Four Dimensions of Priestly Formation

Human. Spiritual. Intellectual. Pastoral.

The Josephinum strives to uphold the highest standards of excellence, thereby equipping its seminarians with the knowledge and pastoral skills they will need to serve effectively as priests in the contemporary world. As a community of faith, the Josephinum works to provide the environment and support a seminarian needs to grow in personal maturity and holiness, and to cultivate the habits of prayer and virtue that are essential to the life of the priest.

Through the four dimensions of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation, seminarians acquire the skills and characteristics needed for effective service, leadership, and life. This formation program is considered the foundation of a life of ongoing learning across a range of disciplines, to facilitate effective ministry in a diverse and interconnected world.

Human Formation

Human formation is designed to aid each seminarian in assuming personal responsibility for his development in all phases of life in the seminary and after. It guides and supports the seminarian in reaching maturity in personal standards, psychological development, and social interaction.

Spiritual Formation

Spiritual formation goals are twofold: first, to foster the personal prayer life and spiritual growth of seminarians; and second, to foster an understanding and love for the liturgical life of the Church. Through active participation in this process of personal spiritual discernment, seminarians are helped to respond with growing understanding and commitment to the call that brought them to the seminary.

Intellectual Formation

Intellectual formation is achieved within the academic programs specific to each stage of formation, in the College of Liberal Arts and School of Theology.

Pastoral Formation

Pastoral formation helps seminarians see Christ in those to whom they will minister and come to see Christ at work in themselves. Through this focus, seminarians will learn to demonstrate pastoral charity and a commitment to the Church’s teaching on justice, peace, and the dignity of human life.

Documents that Guide Formation

The norms for priestly formation were set forth by the Second Vatican Council in its Decree on the Training of Priests, by the Basic Norms for Priestly Formation (Vatican City, 2nd Edition, 1985) and by the Program of Priestly Formation, (USCCB, 6th Edition, 2022). Further norms for philosophical and theological education are specified in the apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana (Vatican City, 1979) and in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992. The last document provides a summary and a comprehensive vision of priestly formation.

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For more information about the dimensions of priestly formation, please contact us.