The Goals and Objectives of the Seminary Spiritual Formation Program - Saint John's Seminary
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The Goals and Objectives of the Seminary Spiritual Formation Program

Institutional Goal:

The spiritual formation program exists to be an integrative force within the entire formation experience. The spiritual formation program aims to aid the student’s ordered spiritual life in the Seminary and also to foster an enduring spirituality which will deepen after one leaves the Seminary. Core areas of concern, running through all of the goals of the program, include the following: awareness of 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, celibate love, simplicity of life, spirit of obedience, ecclesial prayer, concern for justice, and pastoral care.

Goal 1: that students receive individual spiritual direction and thus be individually assisted in developing a sound spiritual life in company with personal maturation, and in coming to closer union with Christ, knowledge and acceptance of self, mature love for others and for the Church, and discernment of vocation.


a. through the requirement that each student choose a spiritual director each year from among the priests specially designated and prepared for this work;

b. through regular meetings between a student and his spiritual director;

c. through referrals made, in particular cases, to one of a number of designated professional psychological counselors.

Goal 2: that students experience periods of sustained prayer and reflection to promote their listening attentively and their responding wholeheartedly to the invitation to deeper communion with God, growing self-knowledge and self-acceptance, and mature love for others.


a. through encouragement, especially within individual spiritual direction, of each student’s own efforts to maintain a daily rhythm of life which incorporates times for prayer and reflection;

b. through Seminary-sponsored retreats scheduled twice a year (three days in the fall semester; five days between the semesters);

c. through a half-day of recollection in the fall semester as well as a day of recollection which introduces the Lenten season.

Goal 3: that students be provided with time, place, and leadership for common instruction which publicly expresses Catholic spiritual teaching, allows for some corporate reflection on that teaching, supports individual efforts toward spiritual growth, and suggests areas for a student’s more personal dialogue in individual spiritual direction.


a. through a program of planned topics, treated in six meetings for each class during each year;

b. through the work of Catechism of the Catholic Church, as introducing students to the foundational realities to be faced in living a Christian spiritual life.

Goal 4: that students have the opportunity for sustained study of the Catholic spiritual tradition and its influence on life in Church and world.

Objective: through course offerings in spirituality which focus on particular aspects of the spiritual tradition and of contemporary spiritual life.

Goal 5: that students be encouraged and assisted in approaching God with prayerful personal repentance in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


a. through the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation within individual spiritual direction sessions;

b. through the weekly availability of that Sacrament;

c. through seasonal reconciliation services planned in conjunction with the Director of Liturgy in the School of Theology.

Goal 6: that members of the team of spiritual directors be involved in ongoing enrichment in their areas of expertise.


a. through regularly scheduled department meetings which provide opportunities for ongoing group supervision and for the discussion of central issues relevant to Seminary formation;

b. through membership of the Seminary and the individual spiritual directors in the National Federation of Seminary Spiritual Directors, as well as regular participation in the annual conference of this group.