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How do I Choose the Best Catholic Seminary?

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  • Written By: P.M. Willers
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Images By: Ryan Basilio, Scott Griessel, n/a, Vladischern
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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When working to enter the priesthood, there are many steps necessary to choose the best catholic seminary for you. An aspiring seminarian does not usually choose a catholic seminary independently, but instead applies as a seminarian in service to the archdiocese. If you do not currently attend mass or have a home parish, finding a suitable and supportive congregation and community may be the first step. Deciding on which seminary program will depend on factors such as location, the program's credentials, and spiritual focus.

Normally, it is necessary to first apply to be a seminarian for the archdiocese. Once a student has been accepted into the archdiocese as a seminarian, it is possible to apply to a specific seminary. Most archdiocese work with several regional seminaries, and many maintain a regular publication or website where it is possible to find information on local and regional seminaries. Educational institutions, seminaries, and the archdiocese also maintain online databases that provide contact information and websites for seminaries nationwide.

After speaking with your priest or local vocation director, it may be helpful to visit your diocese for additional help, support, and information. Each diocese has a vocations office where questions can be asked and answered. Throughout the seminary application process, guidance will be provided by the archdiocese vocations office. The entire process will be facilitated by the archdiocese vocations director. Many times your local priest or an affiliated priest will also play a role in the application process.

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Once accepted as a seminarian, there will be a discussion with the archdiocese vocation director regarding various options. Diocese seminarians work with their vocations director to select the best catholic seminary in that particular region. This process is a complex and multi-faceted discussion that could include an examination of your beliefs, devoutness, ministerial and spiritual aspirations, and prior experiences and background education. Eventually, the archbishop will assign you to the best catholic seminary for your personal situation.

Many national and international Catholic organizations host databases profiling accredited Catholic seminaries and provide information on entering the priesthood. The Catholic Religious Vocation Network produces an annual publication entitled Vision, along with the National Religious Vocation Conference. Internationally, some abbeys or monasteries invite prospective seminarians to visit their site to learn about and experience their way of life and devotion. Generally, the best and most standard path towards finding the best catholic seminary is to work closely with your priest and parish and diocese vocation offices.

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