Calling To Priesthood... A Fork In The Road

Hi, :tiphat: I have a wee dilemma at the moment, I’m an 18yr old, single Anglo-Catholic (A-C) in England (UK) and I feel called to be a priest. I have talked to my friend, who is also the vicar at the A-C Church I worship and will be doing a 4 month stint of work / chaplaincy at until September, when I will start my Theology degree. She is a vocations adviser and director and I have spoken to her for a couple of moths about my feeling of being called to the priesthood. She says there is definitely a religious calling in the path of ordination and there’s no reason I shouldn’t / can’t start straight after my degree. At the same time, and the A-C priest is aware of this, I am going through the process/ motions of being received into the Catholic Church with no obligation to be received until the actual mass itself in August. The Catholic priest that is accompanying me on this journey also knows that the A-C priest is preparing me/ advising me on the vocations front. I have felt drawn to the Catholic Church for around 7 years, I am deeply interested and believe the theology and the teachings of the Catholic Church, which I have studied in my own time for 3 yrs. The Catholic priest allows me to attend mass, and every time I attend the pull the the Catholic Faith gets stronger and stronger and I get more and more excited by the prospect of becoming a Catholic! :extrahappy: I was hoping to find some advice on my situation?

On a side note, if I am received in August and apply for Catholic priesthood after my degree, will the Theology degree have any impact on the training? ( I have no problem with celibacy and have long decided/ am not worried about not being married) Also, if I am received, how long do I need to wait to be ‘settled into the Faith’ to apply for Catholic priesthood?

Thanks to all for taking the time to read this!

Hi from the UK also.

Welcome to the family!

It sounds like you have already decided in your heart.

At some point before training to become a priest,maybe it might be a good time to arrange an appointment to talk to a Bishop. Just a thought.

And, have you considered moving your learning to a Catholic seminary?

God bless you on your journey!

Have your Catholic priest mentor arrange a meeting with the vocations director for the Catholic diocese. Catholic seminary training has its own requirements for philosophy and theology training, so I wouldn’t recommend getting a theology degree on your own without first consulting the diocese. You may wind up doing a lot of the same work twice, or having to unlearn what you learned.

Hi! And thanks! I feel it would be great to do the study at a seminary, but unfortunately the university application system has already closed all offers or chances to change institution where I can study as of this September. Do you know how long i’d have to wait to go to seminary after being received into the Church? Or would I be able to just study Theology at a Catholic seminary and when I finish, mention I’d like to undergo the training?

I’d like to train for ordination ASAP, I really feel it’s what i’m meant to do and have felt it for a long while.
Thanks for replying!
God Bless,

This might help Hatter:

And…please remember us when you are ordained & say a prayer for us all!

That is up to your bishop. In my diocese in the USA, the application process takes 1-2 years, but I know many of the guys are already enrolled at a university when they apply, and they often receive guidance as to which courses they would be able to transfer in to their seminary program. In the USA, you have to finish a bachelor’s degree anyway before you are admitted into major seminary. You can either be accepted as a seminarian during your undergraduate studies, in which case you would start major seminary straight away, or accepted after already having completed your bachelor’s degree, in which case there is a 1-2 course of study in philosophy and basic theology before you are admitted to major seminary.

For example, a friend of mine was just accepted to start seminary training in September. The diocese has assigned him to complete his undergraduate/minor seminary work at Seton Hall University, which is a Catholic university that has an attached seminary but is not solely a seminary. Due to prior coursework, he is starting as a third year university student. He applied to the diocese in September 2011 and was finally accepted in April 2013, but he was told to complete some coursework on his own time over those 18 months, and the diocese gave him credit for that work, so (God willing) he’ll be ordained a priest in 7 years instead of 9.

To Francis: Thanks for the link! Having a read! :slight_smile:

To Aemcpa
I’ll bring it up with the priest whom is accompanying me tomorrow, I have meetings with him once a week 1-1. I’m doing a massive pastoral, chaplain and shadow job at my Anglo-Catholic church, would that be of credit towards the process, even though it’s in the Anglican Church?

God bless,

**I will pray for you my Brother!!

May the SACRED HEART Bless You and Make You a Priest and Saint for Our Church!!


I don’t think you would get credit for it per se, but it sounds like you would have a wonderful reference from the Anglican church. (Part of the process involves character references and a background check.)

To Mymamamary: Thanks for your prayers!

To Aemcpa: Then a good reference I hope I get! :smiley: Do you happen to know how long the training from entering a seminary to ordination as a priest is?

Generally 6-10 years, depending on the diocesan requirements and the individual seminarian’s background.

I just saw this:

“In their Charter for Priestly Formation, the bishops of England and Wales agree that recent converts should not normally go to a seminary until at least three years after their reception into the Church (art. 50). This does not mean that a teenager or recent convert cannot begin looking seriously at a possible call to the priesthood and laying the foundations for future formation.”

Not sure how hard and fast a rule that is, particularly if the OP has been studying the Catholic Faith for years and has an Anglo-Catholic background.


If you are leaving the Anglican’s and want to become Catholic, then it really makes no sense, to put it lightly, to go and work in some sort of “pastoral” position for the Anglicans. Indifferentism must be fought. Something to think about.


It is down to the individual bishop, obviously, but in my experience a ‘convert’ from High Church Anglicanism may often be asked to wait longer than average before entering seminary in order to distance themselves from the idea that the Anglican communion they experienced (communion as in ecclesial community, not the Eucharist) was the fullness of Church, just under an ‘English’ form. Also, to accept the diversity within orthodoxy of the Catholic Church, which is much wider than the sub-divisions of Anglicanism that people have belonged to (and conversely, much narrower than the broad spectrum of belief within Anglicanism as a whole).

The Theology degree will almost certainly have no impact on the time you spend in seminary. Most Theology degrees offered in UK universities, even those taught by Catholics, are not highly rated by Catholic theologians.

Don’t forget, if you do ‘convert’, a part of the discernment process (which you will more or less start from scratch, although bringing your previous experiences with you) will be to explore whether you feel called to the diocesan priesthood or religious life, which is a much more rigid division than in the Anglican orders.

Prayers for you. :signofcross:

To Cowboy:
The reason for working in the ‘pastoral’ position is because the experience will still be worth it, people are people, Catholic or otherwise, so to me it makes sense that, whomever I meet, it will still be relevant and transferable. I am pretty sure I don’t think I have alluded to or am thinking in the realms of indifference as it was my Catholic priest whom insisted that completely moving before being confirmed wouldn’t be a good idea, also I keep my theology and pastoral remarks and actions in the Catholic teaching. This does give me something to remind myself not to fall into the trap of thinking in indifferentism. Many thanls and God bless,

To Batfink:
I have spent the last 2 months attending the Catholic church by invite of the priest, he says there shouldn’t be a hindrance in applying for ordination compared to other converts under the 3 year rule because of the Anglican communion. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by ‘the diversity of the Orthodoxy of the Catholic Church’
Many thanks and God bless,

Well, as I said, the three year guideline is at the discretion of the bishop, so you’re best placed to know how that would apply in your individual cirucmstances.

When I speak about the diversity of orthodoxy, what I mean is that the Anglican communion is very broad (ranging from St Ebbe’s in Oxford, HTB etc. to ultra high church) yet, at the same time, an individual’s experience of Anglicanism will most likely be quite narrow as one chooses where in the low-high church spectrum one lies and mainly hangs around with people of similar inclinations. So, people attending Anglican training colleges typically choose one which is known for being evangelical/catholic as they prefer, they will ask to be sent as a curate to a parish which corresponds to their churchmanship and so on.

Conversely, the Catholic Church is much narrower in it’s acceptance of heterodox opinions: there is the Magesterium, there is a central authority which tells us what is true and what is not. However, an average Catholic’s experience of the Church & parish life will be much broader than someone who has attended a particular ‘type’ of Anglican (e.g. Anglo-Catholic) parish. In my parish, for example, we have a charismatic prayer group and the Latin Mass … and I would explain further but I have to run now as we have the Rosary starting at 9.20 so I have to pop down. I think you get the idea? :thumbsup:

To Batfink:
Makes good sense to me, thank you! :smiley:
God bless,

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