At what age should one enter seminary?

Can I enter seminary directly after high school? Can I enter quite old, after a long professional experience?

The question of the age for entering the seminary depends on one’s personal journey, and there is no “ideal” age. The first criterium is, evidently, the will of God. Does he want me to become a priest? In that case, there is no need to hesitate.

However, some objective circumstances have to be considered.

All the seminarians have an individual journey.

1 Enter after high school?

For those very young who want to enter seminary after high school: the desire to be a priest and to leave everything in order to follow Christ is often very strong. Wanting to give one’s life for the others does not admit of any human restraint. Why wait if it is the will of God? In this case, it is important to discuss the process with the one responsible for the seminary or with a spiritual director. Sometimes, it might be preferable to acquire more human “thickness”, before entering.

2 Finish one’s studies?

Others have begun studying before thinking about the priesthood. So what to do then? Finishing the studies and obtaining a diploma gives indeed a certain security, in the case that one does not stay at the seminary. But the decision to delay the entry to the seminary has to be carefully discerned, in prayer and in spiritual direction. More than being a “security”, it is demanding and risks shaking the decision to become a priest.

3 A late calling?

Some discern the call to the priesthood in a later manner. After the demand to answer to God’s call, by the changing of one’s life and situation, by “renouncing oneself”, a second demand appears: accept to follow a formation at the seminary during some years, often with those younger than oneself. It is there question of letting oneself be formed by means of prayer, studies, and the community life. It is without doubt more difficult for a person already having lived in full independence than for the younger.

The three cases exist at the seminary. With grace, everything is possible!

Basically, no matter what situation we come from, the life at the seminary is, for each one, woven of joys and pains, of progress and difficulties.

Whatever their situation is – everyone walk toward the same goal.