What steps are involved in becoming a priest?
- Contact the Vocations Director of the diocese or religious congregation you’re interested in. They will outline for you the steps involved in the process.
- There is usually a period of discernment to give both you and the Vocations Director time to make sure that you’re suitable for the road ahead and compatible with the diocese or congregation.
- When it’s been decided that you are ready you can formally apply to join the diocese or congregation.
- After applying you will have several interviews to help assess that this vocation is really for you.
- If it appears to be then a psychological assessment will follow. These days this is a requirement for anyone thinking of entering the priesthood or religious life.
- If you are accepted, you will usually begin with an introductory year or two, followed by studies in philosophy and theology (either separately or as a unit). This whole process takes on average about 6 years.
- During your period of study, you will be offered pastoral experience. This could be on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year, or during the summer, or a mixture of both. For some people it could even be for a year or two in-between studies.
- During your formation years you will be accompanied by experienced guides. They will help you to grow in your vocation and personal development.
- When you and those responsible for your training (formators/Superiors/Bishop) agree that you are ready for ordination, you can begin the formal process of applying.
- If your application has been accepted you will receive what are called the ‘minor orders’ of reader, acolyte and deacon before finally being ordained to the priesthood.
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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?