A man who thinks God might be calling him to be a priest should go to the seminary. Often however, major misconceptions prevent a man from applying at all.
First, men often think that going to seminary is a commitment to becoming a priest. Nothing could be further from the truth! Seminary is just another stage of discernment, albeit an important stage. Second, many people still think that seminaries are like large, cold monasteries where people walk around in silence. This is neither a correct characterization of a monastery nor a seminary!
Actually, seminaries today are very much like universities. The aim of the seminary is the formation of body, mind, and soul. To this end, seminarians take classes in Catholic theology, Sacred Scripture, Church history, pastoral counseling, and other subjects. There are also opportunities for sports and recreation. Most importantly, the seminarian is expected to pray. He is taught how to pray liturgically and privately. In short, he is taught how to accomplish his life’s work: to become like Jesus!
Don’t be afraid to give seminary a try. It’s not only the best education the Church offers, but also a place to grow closer to God as you find your true vocation.
What is daily life like for a typical seminarian? In a word: busy. Because the demands of priesthood are so great, formation of future priests is extremely rigorous. In addition to master’s-level academics, seminarians pray together at least twice a day, go to daily Mass, meet with their spiritual directors, and go to pastoral assignments at local parishes. Plus there are special meetings and workshops. This leaves enough time for meals, homework, and recreation, but not much else. From a lay perspective, you could compare seminary to having a full-time job and getting a master’s degree at the same time.
Being a priest is not a job: it is the taking on of a new identity; it is becoming alter Christus, another Christ. To this end, the Church requires rigorous formation in four key areas:
A man who wishes to go to seminary must be accepted by the Bishop as a seminarian. For this to happen, the man first must become familiar to the Vocation Director. He must also complete an application, undergo psychological testing and background checks, and be interviewed by our Vocations Board. It is a fairly involved process, but it can actually be a very enriching part of a man’s self-discovery and journey toward priesthood.