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?
- The idea of public speaking is very challenging to me and I avoid it if possible. How can I be a priest when I hate public speaking?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- Why do some priests wear religious clothes while others don’t?
- What’s the difference between a sister and a nun?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?
- I hear my local priest say in his homily that there’s a shortage of priests in Ireland, is there really a shortage of priests?