Universal Order of St. Peter the Apostle
Formation is an integrated process designed to develop the "whole person": the priestly candidate's human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions.
Expectations in Spiritual Formation
• Daily participation in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
• Frequent celebration of the Sacrament of Penance
• Daily prayer and meditation, including Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary, Sacred Scripture and spiritual reading
• Regular use of Spiritual Direction
• Participation in Days of Recollection and the Annual Retreat
• Participation in spiritual conferences and discussion
• Embracing simplicity of life, celibacy, and obedience
• Contributing to an atmosphere of quiet in the seminary to ensure an environment conducive to prayer and solitude
The whole formation imparted to candidates for the priesthood aims at preparing them to enter into communion with the charity of Christ the Good Shepherd. Seminarians at the Order of St. Peter the Apostle are encouraged to assist at Holy Mass in cassock and surplice when they are home at their parish, especially on Sundays, in such roles as acolyte, reader, or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Or, if such roles have already been assigned to others, the seminarian can assist in a less formal Master of Ceremonies role. Having the seminarian present in the sanctuary can remind the faithful to pray for vocations, and can encourage other young people to consider a call to the priesthood or consecrated life. This experience also gives the seminarian a sense of future priestly ministry. Our Seminarians are provided various weekly opportunities for Christian service outside the college community. These experiences (referred to as “Apostolic Service”) include ministry to the sick and elderly, to troubled youth, to the poor, to the hospitalized, and the teaching apostolate. Reflections upon these experiences focus attention on compassion for the suffering, sensitivity for the poor, and the importance of the catechetical work of the Church.
There is a reciprocal relationship between spiritual and intellectual formation. The intellectual life nourishes the spiritual life, but the spiritual also opens vistas of understanding—credo ut intelligam. The context of intellectual formation in the College Seminary has a twofold purpose: The pursuit of liberal arts, through which candidates for the priesthood acquire a sense of the great human questions contained in the arts and sciences, encourages intellectual curiosity, promotes critical thought, and fosters disciplined habits of study. A liberal arts education teaches students to communicate with others in a clear and effective way and gives seminarians an introduction into the wider range of human learning. Studies in mathematics and natural science, in the social and behavioral sciences, in history, literature, foreign languages—both ancient (Latin and Greek) and modern—communication skills, and the fine arts define the content of a liberal arts curriculum. In priestly formation, at least two full years should be dedicated to the philosophical disciplines within a program of study which should be balanced, comprehensive, integrated and coherent.
The study of philosophy is not just part of intellectual formation, but is also connected to human, spiritual and pastoral formation. Issues about priestly identity and the apostolic and missionary dimensions of priestly ministry are “closely linked to the question about the nature of truth.” Philosophy serves as a guarantee of that certainty of truth which is the only firm basis for a total giving of oneself to Jesus and to the Church. The curriculum at the Order of St. Peter the Apostle strives to take into consideration contemporary issues of the day in intellectual, cultural, social, economic and political life as they pertain to moral and religious topics. Priestly ministry in the twenty-first century requires an awareness of the world in the world which the church is to proclaim the gospel of Christ.
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Universal Order of St. Peter the Apostle