How to Become a Catholic Priest Online

Dec 19, 2019

This article details the steps and requirements needed to become an ordained Catholic priest. Additionally, some specific duties for this vocation will be outlined.

Information about Catholic Priests

Catholic priests are responsible for being the religious mentor for their parish and are in charge of being a guide and spreading the word of the Bible. They perform different religious ceremonies throughout their career such as baptisms, marriages, funerals, and every Sunday mass. The Catholic church only accepts men to become priests. Men wishing to become a Catholic priest will find that some of the steps to do so are able to be completed online.

Required Skills Public speaking, self-reflection, public relations, guidance and counseling, meditation and focus
Job Growth for Clergy Nationwide* 4-6% growth (2018-2028)
Average Salary for Clergy Nationwide* $48,990 (2018)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Catholic Priest Online

The process of becoming a Catholic priest is fairly straightforward, although it does take several years. All individuals looking to become a Catholic priest need to complete the following steps, half of which can be completed online.

Step One: Complete the Undergraduate Education Requirement

Those looking to become a priest are often required to attend a seminary, a higher education university that is focused on teaching religious topics. Although there are some seminaries that offer bachelor's degree programs, most just offer master's or doctorate programs. Typically, seminaries require applicants to have already earned a bachelor's degree. Depending on the seminary, an additional requirement for the undergraduate degree could be that the bachelor's degree is related to philosophy, religion, history, or another similar topic. Those interested in pursuing a seminary degree can easily complete their undergraduate degree online, at one of the many colleges that offers degrees in fully online formats.

Step Two: Attend to All Spiritual Requirements

In order to become a Catholic priest, there are specific requirements that are related to the lifestyle of the candidate. The candidate needs to have been baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church and have two years of active participation within his local church. Further requirements include not being married at the time of application and having no dependents.

Step Three: Complete a Seminary Program

After completing the bachelor's degree requirement and ensuring spiritual components are in order, the candidate can then apply to and enter a seminary. Some seminaries require a referral from a priest or bishop while others have additional requirements such as a background check and a financial report. These can be researched further online, as each school's requirements vary. There are many seminary programs available for completion online, although some may require in-person internships.

Step Four: Work as a Deacon and Apply for Priesthood

Upon completion of a seminary degree, the interested party should become a deacon at his Catholic church. While in this position, he should learn more about the role and how to reflect on whether being a priest is truly his calling. The deacon will help the priests at the church with religious ceremonies and guiding the parish. When the deacon has completed the required amount of time in this position, often around a year, he may undergo another ceremony to be ordained as a priest. This is also done in person.

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