Steps in Becoming a Priest


#1

After you join the seminary what are the steps to become priest the whole way thorugh the Rite of Ordination?


#2

This depends on many things.

The “ordinary” course, for someone entering seminary out of high school and studying for a diocese:
4 years in a College Seminary (or minor seminary) studying philosophy.
4 Years in a a Graduate Seminary (major seminary) studying theology.
During theology, you would receive the ministry of lector, and then the ministry of acolyte.
After that you would become a candidate for orders.
You would usually be ordained a transitional deacon at the end of your third year of theology.
Ordination to the priesthood is usually at the end of 4th Theology.

During these eight years, different dioceses and seminaries have different requirements. They may require you to spend your summers working in parishes, learning a foreign language, or interning as a hospital chaplain. You would need to contact the Vocations office in your diocese to learn more. They probably have a website with contact information.

Now, if you are discerning a call to a religious order, you would need to contact the specific order, because each one has slightly different requirements for entrance.

I hope this is helpful and I will pray that God will guide you in the discernment of your vocation and give you the courage to carry out His will.

God Bless,
Fr. Bryan


#3

That was very helpful, thank you.


#4

If I may add to what Fr. Bryan has said, some diocese or seminaries do add extra formation which could extend the time between entry and ordination.

At the seminary I’ll be starting at this fall (St. Joseph’s in Edmonton) they have a spiritual year between the philosophy and theology, and there is also a dedicated pastoral year done sometime during the theology studies. I believe it’s a 9 year process there now: 4 years philosophy, 3 year theology (it’s a regular 4 year degree compressed into 3 using summers I believe), 1 spiritual year, and 1 pastoral year.


#5

Thank you both for psoting again and i have talked to a priest at the local seminaryabout a couple of questions. Would you consider it wiser to join the seminaryout of high school (8years) or to go to college first and obtain a degree such as accounting (4years of college plus six years at the seminary)


#6

[quote="Irish_13, post:5, topic:291410"]
Thank you both for psoting again and i have talked to a priest at the local seminaryabout a couple of questions. Would you consider it wiser to join the seminaryout of high school (8years) or to go to college first and obtain a degree such as accounting (4years of college plus six years at the seminary)

[/quote]

That's something you should discuss between yourself, your spiritual director (and if you don't have one of those - get one) and the vocations director.

Generally speaking, there are supporting opinions in favour of both. Joining the seminary early can get you more years of formal formation.

On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that those who do enter the seminary after high school can lack some real world experiences that those coming in with a degree can already possess (such as things you won't learn at a seminary - such as accounting, or in my own case engineering). I know that sometimes people will object to this out of fear someone may "lose" their vocation, but I think that if someone does have an authentic vocation to priesthood it will still be there and someone will still feel it in 4 years.

My other thought is in terms of practicality and backup plans. Not everyone who is called to enter the seminary will be ordained, that's a fact. If someone were to enter the seminary out of high school and later discern out, the experience will be good but they will (practically speaking) be left with just a partial or (possibly full) philosophy degree. Philosophy degrees aren't that useful unless you want to go on to theology or become a professor. My own feeling is that this reality can inhibit the discernment of a man and possibly cause them to continue in seminary even if it becomes obvious to them that they are not called to the priesthood (the last thing we really want is unhappy priests who felt they were trapped in and forced) because they are unsure of what to do next.

If someone enters the seminary with a degree in something they were personally interested in (business, science, engineering, education, whatever it may be), then there is less personal pressure on that man to go through to completion, and if he does it is almost guaranteed to be his own free, personal choice. And that is because they know they could have done something else (and maybe they did succeed in something else), but still chose in favour of priesthood. It also means that if they discern that they are not called, they still have that first degree and they know they can continue in whatever field it was in (they are more free to discern out, if that is where they are called, because they do not need to be as stressed about their future).

That's just my own personal opinion though, others may give theirs too.


#7

Curlycool89, gave a very good summary of the situation, but I can't help but add my two cents.

I entered seminary straight out of high school and did the full 8 year program. There are some benefits of doing things this way. The course of studies and formation, at least at my seminaries, were geared to progress in a logical fashion. This helped me to understand by progressing from introduction to philosophy, to studying the ancients, to the medievals, etc. When you go to a secular college first, they usually condense the 4 years of philosophy to 2 and pack the courses in however they can.

But, as curlycool89 said, this is a decision that should be made with your vocations director; especially since different bishops have different preferences.

God Bless.


#8

Okay thank you again for answering. If you don’t have enough money to pay for the first four years (my local seminary in pittburgh is free buut the first four years aren’t) what aer some options to find the money for the education? (I am unsure if i should ask this question in this thread or start another thread?)


#9

[quote="Irish_13, post:8, topic:291410"]
Okay thank you again for answering. If you don't have enough money to pay for the first four years (my local seminary in pittburgh is free buut the first four years aren't) what aer some options to find the money for the education? (I am unsure if i should ask this question in this thread or start another thread?)

[/quote]

Ask the vocations director, some diocese have structures in place for such a situation.

Another place to look is the Knights of Columbus. The Knights are big in supporting vocations, especially priesthood.


#10

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