WHO DO I CONTACT IF I AM THINKING ABOUT THE PRIESTHOOD?
An individual who is considering the priesthood eventually must make his desire known to someone else. Logically, that someone would be the pastor or associated pastor of his parish. That in and of itself can often present a problem, as the individual may have never taken the opportunity to introduce himself to the parish priests. If that is the case, a priest or religious from a high school or some other connection could be made. However, on-going contact with the pastor is important as eventually, a letter of recommendation will be required from him.
Once that connection has been established, the individual considering the priesthood should contact their Vocation Director. Here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the full-time Vocation director is Father Christopher Martin. His office is located on the west side of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, in the Office of Vocations, which has its own entrance, separate from the main entrance to the seminary.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT KENRICK-GLENNON SEMINARY?
There are a number of opportunities available that enable a young man to get to know the seminary program and the seminarians. These programs are explained in more detail on the homepage of this website, stlvocations.org, under the heading "Events and Camps." Such opportunities include the monthly Holy Hour, the monthly gathering of high school students at the John Gabriel Society and the monthly gathering for those in college or older, Fraternity of St. John Vianney. Twice a year, the Office of Vocations sponsors a "Come and See" retreat for high school young men seeking an opportunity to visit the seminary for an extended stay. For those attending college or beyond, "The Archbishop's Retreat" is a valuable opportunity to live and pray at the seminary and includes input from the Archbishop.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GET INVOLVED?
The programs mentioned above are crucial. No Vocation Director will give an application to someone unknown. A personal meeting must take place, as the Vocation Director must eventually recommend each individual applicant to the seminary. Regular meetings with the Vocation Director are designed to provide him with some knowledge of the applicant, his abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and understanding of the priesthood. This can only happen by building a relationship. Ongoing contact through special events, along with office meetings to discuss the demands of the priesthood, is essential.
WHAT ABOUT AN APPLICATION?
Eventually the individual must request the application packet. It is typical that the Vocation Director will not ask the person to simply take the application and think about it. No, the young man must have the courage to ask for the application. Until he does, he is simply not ready. Asking for the application is a small, but important step in claiming ownership of his possible call to the priesthood.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
If an application packet has been asked for and given, the process for admittance begins. The packet contains a long list of necessary documentation, which initially can be a bit overwhelming! Some information is practical: doctor/dental/health forms/emergency forms, etc. Other information involves more personal matters: a psychological assessment, behavioral assessment and an autobiographical essay. All the information is confidential. Each individual applicant must fully complete his packet before it can be forwarded to the appropriate seminary for consideration and interviews. Once the interviews are complete the seminary staff offers a positive or negative recommendation. If positive, the recommendation proceeds to the Archbishop, who makes the final determination. Letters are sent at every step of the process informing the candidate of his progress. God willing, a letter of acceptance is received from the Archbishop. If negative, the applicant is given an explanation.
HOW LONG DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS TAKE?
A determined candidate could complete the entire packet within 3-4 months. Often the setting of appointments, writing the autobiography and arranging assessments takes more time than one realizes. Sometimes the packet is put aside and forgotten, only to be remembered weeks later. It is recommended that emergency, insurance, and background information be completed as soon as possible. Then a steady approach to tackle the additional requirements can follow. With a planned approach, the packet will soon be complete.
WHEN IS THE APPLICATION DUE?
The sooner one completes the application process the better. Again, no application will be forwarded from the Office of Vocations to the seminary until it is complete and all information is gathered. All interviews with the seminary staff need to be completed before the end of May. Thus, we ask that the entire packet be completed and in the Office of Vocations by mid-April.