How long does it take to become a priest?
It usually takes six or seven years to become a priest. This includes a spiritual year (or two), then the study of philosophy and theology, which takes a minimum of five to six years. There may also be a year of pastoral experience.
What is most important is that the person is mature enough at a human and a spiritual level to take on the responsibilities which come with being a priest. It’s normally up to the people in charge of priestly formation to judge when a person is ready to be ordained.
Other factors which could make a difference to the amount of time spent in training include prior academic qualifications and the person’s own readiness to be ordained. Particular dioceses or religious congregations may have other specific requirements.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Do religious communities offer a trial period?
- Why would anybody become a priest nowadays?
- I’m very attracted to women. Will this pass with time and training or will I always be tempted?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?