Potential candidates have many common questions and concerns.
Many men have experienced a calling to priesthood, but for various reasons, were unable to pursue it. Then, years later, they hear the call stronger than ever. Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary is a theological institution uniquely dedicated to the preparation of seminarians over the age of 30 responding to a call to priestly ministry. Since 1964 our Seminary has been acclaimed for offering quality formation specifically suited for the adult learner. Currently, our 700+ alumni serve throughout the world.
Many men have questions about the discernment process. These often include:
“Am I too old to be accepted into a Seminary program?”
The answer is no! We believe that mature men make some of the best priests as they possess a wealth of life experiences. As a “second career” Seminary, the general range for acceptance is 30 to 60 years of age. Please note that many dioceses and religious communities have age limit requirements.
“I was married. Now I am a widower. Am I still eligible for consideration?”
Yes. Many of our mature candidates have been married - and some have grown children and grandchildren.
“I was married and am now divorced. Can I be a priest?”
Yes. An annulment will be required if your spouse is living.
“What type of educational background is required?”
The expectation is that an applicant will have obtained an undergraduate degree. Any exceptions to this degree requirement will be in accordance with Association of Theological Schools standards. Typical candidates will be enrolled in our 4 year Masters of Divinity program. Candidates who do not have the prerequisite courses in philosophy may take an additional 1-2 years of pre-theology.
“I haven’t been in school for years. Will I struggle with the academics?”
Pope St. John’s academic curriculum is based on over 50 years of teaching the adult learner. Our professors excel in understanding the individual needs and varied backgrounds of our seminarians. They work with each seminarian to insure that they feel comfortable with their course load.
“Who will pay for my seminary education?”
In most cases the sponsoring diocese or religious community pays the tuition and room & board. Every diocese is different as to what they will pay for. Pope St. John has many students that use the GI Bill® to cover a portion of the costs. Financial aid is available to those who may be responsible for the costs.
"Gi Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill."
“How do I start the admissions process?”
Collaboration between the sponsoring diocese or religious community and Pope St. John XXIII Seminary is an integral part of the admissions process. Candidates apply for admission to Pope St. John XXIII Seminary under the sponsorship of a diocese or religious order. Your local pastor is a great source of information. He can point you in the right direction as to who to speak to in your diocese. Your diocese website is a great source of information on how to contact the Vocation Director and to learn how their vocations process works.
Some dioceses do not accept older candidates. As you can see by the map of Dioceses Served, many do! https://www.psjs.edu/dioceses-served
Does the Seminary have a policy for transfer of credits from another institution?
Please refer to the PDF entitled Transfer of Credit for your answer.
"I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I study at Pope St. John XXIII?"
Yes. We will work with you to obtain a F-1 visa. F visas are a type of non-immigrant student visa that allows foreigners to pursue education (academic studies and/or language training programs) in the United States. F-1 students must maintain a full course of study. Please refer to https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students for additional information.
Formal Application Process
Contact the Recruitment and Discernment division of the Rector’s Office at email@example.com for more information or complete the Request More Information Form for Discerners.