Seminary


#1

How long does a man spend in major seminary? I think it’s six years here in the UK. Does it vary from country to country, or even from seminary to seminary?

What subjects are on the curriculum? What does the programme of priestly formation consist of? Do major seminarians have “practical classes”, e.g. to practise celebrating Mass, administering the sacraments, etc?

Do major seminarians go on “work experience” gaining pastoral experience in say a parish?

Do regulars who are major seminarians (if this is what regulars may be called) spend as much time in the theologate? Do their studies in the noviciate reduce the length of time that they would need to study if they were to become secular clergy?

Is it correct that a regular can only be accepted for training for the priesthood after he’s taken his final vows.

Is minor seminary basically just a type of high/secondary school? I presume that a minor seminarian is not guaranteed being accepted for the major seminary.


#2

[quote="Matthew_Holford, post:1, topic:218640"]
How long does a man spend in major seminary? I think it's six years here in the UK. Does it vary from country to country, or even from seminary to seminary?

[/quote]

In the United States it is 4 years to get the Masters of Divinity degree which is required for ordiantion unless one goes to a pontifical institution and gets a pontifical degree but I also think that takes 4 years.

hat subjects are on the curriculum? What does the programme of priestly formation consist of? Do major seminarians have "practical classes", e.g. to practise celebrating Mass, administering the sacraments, etc?

Curriculum varies but you get some spirituality, theology, pastoral issues, scripture, preaching, and practium classes for the Sacraments.

For example, where I will be returning to next year or so, Washington Theological Union, we get more scripture than those who attend Catholic Theolgoical Union in Chicago (I believe they get more pastoral stuff than we do).

Do major seminarians go on "work experience" gaining pastoral experience in say a parish?

Depends on the diocese/religious community. Some diocese have a pastoral year where you leave studies ofr a year and work in a praish. You work in a ministry over the summers and you have ministry experience as part of the seminary education.

Do regulars who are major seminarians (if this is what regulars may be called) spend as much time in the theologate? Do their studies in the noviciate reduce the length of time that they would need to study if they were to become secular clergy?

Religious who attend a theologate are called theologians. They do all their classes at the theologate and do formation type activities at their houses of studies. The novitiate takes no time off the studies as there is no college credits earned for it.

A religious priest usually takes longer to form than a secular priest due to the added novitiate and pre-novitiate (postulancy) requirements.

Is it correct that a regular can only be accepted for training for the priesthood after he's taken his final vows.

No, a religious can only be ordained after he has made final vows. He can study for the priesthood but ordination to the diaconate comes after final vows.

Is minor seminary basically just a type of high/secondary school? I presume that a minor seminarian is not guaranteed being accepted for the major seminary.

No, a minor seminary is also called a college seminary, it is where men who have been accepted as candidates for the priesthood work on getting their bachelors degrees or if they already have one but lack some of the pre-requisite courses go to take them.

A high school seminary (I do not believe there are any left or if there are it is a very small number) is called just that, a high school seminary.

Hope that helps.


#3

[quote="Matthew_Holford, post:1, topic:218640"]
What subjects are on the curriculum? What does the programme of priestly formation consist of? Do major seminarians have "practical classes", e.g. to practise celebrating Mass, administering the sacraments, etc.

[/quote]

You may well be familiar with this information already, but perhaps for other readers at least the followiing might be useful:

The 1965 document Optatam totius lays out the requirements for priestly training:

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651028_optatam-totius_en.html

For UK residents like you and I this website is also very informative (and in fact includes a lot of insights into priestly formation that is of interest to people beyond these shores):

ukpriest.org/becomingapriest_seminaryLife.htm

Hope this helps.


#4

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