There are a number of misconceptions in what you have written, so let’s tidy them up.
Actually, it is not a matter of your applying to a seminary.
If you feel called to the secular priesthood (you have not specified) then you would apply to your own diocese or another diocese to which you feel attracted/drawn.
If, on the other hand, you perceive your vocation is to be a priest of a Religious congregation, such as the Dominicans, you would apply to that Order or Congregation or Institute of Perfection.
If accepted, the decision about which seminary would be made for you. Of course, that is not to say that the decision would not take into account your preferences…although, in the end, it may not be your preference that is chosen.
Also, formation for religious life would necessitate a break in studies while you did postulancy, novitiate and juniorate. The first two, especially, are apart from an academic programme of study. A vocation director for a religious institute would advise you as to how to proceed relative to completing your degree or taking a leave from the program to complete formation proper to religious profession.
- I’m halfway done with my undergraduate studies (I live in the US). Should I just finish this? I don’t think this degree will be useful to me, but I’m not sure if starting over would be right for me. This leads me to the next issue.
As others have said, this is a question to discuss with the vocation director of the diocese or religious community to which you would like to apply.
You will, if you are going to become a priest, have to have graduated from a college or university with a bachelor’s degree. That is a prerequisite for your graduate work in theology. You can’t attain a Master’s Degree without a Bachelor’s Degree.
Moreover, there are specific mandated course requirements that you must complete in the field of philosophy. Now that I am retired, I have not stayed abreast of what they are for the Americans in the present moment. In my day and in my place, I had to have a Bachelor of Philosophy, full stop. The Americans did not require the degree, at least when I was a professor, but they did require the courses and a set number of hours.
It would be better to do those now, while you are in college, since they are college level/undergraduate courses, than to do them subsequently in a remedial track…unless that is the obedience that is given by the bishop, of course.
The Americans also make distinctions between a pre-theologate house, a college seminary, and the major seminary where one is on target for priesthood. Theoretically, you would be eligible for admission to a college seminary to complete your bachelor’s degree…except you are in mid-stream and they may not wish to disrupt you and the others by admitting you to a program half way on.
There are various options involving a pre-theologate house – should your diocese have one; not all do – which is yet another reason to reach out without delay to your diocese’s vocation director.
- Money. I can barely afford to pay for college right now (even when I’m living at home and with lots of scholarships). I have no idea how I’d be able to pay for college seminary when I’d have to live on campus. My parents just don’t make enough money. My siblings and I have attended Catholic schools our entire lives, though. Perhaps there might be an option for families like us?
Don’t think about this concern. The diocesan and inter-diocesan seminaries are subsidized by the various dioceses. Some places will ask something of you but that can be cobbled together once the bridge is crossed.
I realize those are petty things to worry about, but those are really the only things that hold me back from applying. I’d really appreciate any support.
God bless all of you. :blessyou:
If this is all that is holding you back, you should initiate the discussion right away.
If I remember your educational system, you are right at or just beyond the threshold where you can transfer institutions, with a change of major, and could complete the requirements for admission to major theology without significant loss of time or effort. Waiting another year or more could mean having to do a remedial track for prerequisites that could make the set back involve a total of three or more years.
It is important, as you proceed, and as you reflect, to remember that each diocese and each presbyterate has its own distinct character and personality – apart from the bishop of the moment. That should be taken into account since, all else being equal, you will be part of the presbyterate for many decades – the rest of your life.
Moreover, the decision of diocesan or religious priesthood is paramount.
God bless you. I will keep you in my prayers.
PS Do you mind my asking…are you Polish? It has been years, apart from when I am with Polish confreres, since I have seen your user name. He would sign his name in many languages…but there was something very special about the signature when he signed it in Polish…just as there was an entire change when he switched from his many languages to Polish; it was then that you heard the real Wojtyła, in a singular and unique way that I will always remember.