The Application Process
The application process to become a candidate for priestly formation (seminarian) involves submitting an application package which includes the following.
Application form – The applicant provides information including family history, educational background, military experience, employment history, health history, and vocational history. Three essays are also required which discuss personal gifts, a personal account of the applicant’s life and spiritual life.
Graduate school, college and high school (if not yet graduated from college) transcripts – Transcripts verify the applicant’s degree, give evidence of his intellectual ability and help determine his readiness for graduate-level theological study.
Four interviews with members of the Vocation Board – The members of the Vocation Board (Bishop Hubbard, three vocation directors, priests, religious and laity) provide additional evaluations of the applicant. The interviews with four board members last approximately one hour each.
Four Letters of Reference (including one from his pastor) – Each reference is asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the applicant’s competence, emotional maturity and relationships with other people.
Certificates and documents – The applicant must provide certificates for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and parents’ marriage.
Psychological testing and evaluation – Applicants complete a battery of psychological tests and interviews. A clinical history, psychosocial history, psychosexual history and clinical interview of alcohol and drug history are completed for each applicant. Additionally, the following tests are administered: John Hopkins University Test for Alcoholism, projective tests, Rorschach Ink Blot Test, Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (Millon), Travistock, Spiritual Inventory and Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST). Each applicant is interviewed by licensed psychologists familiar with the qualifications and demands of the priesthood. A comprehensive psychological report is submitted to the Vocation Board.
Criminal background check – A professional firm is employed to conduct a complete background search of the applicant. Driver license check, employment credit report, social security trace, sex offender check, and county, state and federal criminal searches are among the information gathered.
Letters of release – Four letters of release are required of the applicant so that medical and psychological information can be shared with the Vocation Board and seminary.
Photo – A recent photo of the applicant is required.
Physical examination – A complete physical examination is required of the applicant by a physician of his choice to assure that his physical health is adequate for the rigors of seminary studies and the life of a priest.
Contact with former seminary, religious community or diocese – If an applicant has ever applied to, been accepted or rejected by, or been dismissed from another seminary, religious community or diocese, he must permit the release of all relevant information concerning his departure from the previous program. The previous diocese, religious community or seminary will be contacted for pertinent written information and oral conversations with the appropriate institutions.
Contact with former employers – Former employers are contacted to determine the character of the applicant.
Once all of the above information has been gathered, it is presented to the Vocation Board for evaluation. After careful review and discussion of the data, the Vocation Board makes a recommendation to the Bishop for or against admitting the applicant as a candidate for priesthood.
There is no way to predict or ensure an individual’s future behavior in advance. However, the diocese’s application process aims to gather sufficient information to determine that a man has the character, background, maturity and abilities to begin preparation for priesthood.