1. What is a diocesan priest?
A diocesan priest can best be described as a PARISH PRIEST. Diocesan priests also serve in a variety of other capacities such as campus ministers, teachers or chaplains for hospitals, or prisons, but basically they are the priest who minister to the day-to-day needs of people in parishes. He is called a Diocesan priest because he commits himself to the service of God’s people within a definite geographical area called a diocese. A diocesan priest can expect to minister somewhere within the various counties which make up the Diocese.
2. Why would someone become a priest?
Everyone looks for meaning and fulfillment in life. Many people serve God and find meaning and joy in the vocation of marriage. Others follow Him in the single state or religious life but some men feel called to a different kind of service to the Lord’s Priesthood in a special way of serving the Catholic Community as its leader in prayer and worship and service.
3. What do priests do?
The ministry of a priest will depend somewhat upon his particular interests and skills. A diocesan (or parish) priest spends much of his time in preparation for and in the celebration of the sacraments (Eucharist, Penance, Baptism, Marriage, Annointing of the Sick, etc). Each day some time is set aside for personal, private prayer. Visiting the sick, visiting people in their homes and working with the various parish and neighborhood organizations are all part of his ministry. The parish priest must also be available to people when they have special needs. He is frequently involved in individual counseling, (marriage problems, parent-teenager problems, drug problems, or just life in general). Like anyone else, a priest must also find some time for rest and relaxation when he can do things he enjoys.
4. Who qualifies to become a priest?
A single man with average intelligence, emotional stability and sincere interest may qualify for the priesthood. He must have an interest in people and in trying to make the world a better place through priestly ministry. He should also be a person who is generous and looking for the challenge that comes with following the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.
5. How long does it take to become a priest?
For a man considering the possibility of priesthood he must have four years of high school, four years of college, one year of spirituality and four years of graduate study (Theology) and then be called by the Bishop to Ordination. You might feel that this is a long period of time but when preparing for any other profession (doctor, lawyer) it also takes a long time. A man must be fully prepared to minister to the people of the Church.
6. Are there programs available for an older man considering the possibility of becoming a priest?
If you are a man older than college age and are considering the priesthood then you should contact the Diocesan Vocation Director. Most dioceses have programs for older men who are seriously reflecting upon the Lord’s call to priesthood.
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