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Corey J. Vicker wrote:

Hi, guys —

I wish to commit my life to the priesthood at 34 years of age.

I do not have any college experience nor can I afford to obtain a bachelor's degree in theology in order to enter a seminary. My life has been full of disappointments and despair for myself and my family.

I've come to understand my path has not been the right one and the word I have been spreading has only been my own, not His.

My local church has been sold off and my former Father became too old to serve the church in Maynard, Ohio. I was raised in the St Stanislaus church that used to be there. I would like to be a positive force in my community instead of adding to the weight of suffering.

Thank you for your time and consideration and reading this.



  { What do you suggest for one who wants to be a priest yet has no college or theology degree nor money? }

Mike replied:

Dear Corey,

Thanks for the question. I am sorry it took a while to get back to you.

The best advice I can give you is to make an appointment with a pastor or priest at a neighboring Catholic parish. He would be able to guide and assist your calling to the Catholic priesthood. He would also be able to research financial (and/or) educational options for you. Just make sure he is truly faithful to the Church's teaching and the Magisterium.

Due to the nuances of your particular situation, I think this would be the best way forward.

You said:
I would like to be a positive force in my community instead of adding to the weight of suffering.

I admire your attitude. There are many other ways you can do this as well. When I have talked to my nephews and niece about their vocation, I have always told them you want to look for a vocation that addresses two questions:

  1. What can you do (skill-wise) that would help the Christian community?, and
  2. What do you enjoy doing that would help the Christian community?

Just another thing you can discuss with a pastor or priest.

If my colleagues have anything to add, I'm sure they will chime in.


Andrew replied:

Hi, Corey —

On the practical side, seminary students usually take out loans to pay for their education, and the diocese usually repays the loans during the priest's years of service. This does leave a risk that the student can be left with a debt burden if he does not complete studies, or if he does not go on to ordination for some reason.  But that is the typical approach in the US.

In addition to academic study, the process of preparing candidates for the priesthood also includes a year of spiritual preparation, including some practical experiences of assisting in parish work.

If you are accepted as a seminarian at 34, your bishop may decide to send you to one of the seminaries in the US designed for older candidates, such as Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, or Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Mike's recommendation is right on target: do find a wise priest and ask for advice. The diocesan vocations director will also be a guide to the process of discernment, that is, both your own discernment and the process by which the diocese chooses candidates for the priesthood. 

God bless!


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