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
- Why are there so many different religious organisations?
- If I become a priest, will I be living with mostly elderly men?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- How do I decide which Order would be best for me?
- I’m very attracted to women. Will this pass with time and training or will I always be tempted?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?
- At times, I find it very hard to pray. Is prayer easier when you become a priest?
- Would entering a religious community mean that I would have to sever my relationships with family and friends?
- 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?