Religious vs Diocese Priest


What are the main differences between a parish priest and a priest who is part of a religious society (Jesuits, for example)? Would the Jesuit priest be able to say mass every week? I like the idea of saying mass and really having an effect on normal people’s lives, but I don’t think I could stay at one parish for years and years. Would a society be the best option for me?

Also, I’ve felt a very strong attraction to the Franciscan friars. I realize that most friars are not priests, but what would be the process for becoming a friar as well as a priest?

Thank you and God bless!


I think the religious priest (ie those belonging to an order) take vows of poverty as well as chastity/celibacy and obedience. They cannot purchase anything for themselves generally, however they do have the use of much. They generally live in community with their brothers (& sisters?), and they can say mass in a parish and be the parish priest, although this can involve them being away from their community.

A secular priest / a diocesan priest, does not take a vow of poverty and so they can purchase items for themselves. They do not live in community, generally being attached to a parish.

I think a religious priest has more study about a particular saint and religious philosophy/approach eg. the capuchins & Saint Francis, the Jesuits and Saint Ignatius etc.

Other than this I do not know. I think a religious priest is a good way to go.


Maybe this video can help.

At least with Jesuit and Diocesan priests.


What kind of Franciscan would you want to be?

Maybe these videos can help out

Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word

Hey and who said you had to give up your skills and talents. Remember God gave you those so why not use them “For the Greater Glory of God”
Take an example of these two Franciscans who use their skateboarding skills.


If you haven’t already, you could contact your diocesan Vocations Director to ask for help discerning. They can help you explore the possibilities and maybe give you opportunities to get a clearer idea of the reality of being a priest and also the religious life. From what I see in our Diocese, young men can start the discernment (with parental permission) well before their 18th birthday, which makes sense as it gives time to mature and explore without pressure or commitment.

Although you cannot see yourself being in one parish for years and years, irrespective of whether you are a priest or religious priest, this may happen. Our Diocese moves some priests more than others, but to place priests where their particular gifts are needed the most. This includes exchanges with our twin Diocese in Africa.

I would not worry about the length of time in a parish because God will lead you to where you need to be at any given point in time. You could be in a parish for a year and it feels like 10, or for 20 years thoroughly enjoying the challenges and be shocked at how quickly time has moved.

May God bless and guide you.


My high-functioning autism son is discerning the call to the priesthood. He will be starting spiritual direction and attend a discernment camp during the summer.

Follow your attractions. If you’re feeling the attraction to the Franciscans, by all means, check them out. There are many Franciscan communities, as they are the largest order in the world.

When you find the right place, you will calm to the point of almost scary instantaneous maturity.



Thanks for the replies everyone. Right now (keep in mind this is only after like a week of discernment) I’m feeling a STRONG calling to be a Friar, either Franciscan or the Poor Friars of Jesus and Mary. I will contact my diocesan vocations director however, as well as the orders I feel a calling to, to find which might suit me best. Pray for me on this journey!


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