Can you answer this practical vocation question?


Over the past couple of years I’ve become more and more convinced that I have a vocation to the priesthood. I’m 37 years old and currently completing a Ph.D. in English Lit. I work as an adjunct prof., teaching courses in classical lit as well as Latin I & II. Since I specialize in classical and Renaissance Lit, I’ve become proficient in Latin and Greek languages. The official plan has been that once I get the Ph.D. I’ll try to go tenure track, but I think the Lord is calling me, and I want to respond.

My question is a practical one: would my degrees–B.A., M.A., M.Phil., and (hopefully soon) Ph.D.–along with knowledge of Latin and Greek help me to become a priest more quickly as far as time in seminary etc.? If so, could you estimate how long it might take me?

Thank you in advance for addressing my question. Blessings in Christ.

Dear friend,

First of all, do you want to be a parish priest? Such is the main work of the diocesan priest. If you would be interested in teaching or writing, you might want to join a religious order where there would be a better chance of your ministering in this way. Your degree in philosophy could speed your time of formation somewhat, depending on the kind of philosophy it is. In any case, a certain amount of time is necessary to prepare for life as a priest—over and above intellectual formation. Just how much time your formation period would take will depend on those in charge of formation for the particular diocese or religious order you choose. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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