Priests and Seminarians
The Priest: Who is He? What Does He Do? What is His Calling?
A priest serves the People of God, the Church. His life is to be a life of service, in imitation of Jesus Christ the High Priest, who came "to serve, and not to be served."
The priest not only imitates Jesus Christ, he lives in a unique unity with Him. Pope John Paul II has written of this mysterious, sacred unity of the priest with Christ on a number of occasions. In Pastores Dabo Vobis, his document on the formation of priests, he writes:
"Their mission [the priest] is not theirs, but is the same mission of Jesus.
"Priests are called to prolong the presence of Christ, the one high priest, embodying His way of life and making Him visible in the midst of the flock entrusted to their care.
"In the Church and on behalf of the Church, priests are a sacramental representation of Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd, authoritatively proclaiming His Word, repeating His acts of forgiveness and His offer of salvation, particularly in baptism, penance and the eucharist, showing his loving concern to the point of a total gift of self for the flock, which they gather into unity and lead to the Father through Christ and in the Spirit." (Pastores Dabo Vobis 14, 15)
The diocesan priest makes a vow of obedience to the bishop and serves a "particular Church" (a diocese) under the bishop’s authority. The diocesan priest vows to live a celibate life, and is therefore able to give himself totally and completely to the work of Jesus Christ and the Church. He does not take a vow of poverty (as religious priests do), but is called to live a simple life with a spirit of detachment from the things of this world.
The diocesan priest works hard, and prays hard. It is a disciplined, rigorous life that brings with it many crosses in living the life of Jesus Christ. It is a calling from Christ to continue His work in the world, with its finest expression in the preaching of the Word of God and the administration of the sacraments. The priesthood brings with it unique and special graces from God that make it more than worth any sacrifice or effort he will be asked to give.
Are YOU being called by Jesus Christ to serve Him and the Church as a priest? If there is any possibility, check it out. The call of Christ to the priesthood is a rare and precious gift, and should not be put off or left aside. If the call is real, there will be an abundance of peace and joy in one's heart, knowing that he is doing what he was created by God to do with his life.
For questions or more information, send an e-mail to the Vocation Director at vocations(at)fargodiocese(dot)org.
We invite you to get to know our current seminarians and to include them in your prayers. Our college seminarians attend Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, MI. Our major seminarians study at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colorado, St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, or at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.
Check formation programs for information about the education and formation programs provided through the seminary system that prepare a man for the duties and life of a priest.
Requirements and Application
Requirements For Potential Seminarians
A man aspiring to the priesthood should:
- Practice his faith by attending weekly Mass, go to confession regularly and pray in some way each day.
- Be physically and psychologically healthy.
- Be willing to study, learn, and acquire new knowledge.
- Have a basic understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
- Begin receiving monthly spiritual direction from a priest (ask your parish priest).
- Have a desire to live as a priest and submit to the apostolic authority of the Bishop.
A man wishing to be a priest should contact the Vocation Director. Following an interview, the applicant will receive or be mailed an application packet, which will include the following:
- Confidential Application Form
- Autobiographical Guide
- Reference List Form
- Release of Information Form
- Medical Examination Form
- Criminal Background Check Form
- Code of Conduct Policy Form
Applicants must provide and/or send the following information to the Vocation Office:
- Current Baptismal Certificate of an applicant
- Current Confirmation Certificate of an applicant
- Certificate of Canonical Marriage of parents
- Transcripts of academic records from high school and colleges.
Official transcripts of academic records from high school and college must be sent directly to the Vocation Office from each institution.
- Current psychological examination (appointment set up through the Vocation Office).
- Recent photograph
Sometimes the best way to discern a vocation to the priesthood is by spending time with priests. You can do so by participating in our events.