The Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program was created as a formal relationship between the AMS and cooperating U.S. dioceses and religious communities to encourage men to pursue priesthood in the U.S. military and throughout the Church by supporting vocations drawn largely from the armed forces.
The Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program financially supports men who show evidence of a vocation to priestly ministry in the armed forces. Contractually, Co-Sponsorship means that the AMS and the seminarian’s home diocese or religious community agree to share equally the cost of all seminary related expenses with the understanding that the man will serve as an active duty military chaplain upon graduation from seminary, ordination, and completion of at least three (3) years of priestly ministry with his diocese or religious community.
Who is eligible?
Any single Catholic young man who is a US citizen with college experience who shows signs of having a vocation to priestly ministry, can meet the academic requirements for seminary training, and qualifies for military service is eligible to apply.
A candidate must be able to enter active duty before age 42. Adjustments on the entry age may be made for those with prior military service as long as the total number of years of military service can equal twenty years or more.
If you are currently a seminarian, you must first discuss your interest in the military chaplaincy with your formation director and bishop or religious superior; follow his directions.
If you are a laymen, military or civilian, and not yet formally accepted to a diocese or religious community priesthood formation program, you may contact the Director of Vocations, Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
Procedures to Follow:
Step 1: If you are a seminarian, discuss your interest and discernment regarding the military chaplaincy with your formation directors and bishop or religious superior. Follow their directions.
If you are a layman, military or civilian, and not yet formally accepted to a diocese or religious community priesthood formation program, and feel a call to the priesthood and the military chaplaincy, prayerfully seek the advice of your Catholic military priest-chaplain (if you are on active duty), or your local parish priest. He will put you in touch with the vocations director in your home diocese. The vocations director can outline the steps to discern your call, enter into seminary formation, and become an ordained priest. You may also contact our AMS Director of Vocations for information and guidance.
Step 2: With their permission contact the AMS Director of Vocations. You will then be asked to complete a survey which provides personal, academic, ecclesiastical, and military information about yourself. On the basis of information gathered, specific guidance will be offered to you by the AMS Office of Vocations.
Step 3: Attend one of the two annual vocation discernment retreats sponsored by the AMS. This retreat will give you the opportunity to meet with the AMS Director of Vocations and military priest-chaplains from the different branches of service to learn more about the rewards and challenges of serving both God and your country.
Step 4: If a mutual decision has been made between you and your bishop or religious superior giving you permission to be a co-sponsored seminarian chaplain candidate, you will then be invited to apply for the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program.