Guided by our overall diocesan goal to nurture and develop holy and well formed priests, great care is taken to insure a careful and thorough assessment and application process for all potential seminarian candidates. This assessment and application process or sequence of events generally encompass the following:
- Through the recommendation of a faithful priest, religious or lay person.
- By letter, e-mail or phone call of inquiry.
- By active participation in the annual vocations retreat or another discernment group activity.
Once contact is established, a formal interview follows between the Vocation Director and the potential candidate in which the following topics are discussed.
- Personal health and well-being.
- Family and employment history.
- Religious and educational background.
Acceptance into the diocesan priesthood formation program requires that a candidate demonstrate emotional maturity, academic ability, personal stability and consistent growth in the practice of the faith. If, after the formal interview, the Vocation Director believes the individual possesses suitable psychological, intellectual and spiritual attributes, the candidate is then invited to begin the formal application process. The general components of the application process encompass the following:
- Completed Diocesan application form (cream/green).
- Completed Seminary application form.
- Church Documents:
- Certificate of Baptism issued within the last six months.
- Certificate of Confirmation.
- Certificate of parents’ marriage issued with the name and seal of the Church in which the marriage took place.
- Academic Data:
- Official academic transcript from secondary school and/or colleges attended.
- A final academic transcript of your current academic work with date of graduation, GPA and class rank when completed after processing.
- Results of Standardized tests.
- Letters of Recommendation from:
- Principal or Guidance Counselor or Dean of the last school attended.
- One faculty member of the last school attended.
- Pastor of your parish.
- Rector of any previously attended seminary when applicable.
- Copy of physical examination required by school of attendance and signed by physician (form provided with application).
- Results of required psychological tests.
- Completed Child Protection Policy requirements:
- Signed Applicant’s Certification and Authorization for Information Form.
- Completed Background Questionnaire Form.
- Signed Declaration of Freedom Form.
- Signed Tuition Repayment Form (college students only).
- Interview with the Bishop
After the candidate submits all the information and necessary paperwork as outlined above, the Director of the Office of Vocations, after careful review and consultation with the Bishop’s delegate for Clergy, determines if the process should continue. If his decision is favorable, he then recommends the candidate to the Bishop and discusses with the Bishop a possible seminary placement.
After the Bishop reviews the applicant’s file, the Director of the Office of Vocations notifies the applicant of the Bishop’s initial decision of acceptance or non-acceptance. Final acceptance by the Bishop is contingent upon the seminary’s acceptance. If the Bishop grants initial acceptance, the Vocation Director also informs the applicant of the particular seminary where he is being considered to begin his formation. At this time, the applicant’s Diocese of Youngstown application material is forwarded, by the Office of Vocations, to the seminary. After review, the seminary will write the candidate directly informing him of their decision of acceptance or non-acceptance.
Individual circumstances may adjust or vary the sequence of events outlined above. The general necessary time frame to compile and complete all required application material is between two to four months. Applicants normally receive word of acceptance or non-acceptance within two months of submitting a completed application, but generally no later than the first week of July. The application process is intended to encourage the candidate to realize that his vocation does not simply enjoy a personal dimension but rather flows from the Church and toward ministry within the Church.