worldwide and not stuck to one diocese.

We have a man from our parish ( US) who was ordained into the Diocese of Mogadishu, Somalia about two years ago.

He felt called to become a diocesan priest, but to serve in an area that was most in need of priests.

That turned out to be the Diocese of Mogadishu.

That See is currently unoccupied, as the previous bishop was assassinated in 1997, but it is under the administration of the Diocese of Djibouti, Africa

That is where he is currently residing (Djibouti), running a parish near the border.

So yes, it is certainly possible. What is required is that your home bishop and the bishop of the diocese that you would like to incardinate in both agree.

Father did his Philosophy (under grad formation) here, but his Theology work in Africa. He already had a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

FYI, our pastor was just out visiting him a few weeks ago, he is doing well. He is one of 6 priests for the whole diocese (both diocese actually) and runs a mission, two outstations and a trade school (being an.Engineer. he chose to make inroads with the community and combat poverty by teaching plumbing, construction and auto repair :slight_smile: )

Here is his parish

You can see Fr Mark in the corner wearing a Roman collar and shorts ( it’s 120 in Djibouti this time of year…)

I will also say that his mother took some convincing. Somalia was not exactly her first choice for her son :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for those very interesting infos and examples!

The short answer would be join a religious order with a missionary charism and you could end up almost anywhere.

Diocesan priests on the other hand are incardinated (or attached basically) to a diocese and are expected to remain there. So any bishop considering an applicant who wasn’t from his diocese would want to know why that person wasn’t applying to their home diocese.

Granted, there no strict prohibition on applying to any diocese but a bishop needs to consider whether the applicant would be suitable for that diocese. So if the answer to the question “why here” is something along the lines of “I don’t like the culture in my own country” (issues of persecution aside) or “I don’t like my bishop” the response may well be thanks but thanks. No diocese is perfect and anyone searching for the “ideal” is likely to end up disappointed. The same goes for bishops and is particularly important for diocesan priests who promise obedience to the bishop and his successors.

Other consideration such as familiarity with the country, its culture and language also come into play. Then there’s the complex issue of local immigration laws…

So again, the best way may well be to join an order - and (possibly) see the world!

Hey Brendan thanks for this, where did you get those photos, if I may ask? I am in email contact with Fr Mark, please keep him and Somalia in your prayers. God bless.

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