Becoming a Priest Late in Life, etc

I was married by a judge in a civil ceremony (my aunt was the judge). I have two sins aged 10 and 7. I have recently been divorced.

Over the past 5 or 6 years I have found myself drawn to the priesthood (well, longer than that, but more on that below). I attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through 8th grade and have always been a very religious person. My civil marriage was the result of my ex-wife being anti-religious. During that period of my life, I too was struggling with my faith and was drawn into this civil ceremony by the love I felt for my wife at the time.

She turned out to be very different than the person I married. I still felt I had to persevere and try to make that union work. In the end, it became obvious that my faith and her lack thereof were inconsistent with our staying together. Things came to a head when she refused to let me have my youngest son Baptised in the Church (I had persuaded her to allow my older son to be baptized, thank God). She left me at that time, thinking me some religious “fanatic.”

That’s the backstory in a nutshell.

Now to my question:

May a man in my situation become a priest? What would I need to do. How would I get the process started assuming it is possible.

I truly believe God has shown me this path. In fact, He had been showing me His plan for me in this matter for as long as I can remember. I simply failed him and fought my destiny.

Please advise. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

While your desire to explore the possibility of priesthood is admirable, I doubt any Vocations Director or Bishop would countenance admitting you to a seminary while you still have children who were not yet adults. Even if they are currently residing with your ex-partner (you do not say), there could yet come a time when, if something happened to her, that you would be expected to look after them. In either case, you are probably liable for at least some of their upkeep, and until this situation, or the potential for it, is no longer around, then you won’t be admitted to a seminary.

Right now your vocation is to concentrate on contributing to the raising of your children as best you can. If your sense of vocation is still as strong in 10 or 11 years time, when they are grown, then certainly, look at it again. Trust me when I say that 10 years will pass quicker than you know.

In the meantime, nurture your faith. Become involved in the life of your parish. Offer yourself for service as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Visit the sick and housebound. Gain experience in ministering to the needy as a layman for the time being. There will be plenty of fulfilment in that to keep you going. Before you know it, you might be Chairman of your Parish Council, going to meetings with the Diocese, etc. It’ll keep you on track and when the time is right - which it isn’t at the moment - you can then examine the prospects of a more permanent gift of yourself to the Church.

How come you have two sins aged 10 and 7? You must be holy if you only have two sins to work on!:wink:

All jokes aside, you should get a regular confessor who could give you guidance.

I don’t think you will be allowed to join until your youngest is at least 21 years of age and both children are self-sufficient.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow in faith, pray, and study in the mean time. God may be calling you to the priesthood later on in your life, but you can still serve God in other ways right now. :thumbsup:

I believe the age is 18 as that is when they become adults responsible for themselves and a parent is no longer required to care for them (not that they shouldn’t just that they do not have to).

Depending on your case though, there might be other things in play.

You will also need to go through the annullment process for your marriage. Shouldn’t be much of an issue if you were a Catholic when you contracted it as it is a defect of form case but you need the paper work done.

You should get a spiritual director and talk with the vocations director.

If I’m not mistaken you can become a deacon. This is also the path to priesthood. Other commentors…please fill in details, but our deacon is married. And a visiting deacon was at our church describing his plans for priesthood. My canon law is lacking here but I concluded the aforementioned.

Permanent Deacons are supposed to be permanent. Only in very rare circumstances may they be ordained priests. Other deacons are transitional deacons who start out in seminary for the priesthood.

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