A list of popular questions concerning priesthood in the diocese follow. If you have a particular question regarding diocesan priesthood or your own personal discernment, please contact us for further information.
What does the application process entail?
The application process as a seminarian for the Diocese of Greensburg is similar to other applications to professional programs and courses of study. It includes a personal autobiography, academic review, a series of interviews, references, psychological testing and a physical examination. The information needed for the application process is listed on an Application Control Sheet.
Who is a seminarian?
A seminarian is a man who is being sponsored by a diocese or is a member of a religious community and is discerning a vocation of priesthood. Seminarians participate in a Program for Priestly Formation. They may be assigned to a seminary or to a pastoral assignment.
Is there a minimum or maximum age for being accepted into the diocesan Priestly Formation Program?
To be accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Greensburg a person must be 18 years of age (or completed high school). While a maximum age of 51 is the norm, applications are entertained on a case-by-case basis. Men over 50 years of age have been accepted into the program for the diocese and if interested are encouraged to contact the director.
How many years of formation does it take to become a priest?
The answer varies depending upon the circumstances of the individual. The norms for the Diocese of Greensburg are:
For a seminarian who is accepted:
1. Immediately after high school graduation, formation is approximately nine years: four years of minor seminary, four years of major seminary and a yearlong pastoral internship.
2. Sometime after college graduation, whether immediately or 20 years later, formation is approximately seven years: two years of pre-theology, four years of major seminary and a yearlong pastoral internship.
Again, as the answers depend upon the circumstances of the individual, please contact us for answers to a specific circumstance.
If I believe God is calling me to be a diocesan priest, must I study for my "home diocese?"
"Home diocese" usually refers to the diocese where a person was born or currently resides. A person is free to contact and inquire into the possibility of becoming a seminarian for any diocese he wishes. However, each diocese is also free to invite or not invite an inquirer to begin the application process to become a seminarian. When a person is invited by a diocese to begin the application process he must adhere to and follow all procedures required by that diocese.
Is financial assistance available for seminary studies?
Yes, seminarians are offered financial assistance when necessary for formation and studies applicable to the priesthood. As a part of the application process, a complete overview of financial assistance is reviewed. Fiscal responsibility is also a part of the application process. Representatives from the Office for Clergy Vocations assist seminarians with the necessary paperwork for grants, loans and scholarships to minor and major seminary.
Is it a good idea to talk to my pastor or another priest before making contact with a vocations director?
While a person does not have to talk with their pastor or a priest about their thoughts concerning the priesthood, talking with a priest can help to clarify those thoughts. Talking with a priest about God's call should help in the initial discernment process and help to guide a person into a deeper relationship with Christ. A priest can also respond to a variety of questions as well as share his own personal story.
What if I have some credits in philosophy and/or theology?
When a seminarian is accepted by the diocese, his academic transcript(s) are reviewed by the vocations director. Credits of philosophy or theology, which are applicable to the Program of Priestly Formation, can be transferred. The vocations director, in conjunction with a seminary, would formulate a pre-theology program, which prepares the seminarian for acceptance into major seminary.
What if I have an undergraduate degree, but no prerequisites in philosophy or religious studies?
A seminarian who has his bachelor's degree, but little or no credits of philosophy or theology, can still be accepted by a major seminary. Due to the increasing number of second career vocations many seminaries have a pre-theology program for those who initially worked in a secular field and then responded to God's call.
The pre-theology program is a course of studies and formation programs in which a seminarian is able to earn the necessary philosophy and theology credits as well as other aspects of formation addressed at minor seminary. Pre-theology is usually a two-year program, but can be modified on a case by case basis, depending upon the seminarian’s history.
What is a seminary?
A seminary is school for academic education as well as place of spiritual formation for those who are studying for the priesthood. While a special institution is necessary to educate and form men to be priests, education and formation of our vocation happens throughout our lives.
What is a summer assignment?
A summer assignment is a formation experience for a seminarian. While college seminarians are not normally assigned to a parish or pastoral experience during the summer months, seminarians in major seminary are assigned to this type of assignment.
A summer assignment can be with a pastor in a parish or with a priest in a special ministry. The summer assignment allows the seminarian to grow in his understanding of the priesthood, diocesan church and various aspects of ministry. Summer assignments help to translate the academic and seminary formation experience into the pastoral and community life in the diocese and in the parish. The placement of these assignments are recommended by the vocations directors and approved by the bishop.
What is a pastoral internship?
In the Diocese of Greensburg seminarians are required to complete a 14-month pastoral internship between their third and fourth year of theology. This pastoral internship is a period of formation outside of the seminary and in a parish setting under the supervision of a pastor. During this internship the seminarian encounters a wide range of experiences on the levels of ministry, administration, pastoral care, community, evangelization and other components of parish and diocesan life.
Since the internship spans a full year, the workings of parish life are seen at a deeper level. Within these experiences there are opportunities for spiritual reflection, pastoral supervision, and evaluation and ministry collaboration. The pastoral internship is an important component of the formation process. It allows the seminarian to continue developing an understanding of the priesthood and relationship between a priest, his bishop and the faithful within the context of parish ministry.