Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be absolutely positive that I want to be a priest before I enter seminary?

NO, that's what the seminary is for! Through the prayer, formation, and education you will realize and respond to God's call to service in the Catholic Church. If you are thinking priesthood is a possibility for you, then the seminary is worth looking into as a way to make an informed decision.

What kind of programs or retreats are available to help me consider priesthood?

This depends on where you are in school:

  • If you are in middle school, take look for our CYE middle school day and other events we are planning.

           Go to Camp Tekawitha in the summer

  • If you are at least a high school junior, come to a St. Andrew Dinner with Bishop Ricken.
  • If you are in college or older, check out the Catholic Men's Retreat (January) or the Catholic Men's Discernment Group.
  • If you have a college degree, consider a visit to Mundelein seminary
  • Perhaps you would be interested in living with other men considering the priesthood at Xavier House.

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Just what is a seminary?

It is a place of prayer, education and formation for men considering priesthood.

  • There is daily Mass and prayer.
  • There are classes in philosophy, theology, scripture, Church history, sacraments and more.
  • There are retreats, formation conferences, and spiritual direction. The retreats help you to set aside time to pray and to listen to God. The formation conferences help you to consider different aspects of priesthood. A spiritual director helps you individually to discuss and reflect on whether priesthood is for you.

Consider a visit to the seminary!

What if I go to the seminary and then decide part way through that priesthood is not for me?

Then you transfer out of the seminary and continue your education or begin employment. Your credits will transfer to other universities. Most men that leave the seminary because they realize priesthood is not for them, are grateful for the time they spent in seminary.

Do my credits transfer?

YES. You can transfer credits into and out of the seminary. College seminarians study at the University of St. Thomas and credits transfer the same as other colleges, or you could continue as a student at St. Thomas and not live at the seminary.

How long does it take to become a diocesan priest?

If you are just out of high school, it will take 8 years (4 years college and 4 years of theology school). If you already have a college degree, then it will take 6 years (2 years of Pre-theology and 4 years of theology).

What if I already have a college degree but didn't go to a college seminary?

You would enter pre-theology. This is a year long program specifically designed for men that already have college degrees. There are a growing number of men coming int the seminary with degrees in many different areas and some years of work experience.

How old do you have to be before you enter the seminary?

There is no certain age to start preparing for the priesthood. Some people go to high school seminaries, others enter the seminary after high school, after college, or after they have been working for years.

How can I afford all that education?

For theology students, the diocese pays for room, board, tuition, books, and health insurance. Loans and grants are also available. For college students, financial aid and scholarships are available. No person will be dropped because he cannot afford it.

What vows do diocesan priests make?

Diocesan priests make no vows. At ordination, they freely make the promises of celibacy, prayer, and obedience to their bishop.

What is the difference between a diocesan priest and a religious order priest?

A diocesan priest ordinarily serves the church within a well-defined area (a diocese). He serves the people as a parish priest, but may also be involved in campus ministry, hospitals, prisons, and so on. A religious order priest, on the other hand, is a member of a religious order community which goes beyond the geographical limits of any diocese and focuses on a particular ministry such as running schools, missions or hospitals.

I have so many other questions. Where do I start?

Start by praying. Then make a list and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Fr. Mleziva.