The discernment of a priestly vocation is an ever-deepening conversation that begins first with God in prayer. Later, a close friend, family members, a parish priest, a youth minister and a mentor may become part of this conversation. Soon, a strong desire grows to speak with the Vocation Director of the Diocese. This oftentimes occurs during one's high school or college years, but for some individuals it happens later in life too.

Initial contact can be made with the Vocation Director by phone, e-mail, or in person at the vocation office. A first meeting is scheduled which only lasts about an hour and is casual and conversational in nature. This meeting can take place in a number of venues: in the vocation office, in the family home, in the rectory of an individual's home parish, or while strolling around a public park. The important thing is that an individual feels free to speak about all that he’s pondering in his heart. The individual in discernment is given an opportunity to ask questions about priesthood, seminary or the application process. Further conversations are oftentimes scheduled after an initial meeting, and other means of keeping in touch are discussed (for example, monthly spaghetti suppers, annual retreats, the shadowing program, the aspirants' program).

After a candidate has made the decision to enter college-seminary or major-seminary, he begins an application process to the diocese which includes completing a general Questionnaire, gathering sacramental and academic records, completing a physical, undergoing a psychological assessment, soliciting letters of recommendation, and permitting a criminal background check.

The Vocation Director works closely with the candidate throughout this process. When the application process is complete, the materials are handed to the Bishop for review and decision.

A candidate who is accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Worcester immediately following high school graduation, or during his college years, is assigned by the Bishop to the Holy Name of Jesus House of Studies with classes at Assumption College in Worcester, or to some other suitable college-seminary program. A candidate who is accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Worcester who has already earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is assigned to a major seminary. An additional, completed application is required by the college seminary or major seminary itself. Upon acceptance into a particular seminary, a congratulatory letter is sent to the new seminarian by the seminary's rector with practical details about when to arrive in late summer for orientation.

Seminarians begin their academic year in late August or early September. The similarities between seminary and college are many: classes, papers, presentations, exams, midterms, finals, dorm-living, extracurricular activities, academic advisors, and occasional vacations. What is unique about seminary is that each student also participates in retreats, in apostolic work, is assigned a Spiritual Director, an Academic Advisor, participates in formation activities, and attends Mass and communal prayer every day with the seminary community.

Prior to ordination, the seminarian is required to earn the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree. For men entering college without any previously earned college credit, the course of studies may take eight to ten years to complete. For men entering with a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, the course of studies may take six years to complete.

Please visit: Instruction Concerning Admission