Application Procedures for Seminary Sponsorship
The Diocese of Gaylord welcomes the interest of those who inquire about the possibilities of serving as a priest in our diocese. Since we want to treat each applicant as a unique individual, the Diocese tries to maintain a personal dimension in its application process. The Vocations Director is the primary contact person for potential seminarians. In addition, you may wish to talk to one of the other wonderful priests who serve our parishes.
Once the Vocations Director has been made aware of an individual's interest in priesthood, he will make contact with that person. Ideally, a face-to-face meeting will follow. If it is deemed appropriate, after one or more meetings, the applicant is given the formal diocesan application booklet which is to be completed and returned within a few weeks.
The Diocese has an interview committee whose members are trained in the evaluation of candidates for priesthood. This committee is made up of several priests and lay persons of the Diocese and is chaired by the Vocations Director.
With the application form (including references) completed in as much detail as possible, the applicant is ready for the interview stage. The first interview will be with the Vocations Director. A very extensive interview model is used for this process, so the interview can take up to four hours. A written summation of the interview is shared with committee members.
Second and Third Interviews
If all is well, the applicant will then have two more interviews, one with a lay person and one with a priest. These interviews are likely to take an hour each and are usually held at the office/residence of the interviewer. The applicant is responsible for contacting the assigned interviewers to set the time and place for each interview.
The written summaries of the three interviews are shared with committee members. If all is well, the applicant will then be scheduled for an evaluation by a psychologist who is retained by the Diocese of Gaylord. The Vocations Director receives a copy of the psychologist's written report. A meeting is then scheduled for the applicant, the Vocations Director, and the psychologist to review the report together.
Decision PhaseThe diocesan bishop is kept informed of all applications for seminary sponsorship. The full interview committee assembles as needed. The purpose of each meeting is to evaluate applications in process. Each applicant will be represented at these meetings by the summations of their three interviews and their psychological report. The committee will move toward making one of the following decisions which will be forwarded to the applicant along with an explanation:
1) Acceptance of the applicant for seminary sponsorship by the Diocese of Gaylord.
2) Possible acceptance and continued interest of the Diocese exists for seminary sponsorship, but only after certain conditions are met. The Diocese might feel that particular issues in the applicant's life need to be dealt with first; i.e., counseling may be offered or certain stability of time and circumstance might be needed in a particular area.
3) No acceptance offered to the applicant at this time and a statement offered about future inquiries may be given.
The Diocese of Gaylord prepares a letter of sponsorship for accepted applicants which is sent to at least one seminary on the list of seminaries currently in use by the Diocese. There is a degree of flexibility as to which of the listed seminaries the applicant may attend.
The applicant is responsible for following through on all procedures required by any given seminary. These may vary from health exams to the obtaining of academic transcripts. Any routine expenses will be cared for by the Diocese of Gaylord. The candidate should save and submit receipts for expenses that are reimbursable.
The diocesan program for financial assistance will be discussed verbally with the individual candidate. In general, at the college level the seminarian pays the tuition and the Diocese pays room and board. At the graduate level all normal costs are covered by the Diocese. At any level, lack of monies or limitation of resources by the individual is never allowed to be a factor in not following through on entrance into a seminary. Individual review is always a factor in every dimension of the application process and subsequent formation programs.
If a seminary should reject any sponsored applicant, the Diocese would completely review its earlier decision of acceptance and re-evaluate its decision regarding the candidate. Seminaries do not accept candidates who are not supported by diocesan sponsorship.
Individuals From Outside the Diocese of GaylordAn applicant who resides outside the Diocese of Gaylord and who has had little or no exposure to our people will likely follow a slightly modified process. The Diocese would probably insist on some time being spent within the Diocese. This would vary with each case, but time spent here would allow the applicant to know us better and would provide an opportunity for us to better observe the individual.
Interrupted Seminary Studies or other Diocesan SponsorshipIndividuals who have interrupted seminary studies with leaves of absence will be expected to follow the same process for re-evaluation. In addition, a seminarian who may be sponsored by another diocese and in existing studies at a seminary will also be expected to follow the process.
Failure of DisclosureThe process as detailed above assumes that the applicant trusts the Diocese and, in a forthright manner, has given full disclosure on all major issues of his life. The individual must have responded honestly and fully in every phase of the review. In addition, any history of applications to other dioceses or religious communities must be shared in detail. Failure to participate in such a forthright manner and not fully representing all major aspects under review would be considered very grave and might thwart the entire process.
Right to Modification of the Application Process
The Diocese of Gaylord reserves the right to modify in any manner the application process on an individual basis or on a general overall basis for the good of the Church and Diocese and for the particular individual under consideration.