Vocations: Later or Sooner?

I am curious of people’s opinions on later vocations. In specific, towards the priesthood. Do you think later vocations are good or not. What about formerly married men who have had children and then become priests, either because their spouse died or they were divorced and their marriage anulled.

See poll then explain

One option I forgot to put and I regret not doing it is, “We need both in the church. Later vocations and early ones”

How can a valid vocation ever be bad?

Better late than never. For most men with vocations, I would think it would be preferable to begin priestly service sooner rather than later, but God’s plan for particular individuals might be different.

There is nothing inherently wrong with later vocations. I don’t understand why you ask if “later vocations are good or not.”

Are you implying that experiencing the world “taints” a man who goes on to have a later vocation? That a man fresh out of high school, to the seminary, and ordained to priesthood is somehow more pure and holy than a man with a later vocation?

The answer is, there are advantages and disadvantages both ways. The important thing is, a vocation is a vocation. God calls when He calls. Let’s trust in His plan.

I have been told by almost all priests I have talked to that they encourage young people to enter sooner rather than later, and that they wish they had entered sooner rather than later.

And for religious life, it is apparently even more urgent, many Superiors telling me outright not to go to college if I think I have a vocation, that the education can be handled later, but that “if you go to University, it will most probably destroy your vocation, and you might even lose your soul…” I heard that sentiment and similar statements many times.

All the traditional literature, all the stuff written pre-1970 promotes earlier rather than later.

But I’m not saying that in individual cases an older person can’t have a vocation. Better late than never. After the fact, you can’t go back in time and enter earlier…so we should let them in if they’re sincere.

But that’s only after they’ve already waited and are already older.

But for a young person today, asking whether they should go or wait, who still has the luxury of that choice, I’d say the answer is a resounding GO!

For those whose only option is entering later (since they* already* didn’t enter sooner), of course we should definitely let them in. But for people who still have both options, to wait or not, we should definitely encourage them NOT to wait.

Younger people tend to be more energetic about the faith and bring great inspiration to the faithful when they become priests.

Older people have more experience and wisdom, giving them great teaching ability.

Either way, great good is done when a man becomes a priest and has a desire to serve God and His people.

I am not implying anything. I think maybe you are reading into this question. I am a later vocation.
I am just looking for views on what people think about later vocations and how they feel towards men who feel they have been called and did not pursue it until later in life. It is for my own educational and discernment process.


One example of a later vocation to the priesthood is Fr. Benedict Groeschel. He had a successful professional life, was a cocaine user at one time, then repented and entered the priesthood. He’s a big asset to the Church.

Some of our greatest saints such as St Augustine and St Francis, also followed this pattern. I think that a vocation can be entered into at various times of life. There’s no one correct way.


OK. My own parish priest had a later vocation. He had a career and was even engaged. Don’t know the details of who, how, or why the engagement was broken. But I guess we are lucky it was broken, because after some period of time after that, he discerned a calling and now he is a great priest. He is a very compassionate and understanding priest, seems very happy to be a priest, and gives great homilies to boot! And I think all his life experiences contributed to making him the respected, happy, good priest he is today.

I think you mean Fr. John Corapi. :thumbsup:

Whoops, you’re right, I mixed them up.:o

I admire late vocations. I prefer devout Catholic young adults to spend time out in the world. If they go to Catholic schools K-12, then go directly to seminary for 8 years, what real-world experience (summer mission trips and apostolics do not count- those are guided!) do they have? They don’t know what it is like to be in an institution that is not church-based. It seems there are a lot of learning experiences they’d miss out on if they didn’t spend some time in the world as a layman. (Those they could influence and/or help would miss out too).

I also know that teenagers and young adults often relate well to someone who still comes across as young to them.

If someone is ready then someone is ready. Age should not be the main determanent. :shrug:

Our two priests are both wonderful. One was a later vocation, the other entered seminary as a young man. They are both great priests - they each have qualities they make them a tremendous asset to the Church.

Every priest, I would think, feels the call differantly. Some earlier, some later. There are some who grow up knowing that they want to be priests, there are others in their late 30s who suddenly feel that God is calling them to do more in life.

I believe people going when they are called is best. If they are called soon in life, that is when they should go. If they are called late in life, then that is when they should go. If it is truly God calling them, it will never be bad.

Late vocations with longtime real life experience are blessing for the Church. In contemporary time people need to hear more testimonies, not just theological explanations.
In my country having not a few young priests being ordained at the age of 24-25 after 6 yrs formation would be good to set the entrance age higher. It could only help them.

Who am I to judge God’s timing?

If a person is drawn to their vocation later or earlier in life, I am sure that God has a special reason for His timing that may not neccessarily be revealed to me.

So I guess my answer is that both early and late vocations are a good and beautiful thing - and I trust that God will bless the Church through all vocations as each individual is called to their own vocation through their own unique circumstances.

in love and faith,

I think it depends on the individual situations. In general I think later vocations are great, as are early vocations.