The program at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary seeks to foster the human, spiritual, academic and pastoral formation of its seminarians. The seminary’s program also uniquely respects and utilizes the life experiences and accomplishments of its seminarians as it prepares them for ordained ministry. The Seminary’s program is grounded in the Ratio Fundamentalis of the Holy See, the Program of Priestly Formation of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Post-Synodal Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis.
The Seminary strives to be a true community of faith and charity. A climate of mutual respect, responsible communication and collaboration assists those in formation to develop leadership skills appropriate for “public persons” of the Church and builders of Christian community. Seminarians are challenged to become stewards of their gifts in community, capable of forming meaningful relationships, willing to minister to the needs of one another and responsive to the call to share their faith.
In order that his ministry may be humanly as credible and acceptable as possible, it is important that the priest should mold his human personality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the Redeemer of humanity.
( Pastores Dabo Vobis, #43)
Spiritual Formation is at the heart of Seminary life. The goal of the program is to help each seminarian become a priest after the mind and heart of Christ. Each seminarian is accompanied on his spiritual journey by a priest who is his spiritual director. The director has been blessed through grace and training for this privileged ministry of assisting the seminarians in their ongoing discernment of a priestly vocation. It is our expectation that the program will deepen within the seminarians a life of virtue, discipline and a deep love for the Lord and the Church.
The spiritual life is, indeed, an interior life, a life of intimacy with God, a life of prayer and contemplation. But this very meeting with God and with his fatherly love for everyone brings us face to face with the need to meet our neighbor, to give ourselves to others, to serve in a humble and disinterested fashion, following the example which Jesus has proposed to everyone…
(Pastores Dabo Vobis, #49)
The Seminary’s pastoral formation efforts consist of two carefully coordinated elements: academic coursework in pastoral studies and the co-curricular internship programs. The former includes classes and practica in pastoral, sacramental and liturgical ministries, counseling and parish administration. The latter entails off-campus supervised internships for the development of pastoral skills and for experiencing ministries in a variety of Church apostolates.
The whole formation imparted to candidates for the priesthood aims at preparing them to enter into communion with the charity of Christ the Good Shepherd. Hence, their formation in its different aspects must have a fundamentally pastoral character.
(Pastores Dabo Vobis, #57)
The Seminary’s academic program seeks to assist candidates in attaining the various competencies and skills necessary for pastoral ministry today. Acquiring the competencies to proclaim the gospel effectively in this present situation is accomplished in cooperation with others: faculty, staff, and fellow seminarians, who strive to support each other’s growth with mutual care and concern.
Intellectual formation has its own characteristics, but it is also deeply connected with, and indeed can be seen as a necessary expression of, both human and spiritual formation: it is a fundamental demand of the human intelligence by which one “participates in the light of God’s mind” and seeks to acquire a wisdom which in turn opens to and is directed toward knowing and adhering to God.
(Pastores Dabo Vobis, #51)