About the Seminary

About the Seminary

Explore frequently asked questions.

Looking for more information? Contact the diocesan vocation office, attend a discernment event, or speak to your parish priest.

What does a typical day in the seminary look like?

Do I get to go home for holiday or summer breaks?

What do I need to take to the seminary?

Pretty much the same stuff you’d take to college: clothes, toiletries, things to decorate your room, personal belongings, a car if you have one, etc.  Seminarians also need a 4-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours, since most seminaries pray daily morning and evening prayer together.  You might also need a cassock and surplice to serve in, depending on the seminary.  It’s customary that your home pastor and parish give you the Liturgy of the Hours, cassock and surplice as congratulatory gifts.

Seminarians are not required to go home for fall or spring breaks but are required to go home for Christmas and summer breaks. For summer break, all seminarians in their 3rd year of college and older are given a summer assignment. Summer assignments consist of things such as a parish assignment, Spanish Immersion program in Guatemala, or attending the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University depending on your year in seminary. 

After waking and showering, the morning usually consists of communal Morning Prayer, Mass, breakfast and classes.  After lunch, you might have additional classes, conferences, or meetings; otherwise, you have this time for recreation, exercise, socialization, prayer, and study.  The community gathers again in the chapel for Evening Prayer followed by dinner.  Then there might be conferences, meetings, or other community events in the evening; otherwise, it’s your time to use like the afternoons.

Each seminarian meets monthly with a Formation Advisor, a kind of professional mentor who helps you in your overall formation. The Formation Advisor is a member of the faculty or administration. Each seminarian also meets about every other week with a Spiritual Director who helps you deepen your relationship with Jesus, teaching you how to pray and discern.

Most seminarians also have a weekly pastoral assignment in a local parish, school, hospital, or other work of mercy.  For a few hours each week, seminarians minister to the people of God in these pastoral works.  Seminarians also have a “house job” requiring a few hours of work in the seminary each week.

You’ll attend Mass most weekends in the seminary.  Some seminaries have weekends where you can go to Mass at a nearby church of your choice.  

Seminarians are encouraged to build the habit of making a daily “Holy Hour,” an hour of quiet prayer and meditation in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  This is a habit that is developed over time with the help of your Spiritual Director, not something that is expected on day one.

Am I called to enter the seminary?

Things to consider as you discern submitting an application.

Many are called but few choose to answer!

Seminary allows the candidate to clarify and deepen his discernment of God’s Will.

The candidate is taught how to accomplish his life’s work: to become like Jesus!

The seminary also provides opportunities for the building of the body through sports and recreation. The candidate will come to understand the goodness of community and fraternal support and the value of being a “team player” which are vital to living the priestly lifestyle well. Most importantly, the seminarian is expected to pray. He is taught to pray liturgically and privately. In short, the candidate is taught how to accomplish his life’s work: to become like Jesus!

Your time spent in the seminary is never wasted. If priesthood is your vocation, it will provide the foundation you need to live a truly wonderful life as God’s servant. If you discern that priesthood is not your vocation, you will have received an excellent education and formation, and then continue as a more faithful Christian to discern where God is calling you.

The decision to enter the seminary is not a final decision to become a priest! Nevertheless, the seminary is equipped with the personnel and tools necessary to clarify and deepen your discernment of God’s Will. First and foremost, the seminary will give you the time necessary to decide if priesthood is your true vocation in life. It is a good testing ground.

For men who have graduated high school, seminary lasts for eight years. For those who graduated from college, a pre-theology program can last from one to two years, depending upon the needs of a particular candidate. Following a pre-theology program, a young man will spend another four years studying graduate theology leading to a Masters degree in Divinity. The aim of the seminary is the formation of body, mind, and spirit. To this end, the seminarian in formation will study Catholic Theology, Sacred Scripture, Church History, Canon Law, Moral Theology, Ascetical Theology, pastoral counseling, and other subjects.

Along with these academic subjects, the seminary will continue to assess the candidate through the discernment process by prayer and spiritual direction. The seminarian will have the opportunity for daily prayer and meditation, Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, days of recollection, and yearly retreats. Each seminarian will be assigned a seminary spiritual director who will help him listen more closely for God’s voice and be led to a decision whether the priesthood is truly one’s lifelong vocation.

Your time is spent well if you are trying to listen for the voice of God as you discern your personal vocation. You may be looking for a great sign from God that priesthood is definitely what He has in mind for you. But God works in strange and mysterious ways. He has already told us in the Scriptures that “My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts.” God often leads us in subtle ways and through mysterious signs. While we may want more clarity, God gently leads us in ways that are imperceptible. Who can truly discern matters of the heart? A man who thinks God might be calling him to be a priest should consider seminary. The seminary is the best place to truly discern God’s Will for your vocation.

Partnering Seminaries

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary – Maryland

16300 Old Emmitsburg Road
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Rector: Msgr. Andrew Baker

Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary

2500 Cold Spring Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Rector: Rev. Joseph Moriarty  

Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology

200 Hill Drive
St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Rector: Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB

Pontifical North American College

00120 Vatican City State, Europe

Rector: Rev. Msgr. Thomas Powers