Formation Program
Pillar I: Human Formation
Pillar II: Spiritual Formation
Pillar III: Intellectual Formation
Pillar IV: Pastoral Formation
The Formation Schedule
Special Formation Programs
The Pre-Theology Program


Like all U.S. seminaries, Saint Vincent seeks to “foster the formation of future priests by attending specifically to their human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation,” the four pillars of priestly formation presented by Pope John Paul II in the 1992 Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, and applied to the USCCB’s fifth edition of the Program of Priestly Formation, published in 2006 (no. 70). However, each seminary approaches these formation pillars in a manner that is unique to its institu­tional charism. For Saint Vincent Seminary, these “pillars” are understood as inter-relational dimen­sions that must be presented in an integrated manner, yet without compromising the unique char­acter of each.

Here, one can appreciate how natural such an approach is to a Benedictine environment that seeks to cultivate personal holiness within the context of community life. Classic Benedictine mottos such as “work and prayer,” “stability and conversion of life,” and “obedience as the hallmark of free will,” dem­onstrate a predisposition toward integration. Nevertheless, each formation pillar is unique in its own right and requires specific coverage.

Saint Vincent Seminary requires priesthood candidates to complete a program of priestly formation that requires at least four years. An average course load consists of 16 credits per semester for eight semesters. Those who have not met the requirements for admission into the Seminary’s four-year Priestly Formation Program may be admitted into the Seminary’s Pre-Theology Program, which is de­signed for students who have an undergraduate degree but are lacking in the philosophical, spiritual and religious foundation required for admission to first theology.

The Seminary is open to accepting undergraduate students who have successfully completed two full years of undergraduate work in an accredited college. They will take classes at Saint Vincent College to complete an undergraduate degree. They will participate in the Seminary’s pre-theology program and live in the Seminary community, while they finish their undergraduate work.

Formation Program Handbook: This provides an overview of our formation goals and the qualities and characteristics seminarians are expected to develop during this time of formation. Each seminarian is principally responsible for his own formation. The faculty and administration fully expect a seminarian to participate in all of the formation opportunities presented for his personal growth. This includes carefully reading through the Formation Program Handbook and reviewing it periodically in order to mark one’s progress in personal growth. Failure to fully engage the formation process may result in dismissal from the Seminary.


Program Goals:

The goals of the priestly formation program are as follows:

  • To provide priesthood candidates with a formation curriculum that is in conformity with the Program of Priestly Formation, Ratio Fundamentalis, and Sapientia Chrisitana, and that offers the Master of Divinity, Bachelor of Sacred Theology, and Master of Arts degrees;
  • To direct students in the formation process of human and spiritual development through prayer, study, supervised pastoral experience, discernment, and evaluation;
  • To test, nourish, and guide students’ priestly vocations through Seminary formation conferences, spiritual direction, fostering devotion, and faith sharing;
  • To prepare students for effective ministry of the Word, of worship, and of parish service through study and pastoral practice;
  • To assist students in the development of an ecclesial identity and readiness to accept leadership roles of service in the Church through a formative environment, the witness of a committed faculty and administration, pastoral supervision, and personal guidance.
Admission Requirements:

All applicants for priestly formation receive sponsorship from a diocese or religious order. The sponsoring diocese or religious order indicates sponsorship in a letter issued to the Seminary Academic Dean. A number of other documents are also required before the Admissions Committee can consider an applicant:

  • Completed Application
  • Proof of Medical Insurance
  • Sacramental Documentation: Parents’ Marriage Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, and Confirmation Certificate
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Psychological Profile; we recommend MMPI2; Rorschach Inkblot; Incomplete Sentence Blank; 6 PF; and a Clinical Interview. These reports remain confidential and do not become part of the student’s permanent record
  • Testimonial letters from previous seminaries or sponsoring dioceses (if applicable)
  • Official Transcripts (high school, college, and graduate school, if applicable) sent by the College/University directly to the Academic Dean.
  • TOEFL Score (International Students Only)
  • International students must submit scores from a recent TOEFL examination unless they have completed an undergraduate degree with an English language faculty. The Seminary accepts students who have a score of 550 on the paper examination, 215 on the computer examination, and 79 on the internet-based examination.
  • Admission Fee
  • Personal Interview with the Rector, Vice Rector, and Academic Dean

Notice: No acceptance letter will be sent until ALL documents have been received.

The Seminary expects applicants to meet the requirements for admission to the Master of Divinity degree program. Thirty credits in philosophy and twelve credits in undergraduate theology are re­quired for priesthood candidates by The Program of Priestly Formation, fifth edition (no. 161). Students lacking philosophy and theological studies prerequisites can enroll in the Seminary’s pre-theology program.


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