Priestly formation involves the integration of four areas (academic, pastoral, spiritual and human formation), all directed towards the unique vocation of configuration to Christ to act in his person as head and pastor of the Church and in the name of the whole people of God as conferred in the Sacrament of Orders. Thus all formation is preparation to proclaim the Gospel to the world and to build up the Church in the name and person of Christ, the head and shepherd (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 15).
Academic formation promotes serious intellectual inquiry into, and mastery of, essential aspects of the Catholic religious tradition and its history. The goal of this doctrinal instruction is that students acquire, along with a general culture in accord with the needs of contemporary society, extensive and solid learning in the sacred disciplines. After they have been grounded and nourished in their own faith, they are prepared to proclaim the Gospel to those they have been assigned to serve. In philosophical studies, students examine the heritage of philosophy which prepares them to understand theology by perfecting their human development and sharpening their minds. Theological studies, imparted in the light of faith and under the guidance of the Magisterium, lead students into a solid understanding of Catholic doctrine based on divine revelation (cf. can. 248, 251, and 252). Learn more about the Goals and Objectives of the Seminary Academic Program
Spiritual Formation exists to be an integrative force within the entire formation experience. In the context of daily Mass and communal prayer, through availability of the sacraments and individual spiritual direction, and during scheduled days of reflection and retreats, seminarians are assisted in developing a sound spiritual life including awareness of the human need for redemption, prayerful communion with God (ways of prayer, rule of life, spiritual reading), growing conversion, love of others, love for the Church (integration of beliefs and actions so that personal beliefs are consonant with public behavior), vocational discernment, mature celibate love for others, simplicity of life, the spirit of obedience, ecclesial prayer, concern for justice, and pastoral care. It further serves to foster an enduring spirituality which will deepen after one leaves the Seminary. Learn more about the Goals and Objectives of the Seminary Spiritual Formation Program
Pastoral formation provides for the personal engagement of seminarians in Church ministry under the guidance of supervisors. It assists seminarians in their development of ministerial skills (e.g., pastoral counseling, preaching, organizing, and catechizing) so as to prepare them to serve effectively in advancing the mission of the Church. In the parish setting, present-day social, political, environmental, moral, and ecclesial issues are confronted in their relation to the Christian faith. At the same time, the parish experience prompts reflection on the ecclesial context of pastoral ministry, including the specific responsibilities of the priest, skills of collaborative leadership, and promotion of the gifts and charismata of others in the Church community. Learn more about the Goals and Objectives of the Seminary Pastoral Formation Program
Human Formation seeks to promote in the candidate for diocesan priesthood a level of affective maturity with which a man can commit himself to Christ, to the Church, and to priestly life and ministry with true self- knowledge and acceptance, inner freedom, emotional balance, and a generous capacity for self-giving. Such development occurs through daily interactions within the Seminary community and, more specifically, in the life and activities of one’s class and corridor through regular participation in the days and evenings of human spiritual formation and through open and self-disclosing conversations with one’s spiritual director and faculty adviser. Learn more about the the Goals and Objectives of the Seminary Human Formation Program