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Roman Catholic Priest Job Description, Career as a Roman Catholic Priest, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Salary: $70,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Very Good

Job Description

Roman Catholic priests tend to the spiritual and sometimes emotional needs of their parishioners. They are in charge of most matters within their Church, and this can involve a great deal of responsibilities. They are considered to be subject matters within their religion, and therefore are often who their parishioners turn to in times of need. They work to support the members of their parish in any way possible.

Priests within this denomination are often involved in a wide array of different responsibilities. One of the major responsibilities that they are involved with is preparing and delivering the weekly mass ritual each week. They must prepare a homily or a sermon that will be a big part of the mass, and therefore they must be well versed in public speaking. They must help their parishioners to understand what the readings are about and how to relate them to their everyday life.
Another important responsibility of most Roman Catholic priests is to handle all of the necessary sacraments of their parishioners. They administer communion at mass and to those with special needs in their home. They perform weddings, baptisms, and funerals, as this is a big part of the church overall. They also hear confessions of the parishioners and handle all of the work that goes along with each of these sacraments.

A big part of their job is founded in education, and they perform this in several ways. They educate the people of the parish on religious practices and meanings. They work to educate the children through the school or classes offered. They educate those wishing to convert to this religion and offer them the counseling that they need. They may be required to perform research as they prepare their educational tools and work to provide support and answers to those within their parish.

Education and Training Requirements

Most priests must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. It is expected that they have this educational requirement fulfilled, but this is not where the requirements end. They also must continue on with theological studies and it is expected that they spend some time and successfully complete related coursework at a seminary or similar type of facility. This is what will form the basis of their education and knowledge for their job, and therefore it is a rather important requirement for the job itself.

Getting the Job

Experience and education really play a factor in getting the job. It’s really important for somebody wishing to enter the priesthood that they have fulfilled the necessary educational requirements. This will play into their overall knowledge of the religion as well as their understanding of their role specifically. This coupled with the right experience are what will help them to land the job in the future as they wish to move throughout their career. Oftentimes a priest works within the same parish for years and may do all of their work there. However if they wish to move to another parish or a higher position, then they really must demonstrate some solid experience.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

The good news for those wishing to enter the priesthood is that there are plenty of good opportunities out there. Right now, the demand outweighs the number of candidates and therefore this means plenty of opportunities open for those with the right qualifications and interest. Those who have completed the educational requirements or particularly who have the right experience should have no trouble in finding a job. This demand is expected to continue as the need for priests continues to increase, with far less men entering the priesthood than in the past.

Working Conditions and Environment

A Roman Catholic priest generally works within a Church of their own. Though they may travel to other churches in their area to say a mass or to perform a certain sacrament, they generally work within their own specific church much of the time. They may perform services in the church itself, or may work within the classrooms on the various forms of education. They often have an office where they handle all administrative work and where they may meet with parishioners or those with needs. They travel to where the job dictates such as funeral homes or other venues. They generally have to be pretty patient as the responsibilities of the job can be rather pressing at times. They must be good listeners as they are put into that role quite often.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a Roman Catholic priest is generally in the area of about $70,000 per year. This may vary greatly based on the size of parish that they support, the level of responsibilities that they handle, the geographical location that they work within, and even the level of experience that they bring to the job. These may all play into a significantly higher salary, or sometimes lower in some instances. Typically priests also earn some wonderful benefits such as rent and a place to live, food expenses, health insurance, retirement account, and sometimes even a car or other benefits depending on their parish.

Where to Go for More Information

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate
2300 Wisconsin Avenue NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 687-8080

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20017-1194
(202) 541-3000

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service