Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Discerning your vocation can elicit many questions. At some point, many men ask one of the questions below. If you have others, let us know.

You may also find answers in our discernment events and/or sign up for our Scivias video series.

How do I know if I’m called to be a priest?

The best way to know if you are called to be a priest is to connect with us and we will assist you through the process. God is calling all men to be holy and we can guide you though our discernment events. You may also wish to consult your parish priest or spiritual director. 

Ask God for the grace to be called to this amazing and supernatural vocation, and then pay attention to the ways that He is helping you to see how he answers the prayer.  If you feel called to the vocation of the priesthood, even though there are things about it that might make you nervous, or if you have a sense of a desire to do something great, which might transcend this world, then these could be good indications of a priestly call.  For more information, read the Finding Your Calling and Learning to Discern sections of our website

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Do I have to be perfect to go to seminary?

You don’t have to be perfect to go to seminary. A call from God is not based on our own personal holiness, so we can still be called to be a priest and not be perfect. In fact, often God uses our own imperfections to show that He is the origin of the call. This does not mean it is OK to just live a mediocre life. Rather, God calls us all to become perfect as He is perfect. We are all called to a Vocation of Holiness. A man called to be a priest lives out the call to holiness in the specific vocation of the priesthood. The call we have, in a certain respect, is the mode by which God wants us to become holy. For more information read the section on Discerning the Priesthood and Seminary Formation.

If I want to get married, does that mean I’m not called to be a priest?

No. When a man is attracted to women and marriage, it does not mean that he is not possibly called to the priesthood. Rather, it means that he has the natural attractions that every man should have. Marriage, and all that goes with it, are naturally good and may be part of God’s plan for you. If so, it will be written into the fabric of who you are.

If you are considering the priesthood in contrast to the vocation of marriage, you are considering two good choices. Many of the human qualities and virtues that are required to be a good husband and father are also those required of a good priest.

Every man should have the attraction to be a father and a husband, to make a gift of oneself and be fruitful. Those called by God to the priesthood fulfill these desires in a different way than those called to marriage.  When a man becomes celibate for the Kingdom of God, he sacrifices a natural good (marriage) for a supernatural reason (God and His Kingdom, and the salvation of souls). For more information read our section on The Priesthood or contact us.

Do priests get lonely?

Everyone gets lonely sometimes in life, but priests tend to have fewer times of loneliness than most people because priests spend most of their days being with people and relating to them in an intimate way. Priests live life fully and experience relationships with many people. Celibacy allows a priest to be available to all his people in a way that a married man is not able to be. Celibacy is a gift from God for those called to the priesthood, and those with that gift find great fulfillment in their deep relationship with God, and ability to serve his people with an undivided heart.

Loneliness and solitude are entirely different realities. Very often a priest gets to enjoy solitude in life when he spends time alone with God in prayer or enjoys down time from the business of everyday life. Priests enjoy a variety of fulfilling relationships and rich friendships.

How do I find out more about the priesthood?

The best way to find out more about the priesthood is to attend our discernment events, take our Scivias video course, and read our Becoming a Priest section of this site. You can also talk to a priest whom you know and trust. Another way to know more is to visit the seminary. In the Archdiocese of Boston there are three seminaries open to visit: Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary, Saint John Seminary, and Redemptoris Mater Seminary.

Does the Archdiocese of Boston have an age limit on entering seminary?

We do not have an age limit for entering seminary. While most of our seminarians are between the ages of 18 – 45, we accept men who are older, depending on their vocational calling and aptitude. We currently have such seminarians at Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary, in Weston, MA, which is dedicated uniquely to the preparation of seminarians 30 years of age and older responding to a call to priestly ministry. Meet The Seminarians

Who are the seminarians for the Archdiocese of Boston?

Currently there are more than 65 men studying for the Archdiocese of Boston at five different seminaries. To learn about our seminarians’ personal stories of discernment and life in seminary click here.

How much does it cost to go to the seminary?

Currently, for those in Pre-Theology and Theology Programs, financial resources provided by the Archdiocese of Boston generally cover the following needs:

• Tuition

• Room and Board

• Health and Dental Insurance costs

• Some personal needs

For those seminarians in college seminary, the Archdiocese of Boston covers the Room and Board and Health and Dental Insurance costs. The cost of other expenses are generally covered by the seminarian or through funds available to those in need.

Can I enter seminary with student loan debt?

Yes, a man can enter seminary if he has student loan debt — it need not be an impediment to fulfilling his calling. The Vocation Office can assist those in need who are in the process of repayment.

What are the residency requirements for applicants to the Archdiocese of Boston from other countries?

Men from countries other than the United States who wish to apply to seminary for the Archdiocese of Boston must first live here and begin the process of discernment as outlined on our website. It is advised that they become an active member in a local parish community as a first step toward seeking to become a Boston seminarian.

Is it possible to apply to Boston if I grew up in a different part of the country?

Yes. Men who are originally from other parts of the country and who are presently in the Boston area for school, work, or other reasons are welcome to discern with us and apply if they are called. There are many priests who came to this area of the country and have made Boston their new home. If God is calling you to be a priest and you find yourself here in the Archdiocese of Boston, consider whether He is inviting you to serve here.

Meet the Directors


Fr. Eric Cadin is the Director of the Office of Vocations and Director of the Office of University Missions for the Archdiocese of Boston. An avid surfer with an overall passion for adventure sports, Fr. Eric recognizes God’s capacity to unveil Himself in places and thrilling moments of awe and beauty. Ordained to the priesthood in 2012, he is equally passionate about the opportunity he has to mentor and guide men along their own pursuits of holiness. Fr. Eric is proud to be involved in the campaign to promote Scivias, a video series he hopes will engage, inform, and inspire a new generation of men to discern a vocation to the priesthood.


Fr. Michael Zimmerman was ordained to the priesthood in 2017 and currently serves as assistant Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Boston and adjunct Scripture Professor at St. John’s Seminary. With the heart of a teacher, Fr. Michael was inspired to create a systematic discernment program for young men drawing from the wisdom that he received as part of his own formation. During the pandemic lockdown in May 2020, Fr. Michael scripted 27 episodes which are now part of a video series called Scivias. Filmed in a way that captures many of Fr. Michael’s own interests such as rock climbing, track and field, art, drawing, and of course the city of Boston (!), Fr. Michael hopes others can identify with his journey and recognize how pursuing God’s plan for their lives will fulfill their greatest desires.

Sign up to get early access to the videos and receive special content like our guidebook to help you pray and reflect along with the episodes. We'll also keep you in our prayers!


Learn more about The Seminary:

About the Seminary

These seminarians all started out right where you are now — exploring their calling and probably feeling the same anticipation you feel as well. You are in good and blessed company.


Learning to discern? You are in good Company! Attend one of our events and connect with our community of seekers.

We know the way.

Connect with us to begin your discernment journey.