Pursuing Bachelor's Degree - Priesthood


#1

Over the last few years I have found myself deepening in my faith and in my daily walk with the Lord which finally culminated in my being received into His Church this past Easter vigil. Ever since I had my “aha” moment, which pointed me down the road to Rome, I have felt a strong pull to a vocation inside the Church. I’ve been praying for guidance in the discernment of my vocation but even though it’s been years, I still feel I need more time. I feel called to Religious Life or, possibly, the Priesthood (maybe both). Since I’m only 18 I figure I still have time for discernment. I’ve decided I’m going to pursue a Bachelor’s degree and seek more guidance over that period.

Now, at the moment, I am not in the position where I can leave my area for higher education, it will have to be done online. I’m looking to get my BA majoring in Humanities for the purpose of, if I do feel called, entering seminary.

Here’s my question,
If I do feel called to the priesthood, would my Degree fulfill the educational requirements for seminary even though it was earned through an online university?

The online college I’m looking into is regionally accredited by the “Middle States Commission on Higher Education”.

Please pray for my discernment.

edit
I just realized that I may have placed this in the wrong forum section.


#2

I quick-searched on Wikipedia, and it says that the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, so accreditation shouldn't be a problem (so long as I've got the right organization here).

It is possible to do a BA, majoring in philosophy. You need to have a certain number and type of philosophy credits (we have 24 credits, or 8 classes, required in Canada. You'd have to ask your vocation's director how many and what type you'd have to take) and I believe in the US they also want you to have a certain amount of theology (4 classes I believe or something like that).

So you can certainly do a BA without going to seminary. That's actually becoming quite common from what I've heard; people will enter the Seminary already with a BA.

After that, you cannot really do anything else without entering the Seminary to complete a masters degree (usually a MDiv, Masters in Divinity).

Since you're still discerning, this seems to be the best path for you to take. Get your bachelors degree, and figure out what to do from there.


#3

[quote="MrBibbins, post:1, topic:289046"]
Over the last few years I have found myself deepening in my faith and in my daily walk with the Lord which finally culminated in my being received into His Church this past Easter vigil. Ever since I had my "aha" moment, which pointed me down the road to Rome, I have felt a strong pull to a vocation inside the Church. I've been praying for guidance in the discernment of my vocation but even though it's been years, I still feel I need more time. I feel called to Religious Life or, possibly, the Priesthood (maybe both). Since I'm only 18 I figure I still have time for discernment. I've decided I'm going to pursue a Bachelor's degree and seek more guidance over that period.

Now, at the moment, I am not in the position where I can leave my area for higher education, it will have to be done online. I'm looking to get my BA majoring in Humanities for the purpose of, if I do feel called, entering seminary.

Here's my question,
If I do feel called to the priesthood, would my Degree fulfill the educational requirements for seminary even though it was earned through an online university?

The online college I'm looking into is regionally accredited by the "Middle States Commission on Higher Education".

Please pray for my discernment.

edit
I just realized that I may have placed this in the wrong forum section.

[/quote]

Will you be able to leave for the degree in the future? If not, then how will you attend seminary? Perhaps contact the seminary with the specific college to verify they will accept it. Other degrees can be useful, particularly psychology.


#4

I’m in a similar situation to you. I was just confirmed this past Easter (ex-Protestant) and I feel the call to priesthood and/or religious life, but I’m currently half way though an engineering degree. My pastor told me that since I’m so early in the discernment process and so new to the Church that I should go ahead and finish this degree. That way, if it turns out that I’m not called into the priesthood/religious life, I will still have a way to feed myself :slight_smile: . If I do end up being called, I’ll have to spend an extra 2 years in seminary, but I’m fine with that.

IMHO it would probably be best to have a backup plan considering how early you are in the discernment process.


#5

:thumbsup:

Been there, done that, quite literally. First felt the call 2 years into a 5 year engineering co-op degree. I definitely wasn’t ready at that time, but I also figured at that point that if I wanted to switch to philosophy I’d basically be back at square 1 (engineering classes don’t exactly transfer over to a BA) and I’d end up taking the same amount of time (4 year BA vs. 3 more years of engineering + 1 year philosophy I’m taking this coming year, so it would have ended up with the same amount of time).

The extra time also prepared me a lot more and really allowed my vocation to grow organically over the past few years. It also allows you to get that degree over with so that it doesn’t come back later as a regret too.


#6

Many of the people that you are serving will not be humanities majors. In some areas of the Church there is a strong reliance on feelings and relative exclusion of logic, so some people might feel more comfortable with you if you demonstrate some comfort with technical subjects. :slight_smile:


#7

Alright, I’ve e-mailed a few seminaries concerning my question on online degrees. I’ll post what I receive in response.

eternalrest: You suggested that Psychology might be a better choice for my major. Interesting you would say that. It was my initial thought to go for psychology as it seems it would have a much more practical application in daily life. I only decided to go for Humanities once I realized it would fulfill the seminary credit hour prerequisite for religious studies and philosophy.


#8

[quote="MrBibbins, post:1, topic:289046"]
The online college I'm looking into is regionally accredited by the "Middle States Commission on Higher Education".

[/quote]

Other posters have addressed the meat of your question, so I hope my digression is tolerated: Regional accreditation by one of the six regional accrediting bodies is preferred over many of the national accrediting bodies. I'd explain further, but that would really be off topic.


#9

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