From a reader:
Father, I was in the seminary 14 years ago and completed firsttheology. I so badly want to return to the priesthood. I wrote my bishop andvocation director 10 times and NEVER received an answer.What does the church have about older candidates?I believe they have more experiences that those men just graduating from high schoolPlease comment.
I don’t know the circumstances of your diocese or your time in seminary. Provided that you have a clean record, are able intellectually to do the work, can live in the state of grace for extended periods of time, are free to be ordained without anything to make you irregular for orders, and that your time in seminary back then and after seminary wasn’t fraught with grave problems, I would say keep trying until you either get in or get a reason why not.
You are going to have to adopt the attitude of the the old woman in the Lord’s parable. She beat upon the judge’s door asking for her judgment until she got an answer. Similarly, in the Gospel reading for Mass in the Ordinary Form yesterday, the Canaanite woman persisted in her cries for mercy, even taking on herself in ultimately winning humility the hard word the Lord used, “dog” (actually in Greek it was softer, more like “puppy” or “pet dog”, but do nonetheless). Their persistence paid off in both cases, one a parable one an actual encounter.
Older men can bring great life experience to the priesthood. I don’t know many dioceses which can afford to reject willing, able and acceptable candidates.