What are the steps to becoming a priest?

After asking God to help you know your vocation and helping you to find the one He has invited you into, and then listening to God as He answers you through other people, personal signs, your thoughts, and your prayer life, eventually you have to speak to someone about this inner desire you have. You will set up an appointment with the vocation director of the diocese. The vocation director will help you through the process to become a seminarian for the diocese: that means apply to be a seminarian for the diocese and then apply to the seminary in which you are to attend. You attend seminary to ask God the question, “what are you asking me to do with my life? I am open to priesthood.” If you are asked to come back to seminary the following year and you agree, then you continue on. At any point along the way, you can choose to leave or the seminary can ask you to leave or the Diocese can ask you to leave. If you are asked to leave, then you know you are not called to priesthood. If you have a concrete solid plan of where you believe the Lord is leading you after seminary, there is a good chance you have listened to God and left because he was inviting you to leave. It is true, a person can leave seminary and that is not God’s plan, but God will allow him to leave anyway. God is not going to force himself on the person. A person who leaves and still has no idea what he is to do with his life probably should have stayed in seminary longer. But, again, his choice to leave and God and the Church respects that.

What do you need to do to become a Priest and how long does it take to become a priest?

To become a priest, you need to enter seminary and to really know if God, through his Church is calling you to the priesthood. And, you have to have the desire to do what God is asking you to do. While the man is in seminary, all of the signs can be there that he is called to the priesthood, and the man can still walk away; he has to agree to God’s plan since it is a relationship. God is not going to force us into relationship with him. To know if one should enter the seminary, ask yourself these questions: Do you get along with your peers? Do your peers and those in authority over you respect you and believe you are mature and kind for your age Are you open to prayer and find meaning in prayer? Are you willing to share your gifts and talents with others (or are they for your own selfish gain)? Are you reasonably healthy? Can you do college academics? If you say “yes” to these questions, then you are probably called to explore seminary.

How long do you have to study to be a Priest?

You can enter seminary when you graduate 8th grade: 4 years of high school seminary, 4 years of college seminary, 4 years of theology school. It would take the freshman in high school 12 years of seminary school. You can enter seminary when you graduate high school: 4 years of seminary college; 4 years of theology school. It will take the person who graduated high school, received an associate’s degree or went to a trade school 8 years. You can transfer out of any college outside of a college seminary into a college seminary. The seminary college will want you there for no less than 2 years so it is 2 years after transferring at the seminary college and 4 years of theology school. You can finish an associate degree or a trade school, and then begin 4 years of college seminary and 4 years of theology school. You can finish a 4 year college, a Master’s degree or get a doctorate degree then it is 2 years of college seminary to get a pre-theology degree (its not the same as getting a degree from a college seminary, but it happens at college seminary) and then four years of theology school. The shortest time to be in seminary is 6 years no matter your age or how much school you had prior to entering. In theology school, one studies to get his master’s degree.

What classes should I take to become a priest?

All classes that will challenge you while in high school will be good for you. One needs to have good reading comprehension and good writing skills to achieve in seminary college. The student who goes to seminary for college will not be able to graduate in less than four years, so taking a semester or year worth of dual credit courses will not get one through college quicker. If a person can handle college academics, a person can handle seminary college.

What classes do you take to be a priest?

You have a well-rounded college education (called a liberal arts degree) focusing on many college credits of philosophy. Philosophy is the study of how people think. Also, many credit hours of theology, the study of God. Once a seminarian goes to theology school, he studies more theology. By the time he is a priest, he should be able to defend the faith very well, which does not mean he is able to simply say what the Catholic Church wants him to say, but to talk about what he believes which happens to be what the Catholic Church teaches.

Where do you go to become a priest?

The school is called a seminary. Right out of high school it is called a college seminary. Once a person is finished with college seminary, he goes to theology school. That is a 4 year master’s degree program which is still a seminary.

Who teaches you to be a priest?

Married or single people can go to college or university and get a Masters Degree or PhD in theology. Then, they can teach seminarians to be priests. Other priests can also teach us as well as religious sisters or brothers. While I was in seminary, I had people from every vocation teach me.

Is there a dress code where you go to study to be a priest?

Yes. The seminary can tell the men when to dress in suit and tie. They can tell them what it means to be in school uniform and what the uniform is. They can tell them what informal clothing means. And, they tell them about their style of hair, facial hair, and can make rules about jewelry, tattoos, and implants. The diocese have rules for seminarians and priests about these same topics when the seminarian is not in seminary and once the man is ordained a priest. The reason? “Don’t be an embarrassment to yourself or to the diocese.”

What is it like going to seminary?

First, they go to class like every other college student: take notes, write papers, study for and pass quizzes and tests, and get grades. This is called intellectual formation. Second, the seminarian gets to know himself very well. He learns his strengths and limitations, he learns all there is to know about himself. In order for him to do this, he has to let others get to know him very well. This is so that the other person(s) can tell him if he is seeing himself correctly or if there are things about himself he is not understanding yet. This is called human formation. Third, the seminarian learns the importance of prayer in his life and spends a lot of time praying several different ways. He attends daily mass with the other seminarians in the community, and prays Morning and Evening Prayer in common. Usually there are other prayer styles that are prayed in common (together with everyone in the community) such as a Holy Hour, Liturgy of the Hour, Rosary, etc. And, he learns the importance of spiritual reading and personal prayer time with the Lord. He is talking about all of this with a person called his Spiritual Director. The Spiritual director and the seminarian’s personal one-on-one conversations are completely confidential. This is called spiritual formation. Fourth, he learns how to minister to different groups of people that a priest works with on a regular basis: working side by side a priest in the parish, working with confirmation groups, youth groups, visiting with people in nursing homes, prisons, jails, hospitals, etc. This is called pastoral formation. He also has to treat his body as a temple of the Holy Spirit watching what he eats and drinks and making sure he has a regular exercise program. Beyond that, he also has recreation time with his friends where he develops his hobbies, skills, talents, and enjoys life with those around him doing what it is he likes to do.

What is it like to go to a high school seminary?

I know many people who have gone to a high school seminary. I personally did not attend one. What they tell me is that they make very close life long friends with the people they go to school with. This makes complete sense since they are living with these guys as brothers in the same house. What is most important to a high school seminarian, though he has a lot of creative fun, organized fun, studies, plays all sorts of sports, joins all sorts of clubs and teams is his relationship with God and his Church. Everything else that happens in a high-schoolers life also happens for the high school seminarian, but his focus is clearly defined and knows where he is headed and that His relationship with God is very important to him. I have also been told by parents of high school seminarians and the man himself that his conversations and relationships with his family (parents and siblings) are meaningful, deep and personal. This makes sense too because when you are all under the same roof, each can assume they know what is going on with the others in the house, even if in reality they have no idea. When a 14-18 year old is not living at home, the conversations are very personal and a lot is said from both the parents, siblings and the seminarian not at home. There is a great maturing that takes place because at 14 the person is not under the same roof as his parents. He learns to do things for himself and learns to take care of himself while at the same time relying on many people to form community, friendship and knows how to give of himself to others. I have never met a high school seminarian graduate who was bored in high school and to this day does not know what it means to be bored.

What is it like to be head of a seminary?

I have never been head of a seminary. The title for that priest is “Rector.” You have heard me say that when I was in seminary, I was told it is the same skills, talents, abilities to be a good husband and dad as it is to be a priest. The rector of a high school seminary is the Father – Figure for high school boys. The rector of a college seminary is the Father – Figure for the college men. And, at the theology level, for those 22-26 or whatever age the men are. Keep in mind, of course, to be a good father – figure the Rector has to act appropriately according to the men he has at the seminary. Along with being a good Father-Figure, he is answerable to a lot of people: Bishops who send their students there, the section of the Church who is responsible for overseeing the operations of a seminary, the vocation directors and directors of seminarians who give council to the bishop regarding seminarians and seminary formation. Also, he has to keep well trained highly qualified professors and formators on his staff and make the decision of the direction the seminary is going to head in. He is in charge of making sure the budget for the seminary is reached and maintained. So, he is Father-Figure with a big family.