Saint Vincent Seminary

Accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved:

MA in Ecclesial Ministry, MDiv, MA

The Commission contact information is:
The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States
and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275, USA
Telephone: 412-788-6505 • Fax: 412-788-6510 • Website:

Educational and Vocational Effectiveness Statement: 2015

Critical to an accurate evaluation of any institution’s educational and vocational effectiveness is consideration of its mission. The mission of a Roman Catholic seminary is always twofold—namely, it is first of all a place of vocational discernment to the Roman Catholic priesthood, and, secondly, it is an academic institution charged with the appropriate education and formation of those who are discerning a priestly vocation. Discernment of this vocation continues in both an active and passive manner throughout the student’s years in the seminary. This means that each student is both being formed and informed. Each student is also being evaluated, not only on the basis of his academics, but also on the basis of his human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation—the so-called, “four pillars” of formation. For this reason, a student who matriculates into a seminary could potentially have the academic ability to perform well and succeed, but if it is discerned by him and his formation directors, in conjunction with his diocese or sponsor, that he does not have a true vocation to the Catholic priesthood, he would not be encouraged to continue in the program and would subsequently withdraw. Another reason for withdrawal is that seminarians are assigned to Roman Catholic seminaries by their sponsors (bishops or religious superiors). It does happen that from time to time a bishop is changed, resigns, or dies, and the new bishop is free to reassign his seminarians to whichever seminary he chooses. Occasionally a bishop might simply change his mind as to where he wants to assign his seminarians for whatever reason, and so he withdraws his men from one seminary and sends them to another. All of these reasons account for the fact that in seminaries there tends to be a relatively high attrition rate when compared to regular colleges or universities. Because of this fact, when evaluating the educational and vocational effectiveness of a seminary, one needs to look not only at the graduation percentages, but also at the vocational retention or perseverance rates after graduation. This rate is often more significant since it attests to the value and quality, not only of the academic achievements of the students but also to the formation programs of the seminary, the vocational discernment, and the personal commitment of those students while they were in the seminary.

In what follows, we first present the Matriculation and Completion Rates, 2000-2015, and then the Retention Rates for Post-Ordination Students (Priest—graduates) from 1989 to 2015. The first table presents the matriculation and completion results based upon four categories of students: M.A. Degree students, M.Div. Degree students, Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) Degree students, and Others (Non-degree students in Pre-Theology and Continuing Education Theological Students).

“You will know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7, 16-20)


Saint Vincent Seminary is the fourth oldest Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States. It has its canonical foundation in the papal bull Inter ceteras (1855), issued by Pope Pius IX, but its actual origins go back to the vision of a single Benedictine monk from Bavaria, Boniface Wimmer (1809-1887), who founded Saint Vincent Archabbey, College, and Seminary in 1846. Since then nearly 3000 men have been ordained to the priesthood, and among our distinguished alumni are 30 bishops, archbishops, and cardinals.

Perhaps the most definitive sign of the success of a seminary program is the perseverance of its priest-graduates in their priestly ministries in the years after their ordinations. An analysis of the data on the graduates of Saint Vincent Seminary speaks volumes regarding the effectiveness of the formation and educational programs of our seminary. Saint Vincent Seminary is proud to show that since 1989, of those who completed their studies in the M.Div. or Ordination Non-Degree Programs and were ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, 94.2% are still in active ministry. This speaks very highly to the quality of both our formational and educational effectiveness.

Retention Statistics for Saint Vincent Seminary Graduates

  • Total Ordained to Priesthood 311
  • Total Who Departed Priesthood* 18
  • Total who remain in Active Ministry 293
  • Retention Percentage 94.2%
  • *By departure is meant “Canonical Departure” from the priesthood.


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