You don't have to discern alone.

Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 34:3

the aspirancy program

of the Archdiocese of Newark

There are many instances in a man’s life that may cause him to think, “Is God calling me to be one of His priests?” When that question is whispered to a young man’s heart and continues to resurface throughout his life, it just might be the Holy Spirit asking him to discern—to find the answer to that question.


Is God calling me

to be one of his priests?

The purpose of the Aspirancy Program is to assist men in the prayerful consideration of that question. Through this active and exclusive discernment program, an Aspirant can discover how God is calling him to give of himself to Christ and His Church.

After a period of aspirancy, the man will assuredly be able to make the decision to either enter the seminary or recognize that God may be calling him to religious or married life.

The Aspirancy Program is a perfect way to find the answer to the question that God may be placing on your heart, "Is God Calling the priesthood?"

Frequently asked questions

What exactly is an Aspirant?

An aspirant is a man who meets regularly with a priest, spiritual director and the other aspirants in group discussions. He goes on retreats with seminarians that focus on listening to God’s will for him, and on pilgrimages to journey with the Lord. Over the course of several months, the aspirant will hopefully grow in his friendship with Christ and realize how he can offer the best gift of himself to Christ and His Church.

What does the program look like?

The program will prayerfully explore various topics including:
• Friendship With Christ & Prayer
• Making a Gift of Self • Missionary Discipleship
• Celibacy & Chastity • Relationships
• Obedience • Simplicity • Joy

The Program will also offer the Aspirant the opportunity to accompany priests in their ministry through:
• Serving in their parishes for Christmas and Holy Week
• Shadowing a priest mentor in various activities and ministries
• Having dinner and open conversations with priests and seminarians

Is it a big commitment?

There is a level of commitment to the program, including:
• monthly meetings with a priest mentor and/or spiritual director
• monthly Aspirancy discernment meetings
• attending events with the Vocations Office throughout the year
• dedicating time to prayer and the Sacraments, etc.
You do not have to quit school, your job, or move away from home. The program will demand time, dedication, and effort, but will be tailor-made for you based on your age and other circumstances.

Is there an age limit?

We have custom programs for men in High School and College.
We also have a "Working Man's" Aspirancy Program for those ages 21-40.

Is this program required?

Yes. Any man seeking to apply as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Newark must enroll in and complete the Aspriancy Program.

Do I need to be sure God is calling me to the priesthood?

Absolutely not! The program is designed for men who are seriously asking the question and discerning whether or not the priesthood is what God has created him for. The goal of Aspirancy is to determine whether one should enter seminary, pursue married life, or religious/consecrated life.

How do I become an Aspirant?

There is open enrollment into the program throughout the year.
Those interested in learning more about the Aspirancy Program should contact the Vocations Office at 973-313-6190.

I'm still not sure I'm ready for Aspirancy, what else can I do?

You are more than welcome to attend a "Come and See" evening at the seminary. This will give you a chance to ask more questions and learn a little bit more about what seminary and the priesthood are all about.
You can also speak to your parish priest or the Vocation Director - feel free to call us at 973-313-6190.