How long to become a priest if I have an MA in THL and

I hear differing things. Realize it probably differs by diocese.

If someone already has an MA in theology and can speak a few languages, how long does it take to become a priest?

and well aware there is more to being a priest.

just wondering what the qualifications do to the timeframe or process or whatever

What diocese or order are you interested in serving? I’d be happy to contact the vocations director and get the answer for you if you don’t want to do it yourself.

It might differ; yet, the Program of Priestly Formation has pretty definite standards.

If someone already has an MA in theology and can speak a few languages, how long does it take to become a priest?

Are you looking to become a diocesan priest? It might take just as long as if you didn’t have that degree. After all, there are four pillars of formation, and intellectual formation is just one of them. Nevertheless, the formation program for a person who’s already done quite a bit of academic work might look somewhat different than the program of a person who has not.

Expect to spend some time in minor seminary (two years, but maybe a little less). I’d expect that, if you have an MA in Theology, you’ve already done substantial work in philosophy? If not, you’ll shore up your philosophy education in minor seminary. In addition, of course, you’ll enter a program of formation that will allow you to discern a vocation while working on the other three pillars.

Following that experience, expect four years in a major seminary. There, you might work on a different degree (whether in theology or otherwise). In addition, you’ll likely have opportunities to take on an assignment as a hospital chaplain, be assigned to a parish, and do work for a year as a deacon.

If you’re looking to enter into consecrated life, the timeframe will be different. You’d have to enter into their normal process, starting as a postulant and progressing normally. At the discretion of your superior, you might have the opportunity to enter into formation for the priesthood.

Talk to a vocations director in the diocese or community in which you’re interested. My advice isn’t to walk in there asking, “how much time can I shave off the process?” That never plays well. Rather, recognize that the time you spend in discernment and formation will pay handsome dividends in forming you for the vocation that God wishes you to embrace…

Thanks Gorgias, and 1neophyte, I realize that was probably sarcastic, but I am not totally sure whether I want to go diocesan or in a religious order, so I made my question kinda general.
Obviously, in early stages. Yeah, I do have some philosophy background, so, I guess it will maybe look different.

And thanks, I will get talking to different orders and the diocese, just wondered if there were overarching guidelines, and it looks like there is.

God just told me to direct you here:

1neophyte…so…are you still trolling? or…?

Excuse me?

Maybe I inocrrectly interpreted your remarks as sarcastic, mea culpa

There is no one answer to this question.

In terms of religious orders/congregations/other institutes of perfection, at a minimum you would have to be in perpetual vows/definitively incorporated because of the bond of incardination that ordination to the diaconate effects. The moment in formation of perpetual vows/definitive incorporation can vary broadly.

In terms of diocesan priesthood…there is a greater latitude which rests, ultimately, with the bishop. They would be looking at things such as your age and other life experiences as well as an analysis of the Master’s programme that you had completed, its academic requirements and its rigour. A Master’s that is a true research degree in theology is of a different stature than a master’s degree in theology oriented to being a catechist, for example. The first question would be: is this degree actually equivalent to an M.Div.

If someone were coming to the diocese with some level of formation outside the diocese, we would often have the potential candidate reside for a time in a parish assignment with one of the more senior parish priests of the diocese who could make a more thorough assessment as well as his recommendations and insights since the diocesan formators would have to look at creating a specialised program of formation, under the bishop’s direction.

In Europe and in the United States, there are seminaries which focus on these specialised programmes and what may be needed by a candidate can vary widely; they could also be something of a resource for you.

Frankly, you will have to start somewhere. Your first question that you must resolve is whether you feel called to be a secular priest or some form of Religious priest. Once you have made that discernment, then you have to begin narrowing the discernment further.

You need to have a spiritual director to help you and you could also begin consulting with the vocation director of your own diocese, since they will have to be involved at some point in the process anyway, due to canonical domicile.

thanks Don

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