Seminary application process

Applying to Seminary

Assessment and Application Process

Guided by our overall diocesan goal to nurture and develop holy and well-formed priests, great care is taken to ensure a careful and thorough assessment and application process for all potential seminarian candidates. These assessment and application processes generally encompass the following:

Initial Contact and inquiry

  • Through the recommendation of a faithful priest, religious or lay person.
  • By letter, e-mail or phone call of inquiry.
  • By active participation in the annual vocations retreat or another discernment group activity.
  • An inquirer must choose of their own free will to ask for an application (one will not be offered). This should be done once they have come to the conclusion that they think the Lord may be calling them to continue to explore their vocation in the context of seminary.
  • Not everyone who asks for an application is freely given one.

Formal Interview

Once an application is asked for it is likely that a formal interview follows between the Director of the Office of Vocations and the potential candidate in which the following topics are discussed:

  • Personal health and well-being.
  • Family and employment history.
  • Religious and educational background.
  • Current service and volunteering
  • Scope of discernment of the priesthood and the diocese.

Application Process

Acceptance into the diocesan priesthood formation program requires that a candidate demonstrate emotional maturity, academic ability, personal stability and consistent growth in the practice of the faith. If, after the formal interview, the director believes the individual possesses suitable psychological, intellectual and spiritual attributes, the candidate is then invited to begin the formal application process. The general components of the application encompass the following:

  • Completed Diocese of Arlington Priestly Formation Application Form with photos
  • Minimum of 7 Letters of Reference.
  • Copies of Identification cards, driver’s license, and/or passport
  • Sacramental records and parents’ marriage records.
  • All official transcripts.
  • Medical Physical Exam (Paid for by applicant and/or their medical insurance)
  • Psychological Assessment and Evaluation with IQ testing. (Paid for by the diocese)
  • A complete F.B.I./fingerprinting and state(s) sex offender and criminal history background checks. (Paid for by the diocese)
  • Completed various Release Forms.
  • Completed Office of Child Protection Compliance
  • Participation in a one-day VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children™ Program for Adults
  • Read and Signed Universal Code of Conduct
  • Autobiography (4-10) pages.
  • Two short essays (2-4) pages.

Application Review

After the candidate submits all the information and necessary paperwork as outlined above, the Director of the Office of Vocations, after careful review and consultation with the Bishop’s Delegate for Clergy, determines if the process should continue. If his decision is favorable, the Director of the Office of Vocations then recommends the candidate to the Bishop and discusses with the Bishop a possible seminary placement. Once accepted by the diocesan Bishop the applicant then must complete the application process for the individual seminary he has been assigned to attend.

Time Frame

Individual circumstances may adjust or vary the sequence of events outlined above. Applications may be submitted at any time of year. The general necessary time frame to compile and complete all required application material is between 2-3 months. Applicants normally receive word of acceptance or non-acceptance within two months of submitting a completed application, but generally no later than the first week of July.