The primary purpose of the Pastoral Formation Program at Saint Joseph Seminary College is to provide seminarians with an opportunity to develop ministerial awareness and effectiveness in preparation for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Through a process of actual engagement in ministry on a weekly basis, seminarians are familiarized with the various facets of ministry and are challenged to begin to develop their own ministerial identities.
Concerns and challenges facing the Church in contemporary culture offer all Christians, and especially those who aspire to priestly ministry, significant opportunities for pastoral activity. In particular, Pope John Paul II has repeatedly emphasized the need for a new evangelization, one in which, as the Pope writes in Christifideles Laici, a mending of the Christian fabric of society is accomplished through the remaking of the Christian fabric of the Church itself.
In order to grow in their understanding of how to be "servant-leaders", seminarians are engaged in a wide variety of ministry experiences. At the present time, they offer service to those who are elderly at Christwood Retirement Center, to economically disadvantaged children and youth at The Blue Stand and the Boys and Girls Club, to the disabled at New Heights Therapeutic Riding, to the emotionally troubled at Magnolia Behavioral Healthcare, to the dying and those who care for them at Canon Hospice, and to children and youth learning about their faith at Saint Jane de Chantal. Seminarians in their sophomore or junior year have the opportunity to experience the Native American culture through an immersion experience at Saint Labre Catholic Indian School in Ashland, Montana. Pastoral Formation for final year students culminates in the Mission Immersion Program currently located in Esquipulas, Guatamela.