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?
- What is a deacon and how is it different than a priest?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- If I become a priest can I decide where I go and what I do?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- If I take a vow of celibacy, will I get very lonely?
- As a priest if I decide that I no longer want to do something, such as work in a specific parish, do I have any say or is it all out of my hands?