|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|
Overview: According to Pastores dabo vobis, no. 43, an appropriate human formation is the necessary foundation for the whole task of priestly formation. For this reason Saint Vincent Seminary seeks through its human formation program to assist the future priest in developing his personality in such a way that he becomes a bridge for others in their meetings with Jesus Christ. The Seminary assists the priesthood candidate in knowing the depths of his own heart, understanding his own gifts and difficulties, learning trust and cooperation, and exercising serene and objective judgment, all the while guiding him to become the man and image of God only he can become.
Community: In the mystery of his unfolding life, God calls each priesthood candidate to be a “man of communion.” Saint Vincent Seminary therefore trains the future priest to be responsible for a community of faith. Such a call and trust requires that during his seminary years he learn to be affable, hospitable, sincere, prudent, discreet, approachable, generous, ready to serve, capable of opening himself to fraternal relationships, and quick to understand, forgive, and console (Pastores dabo vobis, no. 43).
Affective Maturity: Human formation builds upon affective maturity. Affective maturity itself presupposes the awareness that love has a central role to play in human life, a love that involves the entire person and is not impoverished by a social and cultural atmosphere that links it solely with the body and selfish pleasure. Through the human formation program Saint Vincent Seminary challenges and mentors its students to recognize and exercise proper discipline over the expression of their emotions, and to grow into “mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Pastores dabo vobis, no. 44; Eph 4:13).
Celibacy: It is in this context of responsible love and affective maturity that formation for celibacy takes place. In view of the commitment to celibacy, affective maturity brings to human relationships a love for Christ, which overflows into a generous dedication of oneself to Christ, the Church, and the whole of the human family. At Saint Vincent Seminary candidates for the priesthood learn to be prudent in their relationships and to renounce anything that is a threat to celibate chastity, so that as future priests they will be able to live celibate chastity with faithfulness and joy, and with realistic expectations about the challenges to the celibate life which they will confront. The human formation program includes clear and emphatic training in self-knowledge and personal freedom, which allows the future priest to be master of himself, open to others, and generous in service to his neighbor (Pastores dabo vobis, no. 44, PPF no. 90-96).
Simplicity of Life: A priest is called to live a life of simplicity and detachment from the world. The diocesan and Benedictine faculty and staff members at Saint Vincent Seminary set a positive example for the seminarians in this regard, so that they may become generous and responsible in the stewardship of earthly goods, and especially in service to the poor. The seminarians are trained to be prudent and conscientious in the use of parish resources for the sake of building up the parish community under the direction of their bishop (PPF no. 97-99).
Ecclesial Authority and Obedience: The exercise of authority and the response of obedience are works of grace, goodwill, and human effort that play a part in the life of every priest. In light of this reality Saint Vincent Seminary teaches its students to appreciate and integrate the necessary role that authority plays in any vibrant community and to recognize the spiritual dimension of authority and obedience in the Catholic Church. Through instruction and the lived example of the faculty the seminarians are taught to manifest in heart and mind adherence to the Word of God, to the Church’s Magisterium, and to their own bishop or superior, as they seek the truth in charity. Such a disposition is manifested by a spirit of joyful trust, open dialogue, and generous cooperation with those in authority (Pastores dabo vobis, no. 27-28; PPF, no. 100-102).