"Many are called
But few are chosen "
The best formation the Church offers!
The seminary is the place where a man is formed mind, body, and soul into the image of Jesus Christ. Seminaries are not places where men walk around in silence all day chanting in Latin. Rather, they are places of joy, camaraderie, and deep learning! Today’s seminarians experience the best formation the Church offers!
Learn more about our propedeuctic year seminary: English College, Valladolid
Learn more about our diocesan seminary: St Mary's College, Oscott
Learn more about other seminaries at which our students are studying: Venerable English College, Rome
The process of formation for the priesthood normally takes six years, during which time the seminarians live in a community of formation built around prayer and study.
In 1992, Pope St John Paul II published a document on seminary formation, entitled Pastores Dabo Vobis ('I will give you shepherds'). In this document, the Pope defined four areas of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. While each of these are independent 'strands' of formation, they share the one purpose of forming each man who enters the seminary into a priest, whose heart must be conformed ever more closely to that of Jesus Christ. For more information on these 'strands' of formation, click here
What is daily life like for a typical seminarian? In a word: busy. Because the demands of priesthood are so great, formation of future priests is rigorous. In addition to master’s-level academics, seminarians pray together at least twice a day, go to daily Mass, meet with their spiritual directors, and go to pastoral assignments at local parishes. Plus there are special meetings, workshops, and homework.
Installation of Ministries
Seminarians progress through several formal steps on their way to priesthood, typically in the timeframe presented below (with some variations, depending on the seminary). Note that the first two ministries are also held by lay people throughout the Church.
Ministry of Lector: Proclaim the word of God in a liturgical assembly.
Ministry of Acolyte: Assist the deacon and priest during Mass.
Admission to Candidacy: The bishop formally calls a man to be ordained.
Ordination to Diaconate: A man is ordained to proclaim the gospel at mass, preach, baptise, witness marriages, and assist the priest in bringing Jesus to people in need.
Ordination to Priesthood: A man is ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Four Pillars of Priestly Formation
Being a priest is not a job: it is a taking on a new identity; it is becoming alter Christus, another Christ. To this end, the Church requires rigorous formation in four key areas:
Human formation: learning how to form the future priests’ personality to be a bridge to Christ; how to be an effective public spokesperson for the Church.
Spiritual formation: developing a deep and mature relationship with Christ through prayer and virtuous living.
Intellectual formation: understanding the truths of the Faith and cultivating the skills to teach the Faith to others.
Pastoral formation: learning how to be a “shepherd of souls,” helping parishioners through the joys and trials of life.
During their formation, seminarians learn to put Christ first in all things.
Applying for Seminary
When a man reaches a certain point in his discernment, if he wants to discover if priesthood is his true vocation, he has to go to seminary. It should be stressed that entering seminary is a stage of discernment, not a decision to definitely become priest.
1. Contact the Vocation Director.
Discernment always happens with the help of the Church. The diocese needs to get to know you better before offering you a seminary application.
2. The application process.
Applying to become a seminarian is a bit like applying to college, but with additional screening components such as background checks and medical and psychological screening.
3. Vocation review board.
After a personal interview and a careful review of your file, the Admissions Board makes the final decision on whether an applicant is accepted.
Many men find the application process to be a healthy exercise in self-knowledge and a helpful part of overall discernment. To take the first steps, contact the vocations office below.