As a Catholic “revert” and a Catholic man, I find I have found within the past 15 years that I have been able to relate better to priests who were ordained after the age of 35. Many of these priests had secular jobs, paid bills, lived on their own, dated women, and had experiences that the average parishioner can relate. A few served in the military, and some were lawyers and engineers before God called them to the priesthood.
Quite a few entered formation a few years after a reversion story (or the priest was a convert from another denomination), or returned to the Church after a long absence. Some attended Mass weekly all their lives. Some were married and became widowers (three in my diocese were ordained at around 60 years of age who were widowed). The majority of the ones I have met within the last 15 years are solid on doctrine (no watering down), pro-life, and don’t “sugar coat”. I also find that several have healthy male interests, such as outdoor activities, sports, cars, etc., as well as philosophy and theology. That said, I find these priests to be good positive male role models.
My question is: What kind of experiences have other Catholics had with “late vocation” priests? Please share your thoughts. I am not advocating that life experience be mandatory before entering formation, since I do know some good priests who were ordained in the more traditional sense. However, God does call men at different times, and each priest is unique. Thanks for your time.