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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
 
 
 

Purpose: This two-year program has as its purpose the preparation of candidates for entry into the ordination program.

  • For those who have completed college but lack the philosophical and theological background necessary to enter the ordination program, this two-year program will equip them with 30 credit hours of philosophy (PPF 152-160), plus Ecclesiastical Latin, Biblical Greek, and some basic introductory undergraduate theology.
  • For those who have not yet completed an undergraduate degree, an individualized curriculum can, in most cases, allow students to complete the academic requirements for pre-theology (PPF 161) at the same time they complete the requirements for their bachelor’s degree.

Content and Goals of the Pre-Theology Curriculum: The spiritual and academic Formation Program during pre-theology aims at an adult level of affective maturity and interpersonal skills, a practical spiritual discipline, an exposure to apostolic life, and intellectual readiness for graduate theological studies. This takes place within the context of a strong community of faith and education comprised of the Benedictine community of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Saint Vincent Seminary, Saint Vincent Parish, and Saint Vincent College. This entire larger community seeks to support candidates in their vocational discernment. Pre-Theology students participate in all communal spiritual exercises of the seminary. These include daily celebration of the Eucharist, Morning and Evening Prayer, spiritual conferences, monthly days of recollection and an annual retreat. In addition each student chooses a spiritual director and meets with him regularly, focusing in these meetings on progress in prayer, spiritual reading and personal faith development.

The primary intellectual focus of the pre-theology program is the study of philosophy which is balanced, comprehensive, integrated, and coherent (PPF 155).  It has the following specific goals:

  • an introduction to the main historical periods, the major figures, and the main fields of philosophy (Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Contemporary Philosophy);
  • an introduction to major positions taken in the philosophical tradition that have significance for theology (Metaphysics, Philosophical Anthropology, Thomistic Philosophy);
  • the development of analytic and critical abilities (Logic and Ethics);
  • the development of a reflective awareness of the relation between reason and faith (Philosophy as a Foundation for Theology);
  • the development of the possibilities for a coherent vision of reality (Theories of Knowledge).

The second focus of the pre-theology program is to afford the student four courses designed to give them some of the essential and foundational “introductions” to faith, morality, spirituality, and Sacred Scripture as they prepare to begin their preparation for a life of ministry and service as priests. The entire ordination program will presume and build upon these introductions (The Basics of Catholic Faith and Culture, Introduction to Catholic Morality, Introduction to Spirituality, and Introduction to the Study of Sacred Scripture).

The majority of the Philosophy courses in our program are taught by our excellent College Philosophy Department in consultation and cooperation with the Seminary. The remainder of the philosophy and theological courses are taken through the seminary itself. Pre-theology students reside in the seminary residences, pray with the seminarians, and take their meals in the seminary dining facilities. They also partake of the integrated formation program of the Seminary for both pre-theologians and theologians which is built around the Four-Pillars of the Program of Priestly Formation (5th edition – see the description and schedule of this Formation program on pages 3-13 of this Bulletin).

Cycle of Courses for
Pre-Theology

Pre-Theology I:

Fall

  • TH 600: Intro to Philosophy - 3
  • PL 201:  Ancient Philosophy - 3
  • PL 120: Logic - 3
  • TH 620: Basics of Catholic Faith - 3
  • TH 704: Ecclesiastical Latin I - 3

Total: 15

Spring

  • PL 202: Medieval Philosophy - 3
  • PL 230: Metaphysics - 3
  • PL 215: Ethics - 3
  • TH 621: Intro to Catholic Morality - 3
  • TH 804 - Ecclessiastical Latin II - 3

Total: 15

Pre-Theology II:

Fall

  • PL 203: Modern Philosophy - 3
  • PL 210: Philosophical Anthropology - 3
  • PL 280: Thomistic Philosophy - 3
  • TH 622: Introduction to Spirituality - 3
  • HS 670: Patrology - 3

Total: 15

Spring

  • PL 204: Kant and His Successors or PL 206: 19th and 20th Century Philosophy* - 3
  • PL 220: Theories of Knowledge - 3
  • TH 612: Philosophy as a Foundation for Theology - 3
  • SC 600: Introduction to Sacred Scripture - 3

Total: 15

*Since PL 204 and PL 206 will be offered in alternating years, seminarians will take whichever is being offered.

Students who have transferred credits from another institution and need credits to fill out their schedules may enroll in up to 6 credits a semester from First Theology. Vocation Directors may request that their students take Spanish in place of Latin.

Cycle of Courses for Theology

First Theology:

Fall

  • TH 820: Fundamental Theology - 3
  • PST 721: The Bible and the Liturgy - 3
  • HS 870: Patrology - 3
  • PST 720: Worship and Ministry- 2
  • PA 712: Catechetics - 2
  • SC 701: Intro to NT Greek or an Elective - 2
  • MU 700: Intro to Music

Total: 15

Spring

  • SC 810: Pentateuch and Exegesis - 4
  • SC 815: Synoptic Gospels - 3
  • TH 821: Christian Anthropology and Grace - 3
  • TH 850: Principles of Moral Theology - 3
  • TH 840: Fundamental Liturgy - 2
  • Spirituality (PST 710: Diocesan or MS 800: Monastic) - 2/3

Total: 17/18

Second Theology

Fall

  • TH 833: Trinity - 3
  • SC 812: Prophetic Literature - 3
  • SC 811: Wisdom Literature & Psalms - 3
  • TH 853: Catholic Social Ethics - 3
  • PA 760: Pastoral Visitation of the Sick / Practicum - 2
  • Elective - 2/3

Total: 16/17

Spring

  • TH 832: Christology - 3
  • SC 816: Writings of Saint Paul - 3
  • TH 864: Mariology - 3
  • HS 871: Medieval to Counter Reformation Church History - 3
  • PST 734: Introduction to Canon Law - 3
  • PA 760: Pastoral Visitation of the Sick/ Practicum - 2

Total: 17

Third Theology:

Fall

  • TH 834: Ecclesiology - 3
  • TH 852: Catholic Sexual Ethics - 3
  • HS 872: Modern Church History - 3
  • PA 722: Homiletics I - 3
  • PST 735: Canon Law & Sacraments - 3
  • Elective - 2/3

Total: 17/18

Spring

  • TH 865: Theology of the Sacraments - 3
  • SC 817: The Fourth Gospel - 3
  • PA 751: Pastoral Counseling I - 3
  • PA 723: Homiletics II - 3
  • PA 740: Deacon Preparation Lab - 2
  • Elective - 2/3

Total: 16/17

Fourth Theology

Fall

  • TH 865: Theology of the Priesthood - 3
  • PST 750: Pastoral Theology - 3
  • PA 785: Pastoral Counseling II - 3
  • PA 764: Parish Practicum - 3
  • Integration Capstone Seminar - 2
  • MU 710: Liturgical Music - 2

Total: 16

Spring

  • TH 866: Sacraments: Mysteries of Faith - 3
  • PA 767: Priesthood Preparation Lab - 2
  • TH 857: Catholic Biomedical Ethics - 3
  • HS 873: Catholic Church in the U.S. - 3
  • PA 764: Parish Practicum - 3

Total: 14

 

The Parish Practicum includes a two week intensive period in the parish assignment. Students are given work in their other courses to be completed as part of the experience in the parish.

 



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