Who Is a Priest?
A priest is first and foremost a man of prayer. A priest is a man ordained by God through the Church to lead the People of God in worship and to administer sacraments – the main vehicles of God’s grace. The summit of the priest’s vocation is acting in the person of Christ when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice to God. Through the sacred power given to them at ordination, priests also forgive sins in the sacrament of confession, incorporate new members into the Body of Christ through baptism, and bring God’s grace to people at all other stages of their lives, including marriage and on their deathbeds.
What Is a Seminarian?
When a man discerns a possible vocation to the priesthood, he can’t just go to the cathedral that same day and get ordained by the bishop. The priesthood is a lifelong commitment. While it is beautiful and fulfilling, it comes with many challenges. A man must first spend several years in seminary, which is a place of spiritual, intellectual, human, and pastoral preparation for the many duties of the priestly life. A seminarian pursues a course of studies (with a focus on theology), follows a rigorous prayer and Mass schedule, and forges brotherly bonds with his fellow seminarians.
How Do I Become a Seminarian?
The basic requirements for becoming a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Washington include (but are not limited to)
- strong faith, fidelity to the Church, and a life of virtue
- having lived in the D.C. area for at least a year (for foreign-born applicants: three years in the United States, one in the D.C. area)
- a high school diploma or GED (or a college degree for the theology program)
- good physical and mental health certified by health care professionals
Why Are Priests Celibate?
Priests live celibate lives to more closely imitate Jesus and to give themselves to the Church with an undivided heart. Celibacy doesn’t do away with a priest’s sexuality, but transforms it by raising it up to a higher form of love whereby the priest —again, in imitation of Christ— loves the Church with a spousal love and gives his all so that the People of God can be sanctified and led safely to their heavenly home.
A diocesan priest does not make the solemn vows that religious priests make.
Our priests normally get one day off each week and also vacation time.
The overwhelming majority of priests would say yes! There is nothing as fulfilling as giving oneself fully to God and His Church.
It depends. There will usually always be Mass and prayer. The priest uses the rest of the time for everything from spiritual direction to meetings to sacramental preparation.
Yes, diocesan priests receive a modest salary and are ordinarily provided with room and board.
Yes! Prayer gives priests the necessary grace to meet their daily challenges.
Christ didn’t give the Church the authority to ordain women. The priesthood is a participation in the spiritual fatherhood of God and Christ’s spousal love for His Bride, the Church.
Yes and no. The priest makes a promise to obey his bishop, but there is also plenty of room for creativity in the priest’s ministry.