The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878.

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878.

Steps to Priesthood

When a man feels that he may have a vocation to the priesthood he needs to get the appropriate support.

First of all, he may wish to speak to a priest he is close to, such as his parish priest or university chaplain. Alternatively he may contact the Vocations Director, Fr Stephen Webb – who will arrange a meeting shortly afterwards.

He will then be invited to attend the monthly meetings for prospective seminarians which are held at St Winefride’s Presbytery, St Paul’s Ave, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD6 1ST.

All prospective seminarians are given a spiritual director whom they are to meet at least once a month. The director will help them to develop their prayer life and to think further about their vocation. During the period of discernment each man will be expected to go to Mass as often as possible, preferably daily, to go to Confession at least once a month and to engage in some manageable pastoral work, for example, being a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

Each man is invited to write a 1,000 word essay entitled, “How has the Holy Spirit led me to this point in my life?” He will also be asked to complete an application form, giving references, and to provide sacramental and academic certificates and photographs of himself.

In the spring of each year, those men who are ready will attend a Selection Advisory Conference at Leeds Trinity University College where they will have two  interviews, each lasting approximately 40 minutes. The four-person interviewing panel, which is chaired by the Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, Mgr David Smith, will send a report on each man to the Bishop. Then they will be invited to have a day-long psychological assessment, a full medical examination and a Criminal Records Bureau check. The Bishop and his Vicars General will interview each man in May or June and the Bishop will then let him know if he has been accepted as a student for the diocese and to which seminary he intends to send him. Seminary courses begin in September.

During their formation at seminary, students for this diocese are expected to meet with the Bishop, Fr Stephen and each other during the Christmas holidays. They are also expected to attend another meeting in the early summer. Bishop Macus and Fr Stephen ordinarily visit the diocesan students in their houses of formation each year.

All students engage in pastoral work for a period of four weeks, usually in a parish in the diocese. All diocesan students are paid a grant, plus, where appropriate, travel costs, according to the nationally agreed rate. The length of time which a student will spend in formation is usually seven years, although this may vary according to personal circumstances.