Can I go to another diocese for seminary?/ Other... (Priest answer is preferred)

Just out of curiosity, can a catholic man with a vocation to the priesthood go to a seminary that is not in his diocese? For instance… if a man were in the Diocese of Oakland with only one choice of seminary that the man does not prefer to apply to due to their liberal tendencies, can that man go to another diocese like the archdiocese of PA to attend Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary because they are a lot more conservative and allow the use of cassocks than the previous diocese? Also, the academics seem a lot better.

According to their website it states that:
"Applicants From Outside of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Any man who wishes to study at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary for service in another archdiocese, diocese, or religious community must contact the proper Vocation Director for the necessary sponsorship for admission.

All the information regarding application to Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is contained in the admissions packet. All communication related to the admissions packet takes place between the Vice Rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and the Director of Vocations for the Diocese or Religious Community.

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary reserves the right both to investigate and verify all information provided by the applicant and to conduct background checks of the applicant.

For more information about the application process, please see our list of Partner Dioceses and their respective Vocation Offices."

**I AM NOT IMPLYING that I DECIDED YET because I want to go on a retreat first for it, but I will be honest:
I like both the Novus Ordo and the Extraordinary Form. It is my goal, if I were to become a priest, to celebrate the Novus Ordo as intended, and preach and live Vatican II as intended… WITHOUT the abuse, etc. There usually is so much confusion after church councils that I hear the call to perform what the Holy Spirit intended at that council/ learn more about it.

Also, a question with a question… Can a diocesan priest wear the cassock, biretta, sash, and shoulder cape?/ Fiddleback sets in the NO?

Now you all might be thinking, this man is only considering priesthood because of the robes, smells, and bells… BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE. My goal, if I were a priest, would be to bring what is good with the old and what is good with the new to my work. I would do all I can to aid in the sanctification of all entrusted to me, and I would do my best to teach my flock about what the Church is, its mission, its rich tradition, how to be more Christlike, and so on. As a matter of fact, I would beg my superiors/ bishop to send me to a University/ and or Rome to study even more religious subjects so that I can use this knowledge to spread the SPLENDOR of truth. But please keep me in your prayers as I am discerning a vocation between the Priesthood and Becoming a Doctor (either something in the ER or Surgery).

***To those of you who answered my old post, I had to make my intended seminary possibility broader because I am not too much of a fan of how the ICKSP uses the lace and grace quote. Though I love lace and all, I feel that it would distract me personally because I would be way too obsessed with what the externals are that I’d forget the core value of what I am doing. I can attest to this because this is the sole reason I burnt myself out… I got way to obsessed with rubrics, technicalities, and all that to go back would damage me significantly. I am not saying that they are wrong, but I would be going against myself and my convictions if I allowed myself to be in such intricate environments. Again, what is good in the old and new.

Here is an interview that really got to me about my vocation if you are interested:
EWTN Live - 2013-05-15 - Fr. Charles P. Connor - 2nd Vatican Council


I’m not a priest but…as the quotation from the seminary website says, the diocese you are studying for will sponsor you. Since the diocese pays for the education, you will have to go where you are sent. Many seminarians study outside their home diocese although this is not as common if the home diocese has its own seminary. A notable exception is if a diocese sends a student to Rome.

So, bottom line: you will have to ask your diocese where they would be willing to send you to complete your studies. If they are willing to send you to St. Charles, you can go. If not, you can’t.


I am a seminarian, who is familiar with the general policies and trappings involved.

To begin formation as a seminarian, one must be accepted by a bishop for formation in his diocese. Once a man is subject to a bishop as a seminarian, he is expected to be obedient to his bishop, or face expulsion from formation.

Priests promise obedience to their bishop, and this process starts in seminary (in the same way that one does not make a promise of celibacy until diaconal ordination, but seminarians are expect to remain celibate throughout formation). A bishop assigns a seminarian to a seminary, and the seminarian is expected to be obedient to the bishop’s decision.

In my experience, seminarians are always assigned by the bishop to a major seminary. In some diocese, the bishop allows college-age seminarians to choose which college seminary they study at, since they are typically responsible for the cost of their undergraduate education.

Bottom line: A seminarian must be obedient to his bishop. If he can’t do it as a seminarian, it is a formation problem, since he is expected to be obedient as a priest.

Is there a reason that you cant arrange your life so that you can move to the proper diocese?

actually this MIGHT be possible…

My parish’s assistant priest is from Indiana. He tried contacting the Vocation director for his own diocese and got no response. He eventually made his way to my diocese and was ordained a priest for Lincoln, not for his own in Indiana.

I am not sure how he obtained permission or if he moved here several years before hand (he claims (I think he was joking) that his car just happened to break down here).

The Diocese of Oakland currently has seminarians in formation at four different seminaries, including the North American College in Rome. The Bishop of Oakland makes the final decision as to which seminary may be best suited for each particular seminary candidate. There are many important factors when determining which seminary is chosen
and where a candidate is best placed. The Vocations Director of the Diocese of Oakland would be happy to talk to you about your question at (510) 267-8345. Be assured of our prayers for your discernment.

SapientaEtAmor, I think I like you. I don’t know if it’s the use of Latin, the coats of arms, the ability to think big thoughts, or some combination of all of those. Perhaps you just remind me a little of myself when I was graduating university. So I might very well then tell you some things that I wish someone told me then.

But first, regarding seminary, considering that most dioceses don’t have seminaries, most seminarians go outside their diocese anyway. But I don’t think that’s your concern; you’re a little worried as to where your bishop might send you. He, after all, has the final word, and if you don’t like his choice, then you don’t get to begin seminary studies. I’m a more traditional type like you who was in that situation when I was younger and more impetuous. So I’ve got to tell you from experience: if there’s a red flag like that, if you worry that you might find yourself liturgically starved for a time, then you’d do best not applying to begin with.

And so you mention the ICKSP, one of my favourite priestly societies as well. But if they’re a little too much for you, how about the FSSP? Or if your heart is set on saying that increasingly rare “reform-of-the-reform” NO, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius?

But medicine still has an allure for you. So you’ve got to be very honest with yourself, SapientaEtAmor, what exactly do you want? Perhaps you can only find that out through spiritual direction. Discretion prevents my saying something that I might see here; I’d much rather you see it for yourself than I tell you.

God bless

I’m not a priest, but a seminarian. I’ll attempt to help you out a little.

Yes, but it’s up to the vocations council. There has to be a good reason to do so if you have a seminary in the diocese or if they send everybody else to a certain seminary. The reason for this is because seminary is a time to cultivate a sense of community life; allowing the formation team to see how you interact with your peers; stepping in if necessary.

While the reality of diocesan life (in the United States, at least) is that you would most likely be living alone, the priesthood is a fraternity; if you read it close enough, Canon Law tends to assume that there is some sort of communal living in the priesthood, giving the pastor authority similar to a religious (house) superior.

Honestly, don’t worry about what seminary you go to. You can go to the most “liberal” seminary, where you’re the only one faithful to the Church’s teachings, and still be effective in your ministry. You could also go to the FSSP seminary, work through their rather strict requirements, and find that you spend so much time on academia and tradition that you are out of touch with the reality of the Church. :shrug: At the end of the day, it is the Holy Spirit working through you, not the other way around.

Yes, a priest can wear the cassock, biretta, cincture, and Roman-style Chasuble (the ones you usually see are referred to as “Gothic-style”) in the Ordinary Form of the mass. You probably wouldn’t wear the “sash” cincture (sometimes called the “fascia”), because you wear the rope cincture, which loops around your body like a belt, as well as holding the stole. The pellegrina (shoulder cape) you would not wear during mass. You could, of course, wear it outside of mass; although admittedly this is a bit of a newer (1850’s) invention for priests.

Thank you so much for giving advice to me in this time. Also thank you for your prayers, and know that I pray for you.

Please know that you are in my prayers. Thank you so much for responding!

Just in general: I think I have all the responses I need here. Thank you for your time everyone! @Oakland Diocese, I forgot to mention that though I am a native, I currently go to school in Rocklin, part of the Diocese of Sacramento. I plan on notifying my Vocations Director soon. So far, I emailed the seminary I am interested in. It is called Saint Charles de Borromeo seminary in Pennsylvania. Thank you again, and should I still notify Oakland as well? I have a chance of transferring to UCB or USF.

The vocation director for the Diocese of Sacramento (Rocklin) will give you guidance on that. But know that we are always available, as well. Again, our prayers are with you.

What seminary you will go to should be the least concern of a man entering seminary. It is as silly as picking a seminary based on what color your room will be.

However, if you feel strongly about going to a certain seminary because the one that exists within your diocese or your diocese sends to is not right for you, you should make that as painfully obvious to the vocations director as possible. let him know it is my way or the highway

At which point he will most likely wish you well on your highway journey!

No seminary is perfect but obedience to your bishop comes into play here - he has decided that his seminarians should attend a particular seminary most likely because he believes that there attendance there will best enable him (and, in turn, them) to meet the needs of his diocese. Granted, it may not be your ideal or preferred environment, but part of the purpose of seminary life and formation is to remove you from your comfort zone, exposing you to new, unfamiliar and (at times) uncomfortable experiences. Given this, flexibility is obviously a desired quality in those seeking admission to a seminary! Of course, a large part of the reasoning behind this is that, in diocesan priestly ministry, you will most likely be placed in a parish which differs from your tastes (liturgically, politically, or otherwise) - perhaps markedly so and being able to maintain a good relationship with the parishioners (as opposed to starting World War III within the confines of the parish boundaries) is essential.

So my advice to the OP is simple: here I am Lord I come to do you will! trust in God that he will put you where you should be. If you feel called to be a priest in the Diocese of Oakland then go where your bishop sends you - after all, you never know, you may end up being pleasantly surprised…

That very well may have been his point. :smiley:

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