School was never something I really liked. Is the study part of formation very hard?
You do have to study philosophy and theology if you want to become a priest. It can certainly be demanding, but if you have the will, the basic capacity, and a determination to do your very best, it can be done. Seminaries and religious institutions vary in their requirements.
What is of most importance in priestly formation is that one is finally equipped to face the pastoral challenges of being a priest today. Part of this preparation is a good academic grounding in the sacred sciences, which is necessary if a priest is to effectively teach people the truths of the gospel. Having ‘the same mind in you as Christ Jesus’ requires not only knowledge of Scripture and Tradition, of course, but also a contemplative appreciation of God’s Word. This, in fact, is more important than academic knowledge, as the example of the Curé of Ars, Jean-Marie Vianney, the patron saint of diocesan priests, attests. He struggled academically, but achieved the heights of sanctity and thus won many over to Christ.
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?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- Can I become a bishop or cardinal and not a priest?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- If I take a vow of celibacy, will I get very lonely?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- 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?
- 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?