Questions Every Man Asks

Below you will find answers to the most common questions that every man has asked at some point in his discernment.  If you still have some unaswered after this list, please don’t hesitate to contact the vocation office. We are here to help you discern what God has in store for your life.

Do Priests Get Paid?

Yes, diocesan priests receive a modest salary (which is taxable), as well as room and board. The salary is not large, but it is sufficient for personal expenses, such as clothes, automobile, contributions to charity, and other normal expenses. While diocesan priests do not take the vow of poverty that members of religious orders might take, they are encouraged to live a simple lifestyle and to be generous to the poor. The black clerical clothes typical of priests constitute an outward sign of this modest life.


Do Priests Get Time Off and Vacation Time?

Yes, diocesan priests are allowed a day off and time off for vacation. Priests will use this time to visit family and friends, travel, attend sporting events or concerts, or develop their hobbies. Priests also make a yearly week-long retreat and participate in workshops to further their pastoral and theological knowledge.


Are Priests Lonely Because They Are Not Married?

Just like everyone, priests can sometimes experience loneliness. Loneliness, however, does not result from not having a wife and family; even married people feel lonely sometimes! Priests must cultivate their friendships with God, brother priests, their parishioners, and others. The typical parish priest is surrounded by people.


Do I Need to Be an Excellent Student to Become a Priest?

Every priest does not need to be a great scholar who speaks multiple languages or writes books.  However, the Church does place a great deal of importance on the education of her clergy. It is important to have a solid foundation in our philosophical and theological traditions, which span two thousand years. In addition, parishioners look to their priest to answer questions of faith, and priests should be prepared to give them sound answers. As St. Peter writes, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Pt 3:15)


Do Priests Pray All Day?

Priests do not literally pray all day but they do pray frequently–and further, they want to pray! The center of the day for priests is the celebration of Mass. In the Mass, the priest himself is fed by hearing God’s Word and receiving his Body and Blood. Priests also promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, a prayer of the Church that consists of five parts spread throughout the day. In this sense, a priest really does pray “all day,” though it is interspersed with work, meetings, and other parish commitments. Priests will also spend time in private prayer, making a Holy Hour or praying the Rosary.


Can I Become a Priest if I Have Some Sexual Experience or Done Other Things I am Not Very Proud  of?

Yes, you can. Many great saints such as St. Augustine and St. Ignatius Loyola lived wild lives before they became priests. God used their early lives to draw them to himself and he does the same today. All men sin and therefore no man is worthy of the priesthood, yet God still calls. God does not call the qualified, but qualifies those He calls.


Can a Priest Have a Pet?

Priests can have pets. Dogs are probably the most popular priest pet, however, in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, dogs and cats are only allowed to be housed outside of the rectory or parish buildings to protect the safety and health of others. Smaller domestic animals (birds and fish) can be kept indoors.


Is a Priest Able to See His Family?

Priests and men studying for the priesthood are able to visit with their families.  Priests know that when they are ordained, their first family becomes the Church, but they continue to maintain strong ties with their human families.  On celebrations like Christmas and Easter, many priests will go to celebrate with their families after celebrating with their parish family. Often family contact is much more frequent, depending on where the priest is assigned.


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