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What is the path to the priesthood?

First slide

Each year the Arlington Diocese creates a poster with photos of diocesan seminarians. Below each face is the name, level of education, school and parish. It’s great to recognize faces from our parishes, but often people don’t fully understand the terminology. 

The graphic (below) illustrates the stages of formation for diocesan priests.

priest formation graphic

Of the 43 diocesan seminarians, 11 are studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio; 10 are at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.; 10 are at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.; three are at St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington; two are at the University of San Dámaso in Madrid; and seven are at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. In the past, seminarians have attended Theological College of Catholic University in Washington and Pope St. John XXII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., but there are none there this year. 

Seminarians might follow a college track or a major seminary track. The college track is for those who enter the seminary without a bachelor’s degree; major seminary is for those who have a degree. College track seminarians typically will study for eight years, while major seminary seminarians will study for six.

 “There are many qualities I am looking for in someone for the priesthood,” said Father J.D. Jaffe, Arlington diocesan vocations director. “God is eclectic in His call and so it is more about the whole person than any particular trait.”

 The men have the option of adding a spiritual year for prayer, reading, service and non-degree studies, or a pastoral year to broaden their experience of parish life.

 “Most of the time in vocations work, I get to meet men and women who are on fire for a relationship with Christ and His church,” said Father Jaffe. “They are asking how to pray better, how to serve God or His people more, how to take their faith more seriously, etc.”

With more than 40 men in formation, the Arlington Diocese is blessed to have so many future priests. 

Find out more
National Vocations Awareness Week is Nov. 6-12. Go to usccb.org.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016