How the seminary ensures happy, holy, healthy priests

Seminarians sitting in a classroom learning from a professor
Seminarians gather for interactive classroom discussion to help deepen their faith.

Seminary is much more than classes and daily Mass. A key component is a fruitful but thorough formation and evaluation experience aimed at helping a man grow and properly discern his vocation.

The ultimate end: Men fit to be happy, holy, healthy priests who joyfully serve their parishes.

In addition to their intellectual-focused academic studies, seminarians at The Saint Paul Seminary attend a weekly formation program. This formation is intended to help them grow deeper with their peers in learning and discussing selected topics.

Along with that, seminarians take part in formal evaluations with their formators and rectors throughout the year.

Every week, seminarians gather by class for interactive presentations, seminars or small group discussions designed to deepen their integration across the human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral dimensions of formation. Conferences focus on topics that are important for all disciples, including prayer and virtue, as well as those particular to the priestly vocation, such as simplicity of life, celibacy and obedience. These sessions have a developmental arc over their years of formation.

Drawing upon the expertise of the formation faculty and staff, including a full-time, licensed psychologist, seminarians are accompanied in reflecting on their personal history in order to grow in self-knowledge and self-acceptance, so as to make an “authentic gift of self to Christ and His Church” (cf. PPF5,80).

As called for in the Program of Priestly Formation, each seminarian’s progress and development in formation is monitored and reviewed in a general way throughout the year and more intensively during a formal evaluation each spring semester.

Seminary staff partner with the seminarian’s director of vocation and bishop throughout the process.

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