It is the purpose of the Seminary to provide an environment in which “the stay with Jesus” can lead to a mature response to follow his call to special discipleship as his priestly minister. This environment includes a sequential program which encourages and fosters spiritual and emotional maturity and intellectual and cultural growth.
The Second Vatican Council decreed that the entire training of seminarians “should be oriented to the formation of true shepherds after the model of Our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest and shepherd” (Decree on Training of Priests, n. 4). The Program of Priestly Formation (Fifth Edition-2006, no. 26) has further specified the Church’s expectations for candidates for the priesthood at the theology level:
Priestly life lived in configuration to Jesus Christ, Head and Shepherd, must necessarily manifest and give witness to the radicalism of the Gospel. In other words, priests are called to a way of life that gives evident and transparent witness to the power of the Gospel at work in their lives.
The elements of such a lifestyle–named here and to be developed elsewhere in the PPF–include:
- A way of life permeated by the three-fold charge given priests at ordination to teach, to sanctify, and to govern.
- A life of steady prayer first and foremost centered in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the liturgical cycles, also in prayer that is personal and devotional.
- A deep devotion to the person of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, Lord and Savior.
- A life of obedience that is apostolic, communal, and pastoral.
- A life lived in communion with one’s bishop and the presbyterate, a communion that includes sacramental, apostolic, and fraternal bonds
- For religious priests, a life in community with one’s fellow religious in accord with the institute’s rule of life.
- A life of celibate chastity that serves as both “a sign and stimulus of life, and as a singular source of spiritual fertility in the world” and, being freely accepted, shows that the priest is “consecrated in a new way to Christ” and offers in himself a reflection of the virginal love of Christ for the Church.
- A life of gratitude for the material blessings of God’s creation coupled with a simple and generous lifestyle that cares for and is in solidarity with the poor, works for universal justice, makes itself ready and available for all those in need, administers the goods of the community with utmost honesty, and offers a courageous prophetic witness in the world.
- A life that embraces “the mind and heart of missionaries open to the needs of the Church and the world.
- A life that promotes the array of ecclesial vocations