Living in Imitation of the Lord
Spiritual formation, by necessity, rests at the heart of priestly formation. No priest can function properly without a healthy, integrated, and well-grounded spirituality. The goal of spiritual formation is to foster and nourish the life of the Holy Spirit in each seminarian so that he may deepen his love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. Those who respond freely and willingly to God's call to priesthood and wish to dedicate their lives in faithful service to the Church, can only do so by identifying ever more closely with the person and mission of Jesus. Spiritual formation makes that identification possible. Each seminarian strives to live his daily life on the foundation of the Paschal Mystery. Each day, he dies and rises again in imitation of the Lord, who came to serve and give His life for all. While the seminary faculty and formation program promote this goal in every way possible, it is ultimately the graces granted by the Spirit of God that brings it all to full fruition. The spiritual formation program teaches the seminarians how to cooperate with that grace.
While it is always the seminarian's ultimate responsibility to make best use of what the formation program has to offer, there are certain components built in to the program that assist him in development and growth. Each seminarian selects a Spiritual Director who oversees and guides his spiritual growth. Additionally, seminarians are expected to participate in the daily celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, and they attend regularly directed retreats and days of recollection. Full, active participation in these components of spiritual formation fosters a healthy Christian maturity that enables the seminarian to embrace the mystery of priesthood and live a life of sacrificial love, mature obedience, simplicity of life, and celibate chastity.
The spiritual life represents the daily heartbeat of seminary life. The Mass is the center of each day.
Other programs are introduced and remain for a period of time until they yield their place to the all important dimension of the prayer life of the future priest.