Late into the Priesthood


What if a person who is 26 or so and does not have a college degree wanted to become a Priest? I know you have to have 4 years of college and then it’s 4 years in seminary… So the ordination would be a little later in life. Would this be an issue? What are the main problems with this if any?


You do not need a college degree to be considered for entrance into seminary.

You would probably have to go back to minor seminary (college seminary) to get a degree in philosophy, since you have to have a Bachelor’s before you can even begin Pre-Theology, I believe. When you have completed that, you will be able to move on to Major seminary (Thelogy).

Contact your diocese’s vocations director, and he will have the complete info for you.

I wish you good luck in your discernment! You and all others discerning priesthood are always in my prayers. :thumbsup: I know what it’s like to be in this position as I am currently discerning as well.


Thank you very much for the answers. I guess I was mistaken.

But it is not me I’m talking about, I’m younger than 26, it was just a general question. But yes I’m discerning the Priesthood. Thank you!


I think what would become important for older applicants like that would be what they’ve been doing.

Say if you got a steady job after high school because you weren’t interested in university and have only had that job (or even a few long-term jobs). That does show that you can handle a stable lifestyle and are probably a good candidate to be able to enter Seminary and get all the steps done, even at an older age.

Now on the other hand if you’re a person who has only done odd jobs or never holds a job for for then 6 months or went to college and dropped out, that raises read flags. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, the Seminary is going to be 7-10 years* in a row (depending on undergrad degree lengths, pastoral and/or spiritual years), and it’s hard to tell if someone will be able to do that if their life shows no long-term stability. You might be asked to show that you can do something long term (say, holding a job for a year for example, and I’m just making this up) before accepting you. You can also go and do a philosophy undergrad degree on your own (although it’s probably good to find out what specific classes need to be done), you don’t have to be in a Seminary to do that (although the Seminary is the best place for discerning a vocation to the priesthood).

  • Even for someone like me who has a bachelors degree in engineering, I’m still anticipating 7 years in the Seminary starting this fall (1 year to pick up philosophy pre-reqs, 1 spiritual year, 1 pastoral year, and 4 years of theology).


You don’t technically need a college degree. After all, the FSSP require no degrees and they don’t even offer them. It’s seven years of Seminary and by the end they ordain you. There are no degrees to be earned or degrees needed. However, the Diocesan Priesthood is a little different. If you don’t have a degree you can simply enter Minor Seminary for four years and earn your Bachelor’s degree. Then, they’ll send you to Major Seminary for four years. No previous degrees are necessary either way as they will take care of any needs you must get done.


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