The Catholic priest, who is the ideal and exemplar for the seminarian, should live a fully human, apostolic, and holy life of service to God and humanity. To this end, students preparing for the priesthood must cultivate a sincere and personal love for Christ and endeavor to imitate His compassionate love for people with increasing fidelity. Frequent contact with Jesus Christ manifest in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and in Sacred Scripture is essential for this personal love and consequent imitation. And this contact deepens and expands in prayer and spiritual reading coupled with serious study.
The Spiritual Formation Program engages seminarians both corporately and individually. It provides a daily, liturgically rich Eucharistic celebration with the monks of St. Joseph Abbey and the local community. Daily Morning and Evening Prayer are observed along with monthly reconciliation services and periodic spiritual conferences for the student body. Formation workshops are provided each semester concerning essential topics for priestly life. Weekend retreats are held off-campus for each class and for the entire student body. In the spirit of the liturgical year, special community observances are held during Lent, culminating in the annual seminary retreat held from Wednesday of Holy Week through the Pascal Vigil.
Seminarians also attend weekly class meetings with their Formation Class Moderators in which they cover an integrated curriculum of topics in preparation for priestly life and ministry.
Finally, the program fosters a life marked by personal prayer, spiritual reading, and growth in Christian maturity through on-campus spiritual direction and scheduled, daily periods of lectio divina.
The seminarian's progress in his spiritual development is a key element considered in his annual evaluation.