I have always wanted to help the Church, ever since I was a little boy. Where I am now, in my life, I believe that I have a received a calling to the priesthood. Not just 'received', but its something that has been really developing in me for awhile now.
After watching the most recent media debacle, it hurt me personally. I want to become a priest. I kind of want to spill into a grandiose tirade about how the Church needs strong leaders, etc., but any good Catholic probably already has enough of this in their heart without my soapbox oratory :blush:
So, I have a few questions that I hoped a few of you could help me out with:
Firstly, what is the best seminary in the United States for combining serious academics with relatively traditional priestly formation (e.x., Gregorian chant, Tridentine rite, strong Latin/Greek studies, etc.)? Personal experience and anecdotal advice welcome.
I currently attend a New England liberal arts college with a relatively formidable reputation. The cost of attendance, however, has become prohibitive, and I need just 1.75 credits to graduate (my degree is Philosophy) --would it be better just to get in touch with my diocese/prospective seminary now or to spend 10k taking the 1.75 credits over the summer.
2a. Speaking of prohibitive costs: If I have debt attached to my name (i.e., student loan debt) will this bias my candidacy for the priesthood?
- Please don't think that I am a sick weirdo, but I sympathize with SSPX and traditionalist Catholicism. If I attend their US seminary in Winona, MN, will this dead-end my academic career? Do they ever send any of their priests for graduate studies at the Pontifical institutes and universities?
I am not as interested in substituting FSSP as an alternative, but I would be willing to join the (pardon me, if I mislabel this...) Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest... so I am wondering if the clergy of the Institute would be available for further academic study?
- I don't think that I would perform poorly in pastoral work, but I find the priesthood's evangelical function more attractive. Are there any well-established 'missionary' [secular] orders? If you have a few names in mind, please tell me how their reputations differ. So far, I've only looked into the Jesuits (not secular, I believe) and the PIME missionary order.
4a. Would it be possible to join the seminary as a diocesan priest, and then after I attend the Pontifical institute/university, I can join a secular missionary order? Or will I still be at the disposal of my Bishop?
- What is the most useful degree to get, if I am looking at graduate/study-abroad in Rome? I am very interested in Canon Law, as well as Theology, and my amateurish interest in both has lead me to read several volumes. I have also dabbled in Patristics, Comparative Liturgical study, etc.. So I am wondering which would be the best for a career in the Church?
5a. What sort of non-pastoral jobs are available to the diocesan clergy? Also, what degrees/education would I need in order to make these jobs accessible to me?
Thank you so much!