Frequently Asked Questions
Men who feel called to the Priesthood often experience persistent thoughts or desires toward Priesthood. These thoughts or desires are placed by God deep in the hearts of men. These thoughts or desires may not always be clear, however. This is where prayer and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and Reconciliation, are of utmost importance. We need prayer and the sacraments in order to assist us in the endeavor to hear God's call more clearly.
It is also very important to talk with someone who is well versed in these matters of the heart and God's unique call to each individual. A Priest, whose love for and fidelity to the Church are apparent, can be an invaluable guide in your discernment. The Diocesan Vocation Director is just such a Priest. He is one who deals with these matters daily and who is entrusted by the Bishop to assist men in discerning the Priesthood.
Studying to become a priest can take between six to eight years. It depends on the amount of education you have upon entering the seminary. For a young man coming out of high school it is an eight year journey. He would spend four years at a minor seminary while earning a bachelors degree in philosophy and then would be sent to a major seminary for four years while studying theology. For someone who already has a college degree, it is a six year journey. He would spend two years studying philosophy before being sent to a major seminary to study theology for four years.
Roman Catholic parishes are always part of a local diocese, but the parish priest can be either diocesan or religious. The diocesan priest makes a promise of chastity and obedience; he is under the authority of the local bishop.The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph serves over 140,000 Catholics living in the 27 counties in Northwest Missouri.
Different from a diocesan priest, a religious order priest belongs to a specific congregation or community (i.e., Jesuits, Benedictines, Franciscans, etc.) that is bound together by a common mission. The religious order priest takes a vow of poverty and does not own items individually. His service to the Church may extend beyond the diocese: he can expect to be sent anywhere in the world where his community is working. Most often, religious order priests specialize in a certain type of ministry, such as youth evangelization, education, social services, health care, or foreign missions.
Being a part of a diocese or an order is like being part of a family. The men are like brothers to each other and usually turn out to be best friends.
Fr. Adam Johnson