When a man reaches a certain point in his discernment, if he wants to discover if priesthood is his true vocation, he has to go to seminary. It should be stressed that entering seminary is a stage of discernment, not a decision to definitely become priest.
Steps on the Journey:
1. Contact the Vocation Director.
Discernment always happens with the help of the Church. The diocese needs to get to know you better before offering you a seminary application.
2. The Application Process.
Applying to become a seminarian is a bit like applying to college, but with additional screening components such as background checks and medical and psychological screening.
3. Meeting with the Bishop.
After a personal interview and a careful review of your file, Bishop Dewane makes the final decision on whether an applicant is accepted. If accepted, the applicant is accepted as a seminarian and then sent to study at one of the various seminaries that the Diocese of Venice uses.
Seminary can last from 4-8 years, depending on the level of education that the applicant has prior to joining as a seminarian. Along the way, the seminarian receives training in the "Four Pillars of Formation:" spiritual, human, academic, and pastoral aspects of his life as a future priest. Each year, he is evaluated by the priest faculty and professors at the seminary. After he successfully passes these evaluations, he is promoted to the next stage of priestly formation.
5. Receiving Ministries and Holy Orders
Throughout his seminary journey, the seminarian completes certain steps along the way, such as receiving candidacy, and the ministries of lector and acolyte. These occur in Major Seminary, when one is studying theology. Typically, after the seminarian has completed a year-long parish internship, called a "Pastoral Year," and begins his last year in Major Seminary, the seminarian will be ordained a Transitional Deacon. This is the last step prior to his ordination as a Priest!
Many men find the application process to be a healthy exercise in self-knowledge and a helpful part of overall discernment. To take the first steps, please contact us!