Among the many concerns that go through the minds and hearts of those contemplating a vocation to diocesan priesthood, the very practical question, "Where do I fit in?" ranks right up there. I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell you about one aspect of this question, namely, academic status and the prerequisites for the Priest Formation Program at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.
The U.S. Bishops' Program of Priestly Formation expects that those entering graduate-level studies in theology in preparation for ordination to priesthood will have a bachelor's degree, preferably in the liberal arts. This should include a minimum of 30 semester credits in undergraduate philosophy and 12 semester credits in undergraduate theology. (Particular areas of philosophy and theology are specified by the bishops.) With this standard in mind, various possibilities for meeting the prerequisites emerge, depending on your unique background and circumstances.
If you already possess a college degree, depending on your major and on the number of credits you have received in philosophy and theology, you would be accepted either directly into First Theology, the first of five years of graduate-level formation, or into Pre-Theology, a program of formation for those lacking the undergraduate philosophy and theology prerequisites.
If you are presently in college, the College Program is designed for you. Through contact and formational opportunities with the College Program, you may continue your undergraduate studies and be advised as to appropriate courses to help you meet the prerequisites for the Priest Formation Program at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.
If you are a high school student, you should know that any major in your upcoming college studies is acceptable, but be aware that the best course of study is in the liberal arts at a Roman Catholic institution. Be attentive to the credit requirements in philosophy (roughly a "minor") and theology. (Courses in the specified areas can be harder to come by in a state or technical school.) Again, early contact with the College Program is most helpful.
There are nearly as many variations in academic preparedness for the Priest Formation Program at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary as there are persons contemplating such study. We at Saint Francis Seminary recognize this, and want to help you see just where you might "fit in" - academically, and otherwise - as you consider a vocation to minister to God's people in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
For more information on the Path to Priesthood, contact Fr. Luke Strand, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Priest Recruitment web site at www.thinkpriest.org.