Medical Priests?


#1

Hello, I’m new to catholic answers, but I really need some help. As of late, I’ve been seeing the world around me with a different perspective. I see the beauty in others, in prayers, in the mass, and the Eucharist. I’m not sure what triggered this, but i knew that my eyes were opened like never before. This made me wonder, “Is this how priests feel all of the time?”. This question is what led me to rethink my vocation. I originally wanted to be a doctor (a surgeon specifically) and i was so excited to be one. But with this revelation I’ve been given, I’m now considering the priesthood. So, this is my question: Is there a way that i can be a priest with medical training. I know that there are some priests out there who contribute to the medical field, but what specifically did they have to do (and what will i have to do) in order to be sort of like a priest and a doctor? I’m 18 and about to graduate high school, so this is a crucial time for decision making for my future. I have many scholarships and financial aid for college (i was going to be a biology major for med school) but I don’t want to throw them all away to go to the seminary only to find myself changing my mind and wanting to be a doctor instead. and also vice versa: I don’t want to go the medical school and regret not becoming a priest. If there is a way that i can become a priest and still treat people medically (maybe sort of like a nurse?), then that seems like it would be the best path. I just want to make sure that path is possible. Thank you in advance, I truly appreciate any input. God Bless!


#2

It sounds like you're coming to a crossroads in your life, and that's not surprising if you're about to finish High School.

In practical terms, training as a doctor will involve a vast expense of money. If you then train as a priest, not only will you have spent a lot of money on that medical training, but there's no guarantee that after a further 6 years training for priesthood that you'll a: be given a priestly posting that makes use of your medical skills or b: that your medical skills would even be accepted by authorities after such a gap since qualifying (i.e. you might not be certifiable by medical boards without yet more training / retraining).

What I will say though is that it's wonderful that you want to help people - either with their bodily ills or their spiritual ones. But in practical terms I think you're going to need to make a choice, if for no other reason than you'll have a mountain of student debt from medical training and priests aren't exactly rolling in money...

Take some time, speak about your discernment process with a priest, spiritual director or vocations director... Things will fall into place.


#3

I'm very happy to hear you are discerning the Priesthood. It's the greatest vocation in the world, if that is what you choose to do and if that's God's will for you. I know a Priest that is a doctor, but I don't think he really practices medical work, so I'm not sure how you would fit that into the Priesthood. Although, you would be a Doctor of souls! If you become a Priest, your whole life is dedicated to the salvation of souls. There is nothing greater than that. To be a Father to us all. May God bless you and I'll keep you in my prayers. :)


#4

[quote="nicnacfromla, post:1, topic:313739"]
Hello, I'm new to catholic answers, but I really need some help. As of late, I've been seeing the world around me with a different perspective. I see the beauty in others, in prayers, in the mass, and the Eucharist. I'm not sure what triggered this, but i knew that my eyes were opened like never before. This made me wonder, "Is this how priests feel all of the time?". This question is what led me to rethink my vocation. I originally wanted to be a doctor (a surgeon specifically) and i was so excited to be one. But with this revelation I've been given, I'm now considering the priesthood. So, this is my question: Is there a way that i can be a priest with medical training. I know that there are some priests out there who contribute to the medical field, but what specifically did they have to do (and what will i have to do) in order to be sort of like a priest and a doctor? I'm 18 and about to graduate high school, so this is a crucial time for decision making for my future. I have many scholarships and financial aid for college (i was going to be a biology major for med school) but I don't want to throw them all away to go to the seminary only to find myself changing my mind and wanting to be a doctor instead. and also vice versa: I don't want to go the medical school and regret not becoming a priest. If there is a way that i can become a priest and still treat people medically (maybe sort of like a nurse?), then that seems like it would be the best path. I just want to make sure that path is possible. Thank you in advance, I truly appreciate any input. God Bless!

[/quote]

You sound like an incredible person! I could never be in school for as long as it takes to be a doctor and a priest. But man, if you could put both in practice, I believe you could do some amazing things.

But a warning, the Church cannot ordain someone with significant debt, which I think is unavoidable if one becomes a doctor.

I suggest contacting the vocations director of the diocese/religious order you want to join and talking with them about the possibility of using medicine in your ministry. You should also just visit a seminary or religious house to get a better idea about their way of life before you make commitments.


#5

I work in a Catholic hospital and I know of 1 priest / doctor.
So I would have to say yes, it's possible.
I think it all depends on your determination and finances (as mentioned by another poster). There will be other factors as well, I'm sure, but the possibility is there, yes.


#6

You might consider:

Friars of the Sick Poor of Los Angeles (work in healthcare including medicine and nursing)


#7

The two are not compatible by and large except for Missionary Medicine-as a Physician of 40 years I would suggest you decide right now-Medical Scool and Residency will consume about 8 years post College-either hit the ground fully committed to medicine or not at all-It is much more difficult to get into Medical School than the Seminary

When you finish this training you will likely to be around 30 -still easily young enough to go to the Seminary-there are some Jesuits with Medical Degrees-they do run 2 Medical Schools Gerogetown and Creighton-I doubt however that you would be allowed to practice Medicine in the traditional way-there are by the way a few Sisters who are Physicians-who do practice the tradiitonal way and serve the poor-

With either vocation your life can be difficult-with Medicine you will have more control
Dr. Mc-]/-]


#8

Okay, this really helped me. I truly appreciate all of the answers. Would it be a good idea to get my degree in nursing and then join the seminary? That way i get sort of the background in health care that i could maybe use later on down the road.


#9

You should ask the vocations director at the seminary or of the religious order you want to join. It depends on the particular charism.


#10

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