Spiritual formation is at the heart of any Seminary program. The College Seminary Spiritual Director coordinates the Program of Spiritual Formation. This program intends to promote and foster a spiritual life for students, as individuals and members of a community, through which they become better prepared to enter into intimate union with God the Father through his Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Growth in the spiritual life is fostered in many different ways. Formed by the Word of God, the seminarian is guided to discern his response to God’s call. The college seminary community gathers daily for the Holy Eucharist, and morning and evening prayer. Since a sustained communion with God is essential for the discernment to the priestly life, students are expected to set aside time each day for personal prayer and spiritual reading. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered daily before the celebration of the Eucharist. Also, different devotions are an important aspect of the seminary’s spiritual life. The purpose of the Spiritual Formation Program is to implement the spiritual development aspects of the Program for Priestly Formation by fostering in its seminarians the attitudes, habits, and practices of their spiritual life that will help them discern God’s presence in the world and in their lives.
In order to accomplish this, the Spiritual Formation Program sets for itself the objective of forming seminarians in light of the following goals:
- Seminarians who progressively develop their identity as men with a God-given human vocation.
- Seminarians who progressively develop their sense of identification with the Church.
- Seminarians who develop a sense of the value and relevance of the sacramental life to their human and Christian vocation.
- Seminarians who progressively develop their understanding that love of God and love of fellow human beings is the foundation of a well-formed conscience.
- Seminarians who progressively grow in love of their immediate community and of the human community at large.
- Seminarians who progressively develop their understanding that the priestly vocation is a vocation to service.
- Seminarians who progressively develop their understanding of the importance of prayer and discernment in the life of service to the Church community.
- Seminarians who progressively develop an appreciation of the importance and value of celibacy to their priestly vocation.
RETREATS - Retreats for spiritual growth are an integral part of seminary life. Days of Recollection are scheduled throughout the year, generally under the guidance of an outside director. In addition, there is a three-day retreat for the new seminarians as part of their New Student Experience and a major retreat is held annually for the whole student body.
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION - At the beginning of each academic year, every seminarian chooses a Spiritual Director from a list of designated priests. He meets with his Spiritual Director at least twice a month. The spiritual director is the key person in every seminarian’s personal and spiritual growth, especially regarding his discernment of a vocation to the priesthood. According to Church law, their relationship is conducted in an atmosphere of confidentiality. All seminarians are required to take advantage of spiritual direction.
LITURGICAL LIFE - The college seminary is a house of prayer, and as such, liturgical life is intimately linked to all areas of formation. The center of that liturgical life is the Eucharist. Mass is celebrated daily, and seminarians are required to attend and assist with serving in various functions. Multicultural traditions are respected, with proper deference to the heritage of various Latin responses and chants. The Liturgy of the Hours is also a daily ingredient in the prayer life of a man discerning the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and is celebrated in common as part of the liturgical life of the college seminary. Private devotions are encouraged, and the Rosary and a Holy Hour with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament are celebrated in common on a weekly basis. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is encouraged within the context of spiritual direction. The sacrament is also available through penance services and before each daily mass.