I thought this would be a good place where laity can share their experience with priests who were “late” or “delayed” vocations. I’m speaking more about those who were ordained after age 40.
Quite frankly, the ones that I have met, my experiences have been positive. My mother’s parish had a “later vocation” priest (he has since passed away) and he was a good administrator, prayerful, and went out of his way to visit the sick in nursing homes. His life skills from his previous career as an accountant for an oil and gas company were an asset. My mother really misses him.
I know another priest in my diocese who was widowed. He has 7 grown children from his successful marriage. He had been a permanent deacon, and a few years after his wife passed (his youngest child was already on his own), he entered seminary and was ordained at 64. He had also served 20 years in the Army Reserve, and he can relate well to men, and to his parishioners. He is also pro-life.
I also have a friend who was ordained a priest last year at the age of 44. He had been a seminarian when he was younger, but left (he was in his late 20’s then) because he was unsure about his vocation. After spending 13 years as an engineer (he had an engineering degree completed before entering seminary), and doing quite a bit of teaching and youth ministry at a parish, he re-entered seminary in 2010 and was ordained last year. He is a good priest, and he is in a pretty good diocese. His bishop made him a pastor right out the gate, so I know his bishop has quite a bit of faith in his abilities. Yes, with this white collar, comes great responsibility."
Therefore, I think the life experiences that these men have bring a unique perspective to their calling. Any thoughts?