The Selection Process
Before admitting a man to the seminary the Church has a rigorous selection process to try to ensure that men who go to seminary do so for the right reasons. Pope Francis said recently. “despite the scarcity of vocations, today we are increasingly aware of the need for a better process of selecting candidates to the priesthood. Seminaries cannot accept candidates on the basis of any motivation whatsoever, especially if those motivations have to do with affective insecurity or the pursuit of power, human glory or economic well-being”. In England and Wales the selection process is overseen by the diocesan Vocations Director.
The Role of the Vocations Director
To be admitted to a seminary a man must show signs that he has a genuine vocation from God. Before making a formal application he is expected to have been in contact with his Vocations Director for at least a year whose job it is to make an assessment of whether there are signs of a priestly vocation and helping those signs to grow.
It is expected that men ordinarily apply to their home diocese, that is the one where they live and go to Mass. However, there are many legitimate reasons why they might choose to apply elsewhere and the Vocations Director can give helpful advice.
The Vocations Director prepares the applicant for the formal selection process which will include a number of interviews as well as medical and psychological assessments. The purpose of the selection process is threefold:
- to assess whether an individual may be hearing a call from God to the priesthood;
- to determine if the individual is suitable to be accepted for priestly formation;
- to consider the individual’s ability to make a commitment to the demands of priestly life.