Requirements to Enter Priestly Formation
For candidates that are discerning priestly formation, there are a number of requirements that need to be fulfilled prior to applying to the program of priestly formation within the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. These requirements provide a framework for applicants and vocations staff for the selection of men for formation to the priesthood, and are drafted with respect to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the 2015 Pastoral Guide for the Ukrainian Catholic Church as promulgated by the Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the 1999 Pastoral Guide for the Ukrainian Catholic Churches of the United States of America, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops Program of Priestly Formation 5th Revision, the 2009 Directive For the Preparation of Candidates to the Priesthood in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and the 2009 Program for Evangelization and Missionary Formation of Candidates to the Priesthood in the Seminaries of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Specifically, discerners seeking admission to enter St. Josaphat Seminary and the program of priestly formation must demonstrate that they have:
1. Unwavering faith in Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Church.
2. Good moral character.
3. Psychological stability, emotional balance, and maturity.
4. Good physical health.
5. A balanced life of prayer, devotion, and discernment.
6. An active participation in the life of their home parish.
7. Readiness to serve in the manner in which he is called by God, through his reigning bishop.
8. A willingness to recognize and respond to the needs of others.
9. A spirit of detachment to be an active part of this world, but not of it.
10. Freedom to enter this state of life without external encumberances.
With these ten points in mind, a discerner seeking admission to St. Josaphat Seminary and the Program of Priestly Formation should:
1. Be a Catholic man between the ages of 17-51 years old at the time of application.
2. Not be burdened by a psycho-sexual disorder as set forth by the canons of the Catholic Church (i.e., homosexual, transexual, etc.)
2. Be an active participating menber of a Ukrainian Catholic parish for a minimum of 5 consecutive years. (Ideally, discerners applying to seminary formation should also be canonically ascribed as Ukrainian Catholic. Normally, we do not accept discerners from other Catholic Churches, but in certain situations, we may consider candidates who may be able to change their canonical ascription. The Archeparchy of Philadelphia does not grant bi-ritual faculties for discerners canonically ascribed to other Catholic Churches for formation at St. Josaphat Seminary.)
3. Hold a high school diploma and transcript that shows a favorable disposition for higher academic studies on the collegiate level.
4. For those who already hold a college degree, a college diploma and transcript of studies (favorable GED scores are required for entry into theology studies).
5. Be able to fluently speak and write in the English language at a collegiate level (for those not born in the USA and whose native language is not English, favorable scores on the TOEFL examination will be required).
6. Be able to speak Ukrainian, or demonstrate a willingness to learn to speak and read the Ukrainian language on a liturgical/pastoral level.
7. Be willing to follow all requirements for priestly formation as set forth in the PPF-V, and all other directives as set forth by the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
8. Be willing to undergo a comprehensive psychological screening (to include a psychosexual survey and other psychological tests as deemed necessary, but within standards as set forth by the USCCB).
9. Be willing to undergo a criminal background check and be cleared to work with minors in accordance with the Archeparchial Sexual Abuse Prevention Guidelines.
10. Have a spiritual director and confessor.
11. Must not be encumbered with debt or binding monetary or service obligations. For those who choose to hold certain debt or property obligations (i.e., a house, car, etc.), the candidate must be able to service these obligations without any assistance from the Archeparchy of Philadelphia. The Archeparchy of Philadelphia is in no way liable, nor is it to be assumed that the Archeparchy is obligated to provide any assistance) for any seminarian who cannot service their debts or obligations.
12. Must not be encumbered with any civil child support or alimony obligations.
13. Men who are discerning a life of celibate priesthood must not be under the bond of marriage (a valid annulment or death certificate of the wife is required if a candidate who was previously married seeks to enter life as a celibate priest.)
14. Men who are discerning a life of married priesthood, if currently married, must have the full support of his spouse and family - the candidate must be able to fully support their family and any family obligations on their own during the time of formation, as the Archeparchy of Philadelphia does not have the resources, nor the obligation, to support a candidate's family, including housing, during the candidate's formation period.
1. Discerners who hold minor orders or the major order of Deacon do not automatically qualify for ordination to the priesthood; they will be evaluated to see what training is required to meet all requirements for ordination as set forth by the directives of the USCCB and the Hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
2. Men above the age of 60 are not eligible for ordination to the priesthood (this rule may be waived by the Metropolitan-Archbishop at his sole discretion).