Casting the Net
With the satisfaction of the vocation director, those men who are convinced they are ready to continue discerning God's call in a formal setting are encourage to apply to the diocesan seminary. It is in this context that the man’s prayerful dialogue with God and with the Church is expanded to include a community of fellow discerners under the supervision of a formation team who assists the diocesan bishop (or religious superior).
With the direction of the U.S. Bishops' Program for Priestly Formation (PPF), the seminary helps each candidate grow in the areas of human, intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral formation. Each seminarian receives the service of a faculty advisor, spiritual director, and a formation team who oversee the growth and maturation of each candidate as he progresses. It is important to stress the evaluation of each candidate greatly depends on his age, background, and level within the formation program.
The seminary journey is a process of experiences over a number of years before the candidate and the bishop reach the conclusion that he is being called to the priesthood. Equally important is the man's freedom to leave the seminary at anytime during this process without feelings of shame or disappointment.
The man who is ready to enter the seminary receives an application packet from the Vocation Director. Depending on his academic background, a man will either apply to Borromeo Seminary (the undergraduate program) or Saint Mary Seminary (the graduate program). Men who have a Bachelor of Arts or Science (or equivalent) but do not have the requisite undergraduate philosophy and religious studies coursework will participate in a pre-theology program sponsored by the graduate school. The process of application for all diocesan candidates include: