Anonymous asked: Thanks for answering my question. I wish you well in your journey. How does the seminary process work?
No problem, and thank you very much!
For seminary, a lot of the specifics depend on exactly where you are, and whether it’s diocesan or religious.
The application process is pretty thorough. It involves medical and psychological evaluations, recommendations, many interviews with various people, an autobiography, background checks, essays, and more. The whole process can take several months.
Once in seminary, there are four main areas of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. The goal of human formation is to help you learn how to interact well socially, since your whole ministry is directed towards people and involves working with people. Spiritual formation is to ensure that you have a good relationship with Christ; else how could you bring others to him? For intellectual formation, you’ll usually get a master’s degree in theology. If you don’t have any experience with philosophy, you’ll study that for a couple of years first (called “pre-theology”). Pastoral formation helps you to learn how to take care of your parishioners and lead them to Christ.
You’ll live with the others who are going through the program with you. You take classes during the day, and go to mass, and have designated prayer, study, and social times. There are also assignments that you are sent to work at some days. The whole time, you’ll be meeting periodically with your formation director, who talks with you about how you’re doing in the four areas of formation.
The whole process takes at least six years, but a lot of the specifics depend on the group you join. The Dominican formation program takes 8 years. It starts with a one-year novitiate, where instead of taking classes, you focus on living the life of a Dominican to see if this is feasible for you. Then you take two years of pre-theology and four years of theology courses. There is also a pastoral year, where instead of taking classes you’re working at an assignment the whole year (I think that comes after your second year of theology, but I’m not sure).
I hope that helps! I know it’s a lot of information, and I tried to condense it as much as I could. Let me know if you want me to clarify something.
A few weeks ago, I posted about a job that I had been interviewing for at the Newman Center. I still haven’t heard anything concrete, but when I was in the area on Monday, one of the staff told me (off the record) that they should make a decision by the end of the week, and that I was on the top of her list. Please keep me in your prayers!
Here we find that the relationship between God and man has been radically altered through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. It is through Him, St. Paul tells us, that we have received “adoption as sons” of the Father. We no longer need to address the Father as if we were mere subjects of the Divine King. With Jesus, we can now address this King intimately as “Abba.”
It is always through Christ, the Word made flesh, that we approach the Father; in Christ we find the human face of God, a face we can see and love. In Christ, we meet God not as ineffable spirit or limitless creative power, but as a man, a tangible reality to whom we can pray, who can speak to us and call us over and over again back to the right road. We meet Christ in the words of the Gospel. We meet Him as a person who lived a human life and who gave Himself for us in a horrifying death. In the face of Christ, we find the true image of God, the God whose love for us is so great that, in the words of St. Paul, He “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).
In Christ, we encounter not only the God who reigns in the high heavens in endless, unperturbed serenity, but the God who loves us, yearns for us, and even suffers for us. It is Christ who enables Christian prayer to be different from all other prayer and enables us to enter into a profoundly intimate relationship with God. As we contemplate Christ in Scripture, and especially in the Eucharist, prayer will become ever more personal for us, more natural to us, more real to us. It will become more and more like what Christian prayer must be: a loving relationship with another person.— Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., Praying Constantly: Bringing Your Faith to Life