The Diocese of Orange County, Southern Calif. opened its door to accepting older men to the vocation of the priesthood.
“This was a new initiative of Bishop Kevin Vann, who assumed office just two years ago,” said Fr. John Moneypenny, the director of vocations for the Diocese of Orange.
Much as this is [fairly] new for Orange County, Bishop Vann has been an avid supporter of older men entering the priesthood for many years now. In 2013, Bishop Vann received an award from Sacred Heart School of Theology (Wisconsin) for his longstanding support for the formation of older men and for his firm belief in the value of priestly vocations for men over the age of 30. Sacred Heart is the number one seminary in North America to specialize in older seminarians.
A viable candidate must first be a resident of Orange County. He must have a college or advanced degree, some professional life experiences, and financial stability.
He must also be single in the eyes of the church upon application. Single would mean that he is widowed, annulled, or never been married. It is also advisable that his children (if any) would have been old enough to support themselves.
To date, Orange County has several different cultural communities.
“ We also very welcome candidates who can speak and write Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Polish, and even Samoan,” said Moneypenny.”
According to Jonathan Drayna, the director of communications at Sacred Heart Theology School in Wisconsin, some men heard the calling of God to make them priests early on in their lives but decided not to listen.
“Now is the time to revisit what God has called them what to do initially,” said Drayna.
Below is the audio excerpt from Drayna’s phone interview:
If any older man (in his 30s – 50s) feels like he is receiving a call from God to become a priest, he must consult his parish to be recommended to the Orange Diocese Vocation’s Office.
If interested, one can visit the Diocese of Orange Vocations Office or call (714) 282-3033 for more information.