Experience with "Late Vocation" Priests - Ordained over age 35

Fellow Catholics:

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.

This is an AMAZING story of how this priest led a whole different life when God called him to become a priest.

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Of my top 5 favorite priests, one is an eeeeeeeeeextremely late vocation. He was 65.

He was a good, practicing Catholic, albeit very isolationist. He saw his family but was a “plate of food under the door, please” engineer. You would NEVER guess from his lively homilies that he spent the greater portion of his adult life finding every way possible not to speak to another human.

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Our pastor is a retired Army colonel who went into the local Benedictine monastery after he retired, was sent to seminary, was ordained as a priest, and then was made pastor after our previous pastor (who conducted my confirmation) became too crippled in his feet to handle the job. I really get along well with him – we’re both ex-military, and he’s very down-to-earth – doesn’t mess around.


I have known two men who were married and had families, etc. In one case, the gentleman was a permanent Deacon. His wife passed away and since he had grown children, he petitioned to be allowed to study for the priesthood and was granted permission. He served at a nearby parish when I lived back in North Carolina. Very fine man and a good, holy priest.

The other was our pastor at a small rural parish. He had been married as well but divorced and got a declaration of nullity. He then became a priest as well later in life. Unfortunately, he started preaching things when he was at our parish that rankled quite a few people because his “thoughts” were not aligned with church teaching. He retired last year. Btw, his son also became a priest in the same diocese!

Thanks for sharing this story with us.

It is so awesome and inspiring, the way that he turned his life around and wanted to change it. I had tears in my eyes by the time that I got to the end of the article! :heart:

May God bless him and his family, and all those he encounters in his priestly ministry! :slightly_smiling_face:

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