FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Joining the Sulpicians FAQs
Q: I am not ordained and I am not in the seminary, but I would like to become a priest. Can the Sulpicians help me reach my goal?
A: Though you cannot apply to join our community at this time, we can recommend an appropriate vocation director, who can help you become a priest. The Become a Sulpician page contains a contact form.
Q: I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I become a Sulpician?
A: The U.S. Province of the Sulpicians accepts applications from those who are citizens of the U.S., Zambia, Malawi, and various other countries. Depending upon your nationality, we may be able to refer you to one of our other provinces.
Q: I am a diocesan seminarian. Do the Sulpicians accept applications from seminarians?
A: Provided the applicant has the permission of the bishop who is sponsoring him for ordination, we do accept applications from seminarians. Seminarians accepted as Sulpician candidates will not be transferred to the Sulpicians until they have completed at least two years of parish ministry as a priest in their dioceses.
Q: Do the Sulpicians accept applications from older priests?
A: You have to be in a position to accept your first assignment from the Sulpicians prior to your 45th birthday.
Q: I am a member of a religious order. Can I join the Sulpicians?
A: Since the Sulpicians are a community of diocesan priests, you can join them only after you have left your religious community and obtained incardination as a diocesan priest. As a diocesan priest, you would also need the permission of your diocesan bishop to join us.
Q: My bishop will allow me to apply for a faculty position at a seminary, so why should I consider joining the Sulpicians?
A: There are many dedicated priests doing priestly formation in the Church, but for Sulpicians, priestly formation is not merely an assignment but a life’s work. (This link takes you to our Mission page.)
Q: My diocese is experiencing a shortage of priests. How can I approach my bishop to ask about joining the Sulpicians?
A: Though your bishop is probably concerned about the declining number of priests, bishops accept their responsibility to provide for strong priestly formation in the Church. Most bishops will take a priest seriously when he expresses an interest in the Sulpicians provided there is no crisis at home and they feel that the priest is serious about his intent. Upon joining the Sulpicians, you remain incardinated in your home diocese and may continue to assist in your diocese as your Sulpician duties allow.
Q: Do I need to be involved in informal discernment prior to applying to join the Sulpicians?
A: This depends upon your knowledge of and prior experience with the Sulpicians. The informal discernment normally includes a visit to the Baltimore-Washington area to discuss your interest, to meet some Sulpicians, and to visit some of our programs. The Director of Discernment can recommend an informal discernment process tailored to your needs.
Q: How long does it take to complete the formal application process to join the Sulpicians?
A: From the time your bishop gives you permission to apply until you are accepted as a Sulpician candidate, the process usually takes three to four months. Click here for more information on applying.
Q: Is there a good time of the year to make application?
A: We accept applications at any time of the year. Assignments begin on July 1, so if you hope to begin Sulpician ministry as soon as possible, it is best to complete your application before Christmas. Click here for more information on applying.
About the Sulpicians FAQs
Q: The Sulpicians are not a religious community but a society of apostolic life. What does this mean?
A: Societies of apostolic life are associations in the Church whose members pursue a common mission without taking vows and who live as a community under Church-approved regulations called constitutions. So when you join the Sulpicians, you remain a diocesan priest—and become a member of a community of diocesan priests dedicated to priestly formation.
Q: Why are the Sulpicians not a religious community with vows?
A: The specific mission of the Sulpicians is the formation of diocesan priests, and our founder Father Jean-Jacques Olier believed that diocesan priests best accomplish this mission. This is why Sulpicians are expected to have some pastoral experience and why we maintain affiliation with our home dioceses.