Spiritual Formation Resources

Propaedeutic Year

This stage is focused on the seminarian seeking God’s will, exploring and deepening his faith and his relationship with Christ and reflecting on the vocation to the diocesan priesthood. It is for this reason that this stage at St. Augustine’s is often called the “Spiritual Year”. Human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions of formation in this stage guide the seminarian to grow in self-awareness, become better acquainted with the life of the Church, and develop his leadership skills. At St. Augustine’s, the seminarian enters the Propaedeutic Stage after completing the necessary prerequisites for theological studies, which includes an undergraduate degree and the requisite Vatican requirements for philosophy. In some instances, depending on the background of the seminarian, it has been fruitful for the Propaedeutic Stage to take place before the study of Philosophy. This stage of formation usually lasts one year.

Please click on the image below to download the St. Augustine's Seminary Spiritual Year (Propaedeutic) Prospectus. 


Spiritual Formation Resources

The following are the resources of the St. Augustine’s Seminary Spiritual Formation Program through the year:

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction offers the seminarians a primary relationship with a priest-director through which he can discern his priestly vocation, reflect upon his growing relationship with the Lord Jesus and his people, and assess the various ways he is responding to the Holy Spirit in personal prayer, communal liturgy, common living, academic progress and life experience. The seminarian is expected to meet with his spiritual director, chosen at the start of the year, every two weeks. In any given year, there are several priests of the Formation Council, including the Director of Spiritual Formation, who exercise the ministry of spiritual direction for the students.

Spiritual Orientation Days

The opening weekend Recollection of the Seminary year in early September for all seminarians is entitled "Spiritual Orientation Days." The purpose of the weekend is to re-orient the returning students once again into Seminary life after the summer period, and to include the new first-year candidates. This is accomplished by a series of four spiritual/pastoral conferences and three homilies based on a central theme and given by the Director of Spiritual Formation and other spiritual directors. After each presentation, the seminarians engage in personal reflection. Each year a new theme is chosen from a papal or bishops' conference theme or document, spiritual book or article, or other area with a focus on priestly formation and spirituality to give direction to the presentations.

Days of Recollection and Retreat

During the Seminary year, two Recollection Weekends are scheduled, one in the fall semester and the second in the spring. The second Recollection, in the spring, takes place at the beginning of Lent to assist us to prepare for the Easter Triduum. Both are led by a director who guides the community in prayer and reflection through conferences and meditation. The Seminary year also opens with a Recollection Weekend, with conferences given by priest faculty.

At the end of the formation year, during the last week of April, the Seminary conducts its annual retreat. A retreat director is engaged to lead the philosophy, first, second, and third-year seminarians and parish interns, in a guided retreat at the Seminary (total silence, two conferences a day, and daily interview with their spiritual director). The fourth-year seminarians are asked to make their own directed retreat arrangements: in the summer in preparation for their ordination to the diaconate, and again in the second term in preparation for their ordination to the priesthood. All of these retreats are meant to be directed, five full days in length, and conducted in silence.

Daily Spiritual Life

The daily spiritual program expected of all seminarians consists of the following: devout participation at the daily Eucharist; prayerful chanting of the Liturgy of the Hours; a minimum of 30 minutes of personal prayer based especially on Scripture (Lectio Divina or Ignatian form); and the practice of the daily Examen Prayer. Beyond these daily essentials, spiritual reading (10-15 minutes daily) and one’s personal devotional life, (e.g., to the Sacred Heart and to Mary), are vital in the life of the seminarians. Frequent and regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is encouraged, and regular opportunities are provided to the community.


The following devotions are part of the Seminary life and calendar, though attendance is up to the individual. Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament takes place on weekdays (except Thursdays) throughout the year. The Way of the Cross is conducted on Fridays of Lent. The Rosary is prayed communally each evening, and seminarians are earnestly encouraged to adopt the practice of reciting daily Rosaries.

Although this section describes the many aspects of the Priestly Spiritual Formation Program at St. Augustine's Seminary under a variety of headings, it would be incomplete if the overall goal of integration were not emphasized. Although a seminarian may be engaged daily in a variety of spiritual, academic and communal activities, with many different people, these experiences must be seen in their inter-relationships an integrated whole guided by the Holy Spirit and by the individual seminarian who takes ownership in docile faith response.

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