How Do I Become a Priest?

Advice for boys and men living in or having a connection with the Diocese of Lancaster:
Applying to become a Catholic priest is not like applying for a secular job or profession, but involves you and the Church, particularly your bishop, discerning whether or not God is calling you to serve His Church as a priest in a lifetime commitment. As you can imagine this process of discernment takes time, and a deep serious commitment on both sides.
Here are the basic facts about training to ordained a priest in the Diocese of Lancaster. It’s called a course of formation because its aim isn’t only to give you the knowledge, competencies and skills to serve as a deacon, but seeks to assist you in forming yourself, through the grace, into an ‘icon of Christ the Head’.
The formation programme lasts between six or seven years, or sometimes shorter, depending on maturity and experience, and may include the following:
  • Depending on age and maturity, a one-year introductory programme known as the Propaedeutic Year, during which you, your vocations director and ultimately the bishop, decide if you are to progress onto the Formation Course.
  • A five or six year full-time Course of Formation at a seminary, including study for a degree or other qualification in theology.
  • The Seminary Course of Formation will also involve placements in parishes of the diocese in which you will gain practical, pastoral and liturgical skills.

What do I do next?

Having read what is required of men training for ordination to the Priesthood your next step, if you so decide, is to either contact your parish priest or to contact directly one of the vocations team below:

Vocations Director: 

The Rev Canon John Watson, The Priory, Banklands, Workington, Cumbria , CA14 3EP

Tel: 015395 35591


Assistant Vocations Director:


Prayers to aid you in your discernment of your vocation

Prayer of Dedication

Teach us, Good Lord,
To Serve Thee as Thou deservest;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do Thy will.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.
(St Ignatius of Loyola)

Take, Lord, and Receive

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding, and my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.
I return it all to you and surrender it wholly
to be governed by your will.
Give me only your love and your grace
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more. Amen
(St Ignatius of Loyola)

The Goal of Life

 The goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into
us without limit.
All the things in this world are gifts of God,
presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all of these gifts of God
insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the centre of our lives,
they displace God
and so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
and are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
a deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better
leads to the deepening of God’s life in me.
(St Ignatius of Loyola)