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 - This can start as simply as asking a priest at your parish to give you some tips for developing your prayer life. As you grow closer to God, you may sense a call to offer more of yourself to Him, "Who did you create me to be Lord?" Sometimes a conversation can become an invitation, to pursue more deeply, attend a discernment event, bring it up with a priest, a trusted friend, or the vocations director. If you begin to feel a sense that God is calling you to be a priest, bring that up with a priest you know, or contact the Vocations Director directly to speak with him.

Once your discernment has reached the point of feeling a call to continue exploring your vocation in the context of seminary, ask the Vocations Director for an application to seminary. He will help you discern if this is the right moment for that, and give you guidance along that path.

Formal Interview

Part of receiving the application is a formal interview 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 4 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, 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 who always meets candidates personally. Once the Bishop approves, an interview is scheduled with the Seminary Admissions Advisory Committee. If the committee's vote is positive, the Bishop makes the decision, and discusses with the Director of the Office of Vocations a possible seminary placement. Once accepted by the diocese, 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.

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