booksThe intellectual life exists in a reciprocal relationship with the spiritual life, each enabling the other to reach greater depths. At the heart of this intellectual formation is the aim to develop more and more a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. It expands upon the normal intellectual catechesis of all faithful, and will serve not only the priest’s personal life of faith but all those to whom he ministers as well. The priest must be able to draw upon a rich understanding of the faith, apply it to his knowledge of the human condition, and communicate it effectively.

This formation is absolutely essential for the teaching office of the priesthood. The priest will draw the knowledge gained during seminary (as well as continuing education) to articulate and expound upon the traditions and mysteries of the faith, especially when preaching. A sound intellectual background will also safeguard the priest from error and root him firmly in fidelity to Sacred Tradition and ecclesial leadership, particularly the Holy Father and the diocesan Bishop.

Intellectual formation begins with a broad liberal arts background and a strong foundation in philosophy that will serve as the groundwork for later theological courses.

'The study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.'

St. Thomas Aquinas

Why study philosophy?

Seminarians spend a great deal of time developing a deep knowledge of philosophy. Philosophy deals with humanity’s greatest questions: who we are, where we come from, why we are here, and what our purpose is. As Christianity has developed, the Church fathers and other theologians have drawn upon philosophical concepts and approaches to better understand (but not to replace) their faith. It is therefore necessary to have a foundation of philosophy to understand the terms, approaches, and concepts employed in Christian doctrines.

The study of philosophy allows seminarians to understand and respond to alternative movements in the world. If a priest is confronted with a new philosophical movement (i.e., a new age religion) he can respond to it intelligently, with a keen awareness of the underlying philosophical issues involved.

“We study so that we can explain the truth of Christ to the world.”
David Wheeler, Pontifical College Josephinum
“Our goal is to learn to reason like Christ.”
John Lijana, Saint Meinrad

Sample Courses of Study

The schedule of courses below provides a sample of what a seminarian’s study might look like. Each seminarian’s program will be different depending on his background and interests.

If you enter seminary straight out of high school or while still in college, you attend a minor seminary. The focus here is on building a foundation for studying the faith, centered on philosophy and foundation courses. Upon graduation seminarians leave with an accredited Bachelor’s degree.

FALL
Latin I
Writing I
Voice
Classical Aristotelian Logic
Faith and Reason
Virtue: Transformation in Christ
SPRING
Latin II
Writing II
Biology
Wellness and Fitness
Ancient Philosophy
Rhetoric, Poetics, and Communications
FALL
Latin III
Western Civilization I
Ancient Literature
Euclidian Geometry
Medieval Philosophy
Philosophical Anthropology
SPRING
Latin IV
Western Civilization II
Science: Physics/Astronomy
Epistemology
Modern Philosophy
Ethics
FALL
Spanish I
Theological Foundations
U.S. History & The Catholic Church
Philosophy of Nature
Contemporary Philosophy
Non-Western Course
SPRING
Spanish II
Jesus Christ and the Church
Medieval through Early Modern Literature
Physical Education
Metaphysics
Humanities Elective
FALL
Spanish III
Liturgy, Sacraments, and Christian Prayer
Natural Theology/Philosophy of God
Latin American History
Humanities Seminar I
SPRING
Spanish IV
Psychology
Fine Arts
Catholic Literature
Humanities Elective

Upon completion of the college program seminarians advance directly to the Theology program (major seminary).

Seminarians who have a college degree attend major seminary. If their undergraduate degree does not provide a sufficient foundation for this work (i.e., they did not study Catholic philosophy), they begin with a 2 year “Pre-Theology” program that leads to an accredited Master of Arts degree, and then progress to Theology 1.

FALL
Logical Analysis
Ancient Philosophy
The Creed in History and Theology
Ecclesiastical Latin I
SPRING
Medieval Philosophy
Philosophy of Nature and Man
Human Development and Christian Maturity
Word and Interpretation
FALL
Ethics and Natural Law
Philosophy of Knowledge
Modern Philosophy
Introduction to Biblical Studies
SPRING
Political Philosophy
Contemporary Philosophy
Natural Theology
MA Concluding Exercise Seminar

Upon completion of the pre-theology program seminarians advance to the Theology program.

When a seminarian has the necessary foundation (generally having finished either college seminary or pre-theology), they begin the 4 year “Theology” program.  At the end of the 4 years all seminarians receive an accredited Master of Divinity degree (in addition, God willing, to being ordained).

FALL
Foundational Theology
Liturgical Theology
Pentateuch and Historical Books
Early Church History
History and Culture of the Church in the Americas
Ministry Formation
SPRING
God & the Human Person
Sacramental Theology and Sacraments of Initiation
Paul in Early Christianity
Medieval Church History
Ministry Formation
Elective
FALL
Christology & Mariology
Fundamental Moral Theology
Synoptic Gospels and Acts
Modern Church History
Ministry Formation
SPRING
Ecclesiology and Ecumenism
Foundations in Homiletics
Pastoral Care and Counseling
Canon Law I
Ministry Formation
Elective
FALL
Trinity
Advanced Homiletics
The Catechetical Ministry
Canon Law II
Advanced Homiletics Practicum
Ministry Formation
Elective
SPRING
Sacrament of Marriage
Catholic Social Ethics
Prophets
Ministry Formation
Practicum in Homiletics/Liturgies I
Elective
Elective
FALL
Eucharist
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Ministry to Families
Patristics
Ministry Formation
Elective
SPRING
Sexual and Medical Ethics
Johannine Literature and Thought
Sacrament of Holy Orders
Ministry Formation
Practicum in Homiletics/Liturgics II
Elective

 


Human Formation

Becoming a well-rounded, well-adjusted man of God.

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Spiritual Formation

Growing closer to Christ through study, prayer, and the Sacraments.

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Pastoral Formation

Serving the Lord by serving others, and learning how to more effectively be Christ for the world.

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