Religious Opportunities for Men
If you believe that you are being called to a life of devotion, you will be happy to know that there are a great variety of religious opportunities for men, and a multitude of communities in the Dallas area which will be happy to welcome you. Discover more by clicking on the links below!
- Have you always wondered about the difference between brothers and priests? Our introduction to the priesthood provides a quick overview of the differences between Diocesan priests and religious order priests.
- Are you curious about what priests do in their spare time, or how long it takes to actually become a priest? Real priests answer your questions on topics below.
Thinking about taking the big step and applying for the priesthood? Everything you need to know about the initial application process can be found here, from which documents you need to who reviews your application.
Want to meet a priest in your area? Then take a look at our list of men's religious communitiesthroughout the Dallas area.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know you have a vocation to the priesthood?
Through Baptism every Christian has a vocation, that is, a call from God to serve the Church. The Holy Spirit invites all of us to share our gifts, talents and lives in some unique way. It may be as a single person giving witness to Christ by living a life directed by the Gospel message. It may be as a married person dedicating one’s life and love to another and sharing in faith within a family. It may be as a religious brother or sister dedicating one’s life to service and ministry in the Church. Or, it may be as a priest, leading the community of the faithful through the sacraments and sharing in the life-journey of God’s people. You may feel Christ calling you to serve the people of God. Christ doesn’t call us in the same direct way he called the apostles. Christ often calls us from a silent voice deep within: “Come and follow me. Dedicate your life to me and to the spread of the Gospel.”
How does a man become a priest?
Becoming a priest involves several stages. While these vary slightly from diocese to diocese in length of time and format, the following outline is offered as a general view of formation programs:
A man who is interested in the priesthood but still searching for the answer to the
question “What does God want of me?” could join a Discernment Program with the
diocese. The process begins by contacting his pastor or the Vocation Director.
This is usually a very flexible program whereby the man meets with a priest and or
a group of others interested in the priesthood on a regular basis and shares in
experiences of prayer and community.
A more formal relationship with the diocese occurs when the man becomes
a candidate. At this time he begins the process of interviews and meetings with
the representative of the vocations office. Once the diocese has accepted
the candidate, he then begins the application process.
The candidate, sponsored by a diocese, now enters a seminary to begin his
priestly formation and theological studies. At this point he is called a seminarian.
4. TRANSITIONAL DIACONATE:
About a year before ordination to the priesthood, the seminarian is ordained
to the Transitional Diaconate (so named because the seminarian is in transition
to the priesthood, and to differentiate from the Permanent Diaconate).
The man makes promises of celibacy and obedience to his Bishop.
After much work, and a lot of prayers, the man is recommended as a candidate
What’s the difference between a brother and a priest?
A brother is a layman who commits himself to Christ by the vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience, who lives in religious community, and who works in nearly any job: teacher, electrician, cook, lawyer, mechanic, artist, etc. A priest’s distinctive role is as minister of the sacraments: celebrating Eucharist, Baptism, Penance. He does a variety of other works as well, but sacramental life is his special ministry.
How does one join a religious community?
The formation program involves several stages. While these vary from community to community in name, length of time, and format, the following outline gives a general view of the formation process:
A person of high school age or older who is interested in religious life can join
a program of contact with a religious community. This is usually a very
flexible program. The person meets monthly with a priest, brother or sister
and shares experiences of prayer and community life with the congregation
in which he or she is interested.
A more formal relationship with the community occurs when a person becomes
a candidate. The person lives with the community while continuing his or
her education or work experience. This period enables the candidate to observe
and participate in religious life from the inside. It also gives the community
an opportunity to see if the candidate shows promise of living the life of
the community. A person may be a candidate for one or two years.
The novitiate is the next stage of formation. This is a special one or two-year
period that marks official entrance into the community. Novices spend time
in study and prayer, learning more about themselves, the community
and their relationship with the Lord. At the end of the novitiate, they prepare
for temporary promises, or vows.
Promises of poverty, chastity and obedience may be taken for one, two,
or three years, depending on the decision of the individual person. These promises
are renewable for up to nine years. Final vows may be taken after three years
of temporary promises.
A man studying for religious priesthood also has seminary training, where he studies
theology, Scripture, Church teachings, and the skills he will need in order to be an
How long does it take to become a priest?
Generally it takes five to seven years after college or nine years after high school. If an individual already has a college degree, he will still need to acquire 24 hours of undergraduate philosophy and 18 hours of undergraduate theology prior to entering the Theologate (Graduate) Seminary. It usually takes two years to obtain these undergraduate course hours. Once in the Theologate Seminary, the process (in Texas) takes five years (four academic years and one Pastoral, or Internship, year). On the other hand, if an individual does not possess a college degree, he will need to attend the Collegiate Seminary and obtain an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. This usually takes four years to obtain. Afterward, he will enter the Theologate Seminary for five years.
What are the qualifications of a Diocesan priest?
A potential candidate is a single Catholic man with a broadening intellect who is emotionally and physically sound. He must have a capacity and a willingness to love and serve Christ’s people as a celibate priest. There has to be an openness to learn and to grow mentally, intellectually and spiritually. He must be blessed with the desire and a willingness to embrace the challenge of the Catholic Church of the twenty-first century with joy, hope and enthusiasm.
Why did you become a priest?
I chose my life style as a priest because I felt this was what God was calling me to be. As I grew to know myself, to recognize the talents and abilities He gave me, and to see the needs of the world, I came to believe that his was the way I could best respond to His love for me. I’ve always wanted to help people, and the desire to help in this way kept getting stronger, so I decided to become a priest.
How did your family and friends react to your decision to become a priest?
Most of us are fortunate for having families who encouraged us to do whatever would make us happy in life. They supported our choice without pushing us—and in supporting us, asked probing questions that made us think more deeply about what we were choosing.
Friends’ reactions varied a lot, from ridicule, to laying odds on how long we’d stay, to refusal to talk about our choice, to quiet support, to high enthusiasm. Obviously, some of those reactions are hard to take from good friends whose opinion you value. Sometimes we were pretty discouraged about our choice because of the reaction of our friends, and were grateful for the ones who said, “Do what’s best for you.”
Do people act differently when they know you are a priest?
Some people do treat us differently because we are priests. This is upsetting. We do not want to be respected or rejected just for our life style, but for who we are as individuals.
Do you think you are superior to lay people?
No. Priests are not superior to lay people. All vocations are a gift from God and are equally valuable.
Why has there been a decline in the number of persons entering the priesthood?
To attribute the lessening numbers of persons entering priesthood to a single cause would be simplistic and unrealistic. The reasons are many and complex. Some factors are the rapid pace of change in our world, the unwillingness of many to make a permanent commitment to any person or cause, the misunderstanding about the changes in priesthood over the past several years, and the many opportunities for ministry now available to our laity.
Perhaps another reason is that God’s call is seldom a roar but is more often a whisper. Our lives today are often busy and noisy, perhaps too noisy to readily hear God when he calls us. This is why if you have any feeling that the priesthood might be what God wants for you, contact us. Together we might be able to cut through the noise and discern God’s plan for you.