How long does it take to become a priest?


I am 34. I have Catholic family, but I am not baptized, nor do I practice a Catholic lifestyle.

What would it take for me to become Catholic and work toward becoming a priest? What are the steps. What is the time frame.

I have never been married.

Can someone discover the lord and passionately pursue this avenue of leadership? I’m not saying I personally would do this, but I was just curious if someone could start over their life and focus it completely on Jesus and helping others in a leadership capacity.

My grandpa was seriously entertaining the idea of priesthood as a young man, but thank goodness he met my grandma and I’m here typing to you today :slight_smile:


Well, you would need to be baptized and receive all the sacraments. That would take about a year. Then you would need spend time to properly discern that you really wanted to be a priest. That could take anywhere from no time to forever. But let’s say it took no time, you would then need to apply to and be accepted at a seminary, probably six months to a year. Then the actual formation takes about six years.


this is true, but keep in mind there is a waiting period for converts and those who enter the Church of about 2 years ( for most dioceses I think) before acceptance to pre-theology. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but this would add a little time to the above.

Perhaps the best thing to focus on right now, regardless of what you have done, is work on your primary vocation: to holiness. Spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and entrust your secondary vocation to out Blessed Mother, she will take care of the rest!


The amount of time required can also grow or be shortened based on prior education. To be accepted into a major seminary you generally need a 4 year degree from a college with some focus (as least a minor) in a subject like theology or philosophy. If you already have these things it speeds the process up a little since you don’t have to worry about obtaining them.


Thank you. That is so interesting.


You would need to go through RCIA which depending on where you go it could take up to a year or more. Then you would need to be a praciticing Catholic for about two years or so.

Then it depends on your education. You need a bachelors degree and 30 credit hours in philosophy and 12 credit hours in theology. These must be done at a Cathlolic institution. If you do not currently have a bachelors degree then you can get one in philosophy which will fulfill this requirement for entry into the Masters of Divinity program at a Major Seminary.

After that the M.Div. is a four year professional masters degree program.

So if you have a bachelors degree it could be as little as 6 years of school, 2 years as a practicing Catholic, and 1 year (or so) in RCIA for a total of 9 years. With out a bachelors degree the schooling goes up to 8 years which would make a total of 11 years.

This is not counting any pastoral (or internship) years that the diocese or religious institute might require. Most dioceses add a pastoral year, my religious community has a two year internship it adds.

So it could go up to from 10 years to 13 years with all that added in.

Having said all this you can work on your undergraduate degree or your philosophy/theology requirements while you complete RCIA and work on being a practicing Catholic so, if you are accepted as a candidate for the priesthood, you could shave some time off of this, like 2 to 4 years (depending on what requirements you need to fill), so it could drop to 6 to 8 years or so.


In the example we are using. I have a BS in Business Administration with a minor in Telecommunications. I have some units in Psychology, ethics, philosophy, sociology, and other classes. Obviously this is not very beefy in Philosophy or Theology, and I didn’t go to a Catholic Institution. But I see how I would easily need like a decade plus or minus of work.

On a side note. What is a Br. exactly? What does a Br. do? I tried to look it up but I couldn’t figure it out and my Catholic family wasn’t exactly sure.


A Br is a Brother. A consecrated religious. I am under the vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity (temporary right now). A brother works within his order in the ministries that they have. They are non-ordained individuals. I am studying for the priesthood so eventually (God willing) I will be ordained.


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