There are four main areas of study and development in preparing for the priesthood: human, spiritual, pastoral (the ability to minister) and intellectual. Philosophy, theology, prayer, and life in community are all parts of study and formation.
Yes, but seminary is more than just studies. It is about forming the whole person according to the mind and heart of Jesus and his Church.
No, but you have to have the intellectual capacity to complete graduate level courses.
After completing high school, it is eight years. If a candidate has a bachelor’s degree, it is seven.
It is a balance of prayer, study, formation, and community life, which includes leisure and recreation. Weekends are typically spent in the parish, learning from priests and parishioners.
Possibly, but not necessarily. A man must pray, listening with both heart and soul to know what God wants him to do. But if you feel some attraction at this point, continue to pray, go to Mass and live a Christian life. Jesus will let you know when the time comes. Talk with your parish priest and with the vocation director. Come to retreats and discernment events. The vocation director can help you determine if God is calling you to the priesthood.
No. Jesus shows us one step at a time. If you come to seminary, you will know more clearly what to do next, but it is always taken one year at a time.
If you are accepted as a candidate for the Archdiocese of Chicago, we will help you. Finances will not be an obstacle to following God’s will.
Jesus chose to live a celibate life, and he gives the gift of celibacy to those he calls to the priesthood. We strive to be conformed to Jesus, totally consecrated to him and to his Church, so that our witness and our ministry can be wholehearted.
The seminary is like an engagement period for a couple: you do not date others if you desire to create a true relationship. Likewise, to truly prepare for and discern the calling to priesthood in the seminary, you should not be dating.
No, but you must now be in the process of embracing chastity. St. Augustine led a wild life as a young man, which he renounced when he decided to live a fully Catholic life.
If you ask God, He gives abundant graces to live a chaste life. You, of course, must respond to those graces by using them to make chaste choices. As you grow in chastity, as it becomes a habit of your life, you will experience a strengthening, and an ease in being and remaining chaste. Celibacy is a serious undertaking that must be at the forefront of your discernment; it is not for everyone, but it is possible for those who are called.
When a man reaches a certain point in his discernment, if he wants to discover if priesthood is his true vocation, he has to go to seminary. It should be stressed that entering seminary is a stage of discernment, not a decision to definitely become a priest.
Many men find the application process to be a healthy exercise in self-knowledge and a helpful part of overall discernment.
To take the first steps, contact:
Fr. Timothy Monahan