Pillars of Formation

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St. Mary’s Seminary & University has designed its priestly formation program with the expressed purpose of preparing its seminarians to assume greater and more demanding pastoral responsibilities immediately following ordination. Community life, prayer, academics, pastoral experience, and spiritual formation all contribute in very specific ways to the formation of a priest who can be a good shepherd to his people. These programs are intentionally integrated so that significant pastoral formation takes place in learning parishes, hospitals, and other settings during the academic year. In addition, all academic courses have specific “pastoral outcomes” indicated in the course syllabi.

The purpose of the Pastoral Formation Program at St. Mary’s Seminary is to help seminarians understand the dynamics of Catholic parishes in the Church today and learn how to apply their theological and pastoral education to the realities of parish life. For that purpose, select local parishes  and hospitals are the sites of pastoral training for every seminarian. The seminary faculty leads the process of mentoring, evaluation, and theological reflection on pastoral experience so that seminarians develop the necessary leadership skills for priestly ministry today.

The Pastoral Formation Program includes five integrated components: parish ministerial service, academic courses, seminary workshops, faculty mentoring, and pastoral team learning.

As a key component of pastoral formation, the homiletics program seeks to form seminarians into effective preachers by emphasizing the development of a spiritual, pastoral, and theological imagination for the ministry of the Word. Seminarians have ready access to a communications studio and a variety of faculty and technological means for enhancing their preaching ability.

In order to broaden a seminarian’s understanding of international and global issues and the ecumenical context of the pastor’s role today, St. Mary’s provides seminarians the opportunity to work with Catholic Relief Services , participate in Spanish language acquisition and cultural programs, and take approved elective courses in The Ecumenical Institute of Theology in order to expand their ecumenical, interfaith, and ministerial horizons.