Archdiocese of San Francisco

Find a Parish / Church Find a School


In his Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (I will give you Shepherds), our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II reflected on the words of the prophet Jeremiah “I will give you shepherds after my own heart.”(3:15)

Pope John Paul II wrote: “God promises his people that he will never leave them without shepherds to gather them together and guide them.” The Church, the People of God, constantly experiences the reality of this prophetic message and continues joyfully to thank God for it. He continues: “Without priests the Church would not be able to respond to the command of Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19) and “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19;cf. 1 Cor. 11:24)…By faith we know that the Lord’s promise cannot fail.”

A young man who feels called to the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese of San Francisco will minister to the Catholic faithful in the parishes, schools, and institutions of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties.

A candidate for the diocesan priesthood must complete four years of high school, four years of college and between four and six years of graduate studies in theology before ordination. 




A priest is inseparably one with Christ and with the Church. By baptism he shares in the priesthood of all believers. By ordination he is given a new relationship to Christ and to the community - he becomes configured to Christ, shepherd, head, and high priest, and represents Christ to the Church and to the world. He also represents the Church in her mission to be the sacrament of salvation to the world. The priest reminds the entire community of the baptized of its call to service in the name of Christ prophet, priest, and servant of the kingdom of God. A priest is a servant leader in the Catholic Christian community; he is called to minister in the manner of Christ who "came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).

O Jesus living in Mary,
come and live in your servants:
in the spirit of your holiness,
in the fullness of your might,
in the truth of your virtues,
in the perfection of your ways,
in the communion of your mysteries.
Subdue every hostile power,
in your Spirit
for the glory of the Father.

A priest represents the Church's teaching and tradition, sensitive to God's presence in his people and his movement in their history. A priest serves the local community for which he is ordained and the universal Church of Christ, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

The mission of St. Patrick's Seminary is to prepare priests according to the mind of Christ and the needs of the Church in our present day. There are many aspects to this formation: personal, social, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. The priest must ever see himself dependent on God for his life and existence, for his vocation and his priestly ministry in Christ. The Latin phrase of Fr. Olier, founder of the Society of St. Sulpice, expresses what must be an essential part of the priest's life: Vivere summe Deo in Christo Iesu, "To live fully to God in Christ Jesus."

Jean-Jaques Olier
1608 - 1657
Founder of the Society of St. Sulpice

Please visit the Office of Vocations website.