Diocesan priesthood - where to enter

Hello all,

I just have a question on which I’d like to hear some opinions. Before I enter seminary (if I ever do, that is) I will pose this question to a couple priests too. I think that in general, men aspiring to diocesan priesthood should apply in the diocese they grew up in or the diocese which they are most associated with - I think it’s just common sense to be loyal to one’s home diocese (but obviously depending on a few different things, this may end up not being the case). Thus, in my discernment, I have almost always just assumed that I would enter in my home diocese. However, my diocese currently has like 60 seminarians (Wichita). It’s not that I feel like I am not needed there, as I know it is very unlikely that every single one of them go on to be priests, but I wonder if I should look around at some other dioceses which are more in need of priests, or at least those which have a low(er) number of seminarians. What do you all think - should the number of seminarians and/or priests in the diocese play a role in discerning which diocese to enter? Or not at all? Or maybe sometimes?

That’s a tough one. It seems you have a desire to go and serve where the need is greatest. That’s not a bad desire for an aspiring priest. :slight_smile:

I agree with you that it’s generally best for men to start with their home diocese or other diocese they are associated with (such as the diocese where they went to college). But I can see how going to a place of need would be a good thing, too.

I’m not sure I can offer you much help. :o Definitely take it to prayer. I’m sure you know that already, though.

Put your thoughts into an email or letter to your Bishop and/or your diocese Vocations Director. They know the condition of the vocational needs around the country and especially your Bishop would be in contact with other Bishops.

By the way, their interest in you, whether for your home diocese or for another, is part of being called - Jesus said to the 12, “follow me” and they followed. Your Bishop may say, “Follow in this diocese” or “Follow in that other diocese” or whatever he says - and this is part of “vocation” or “being called”. The call comes from a caller.

John Martin

What ultimately matters is that you have some connection and familiarity with the diocese which you won’t to apply to. Perhaps obviously, this is less of an issue in large urban areas encompassing several dioceses. However, in other cases there can be significant and even vast differences between dioceses. So the best thing you can do for yourself is to do your homework and know not just why you feel called to that particular diocese but also about it. Pray about it and listen to what God speaks to you in your heart.

You need to figure out where God wants you right now. If you have family in a diocese and you consider it your home, then you probably should stay there. If you feel compelled to go to a place in need, then you might explore if being a priest for a diocese is really your calling.

Generally a diocese is weary of a person wanting to a priest for them unless they have a good reason. “You need priests” is usually not one of them.

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