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Prospective Seminarians

Do you feel called to discern in seminary?

For men considering a vocation in the Catholic diocesan priesthood, they are strongly encouraged to contact their own parish priest and diocese’s Vocation Office. Candidates for the diocesan priesthood will go through a process within their own diocese before being accepted at the Seminary. The formation at St. Joseph Seminary varies on the candidate’s educational background. Some will start off with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy. For people with a degree or some University experience, they will still need to take the required philosophy courses to move on into Theology. After philosophy, there is the Propaedeutic year that acts as a spiritual reflection and introduction to Theology. Lastly, Theology will be taken at Newman Theological College, and an internship placement in a parish in their own diocese, where the final years of formation to the priesthood take place.

Prospective men may experience the life of a seminarian during Come and See weekend held once a year. This retreat includes meeting with the formation team of faculty priests, partaking in vocation sessions and testimonies, participation in the liturgy, and informal discussions with the seminarians. The Come and See weekend acts as an information weekend, and while attendance at the weekend is not a requirement to enter the seminary, it may be helpful in the decision to further discern here.

Admission Requirements

Formation Overview explains this in more detail

St. Joseph Seminary is open to men who have, at a minimum, successfully completed high school and who are sponsored for the Roman Catholic priesthood by their Diocese. A letter of sponsorship is required from their Bishop.

To apply, candidates must submit an application form. This form and a list of required documents are available through the candidates' Vocation Director. For contact details check the applicable diocesan Vocation Office web site. With the approval of the bishop, the candidate’s application would be forwarded to St. Joseph Seminary by his Vocation Director. For more information about the seminary please Contact Us. You may also visit the seminary by making arrangements with the Rector in advance.

Academic Requirements

Those applying to the seminary must first speak to their local vocations director. After acceptance by a diocese, the applicant to the Seminary would need the basic requirements to enter a Post-Secondary institution. The Church requires that a seminarian enter into a preparatory year (Propaedeutic/Spiritual year) followed by studies in philosophy. These studies are the major component of an undergraduate degree. Once this philosophy (undergraduate degree) is completed, the seminarian studies theology and normatively receives a graduate degree (MDiv) in the process. For more detailed information, Contact Us.

Where do I start?

If you feel that you have a call to diocesan priesthood or think it might not be a bad idea, the first step is to contact your Vocation Director or your parish priest.  He will talk to you about where you are in your discernment journey, then go from there.  You might be ready right away or you might need some time to pray over this journey.  Please go to the website of your diocese to find the contact information for your Vocation Director or simply talk to your parish priest.

Welcome to the 2020-2021 Seminarian Online Report!

Throughout the year, we will be posting photos and comments from seminarians, formators, alumni, and more to give you an idea of the life we live as seminarians.

If you are a prospective seminarian, you may find this report interesting to follow as you discern entering the seminary.  If you have any questions about the articles posted in this section, please email Cathy Pasternak from the Contact Us webpage and direct your message to the SJS Newsletter Committee. If you are a former seminarian, feel free to email your stories and we will potentially post them in our column!  We look forward to sharing our journey with you!

Chris Pugh
SJS Newsletter Editor 2020/2021

Jesus Christ as the High Priest

Since starting theology, I have come to see how much my studies, formation, and discernment are integrated. As I learn about the development of theology in its different areas, I find myself drawn deeper into and more appreciative of the Mass. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, and the more I want to learn. This has been very eye-opening to me. Growing up Catholic, there are so many things which I took for granted or accepted on faith. Studying theology has helped me to better contextualize my faith and understand the ‘why’ behind much of it. In turn, this has led me to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a priest and the nature of vocation and discernment. One example of this was learning about Jesus as the High Priest in Liturgical Theology last semester. This deepened my understanding of the Mass, of how the priest is able to take on the role (act in the person) of Christ, which in turn led me to a deeper awareness of priesthood. The further I get in my studies, the more I understand the bigger picture of my faith and the more I desire to go deeper in my relationship with God and to serve Him as a priest by ministering to His people.

 Jake M.

Being a Priest of Jesus Christ in COVID

Having been ordained in June 2020, I am amazed at how God has been leading me and working in my life. Although it has not been all that long since I’ve left seminary formation, I still feel quite connected to my time of formation as a seminarian and into my ministry now as Priest and Pastor of a Parish. I truly feel as though my long 8 years from 2012 to 2020 have all prepared me for this time of ministry, even when, in many ways, this time of pandemic is a rather odd time of ministry.

Many people have remarked how unfortunate it is to have to be a new Priest and in a new placement during this strange and challenging time, but I have only been able to think about how, despite all challenges, God has equipped and prepared me to be able to adapt to the ever changing dynamics of parish life. I’m not sure how He has actually done this, but I believe it to be so, and find myself surprised at the many blessings God has been pouring into my life in my time as a Priest. Without my time in seminary formation, I doubt I would be as open to the graces being offered in this time, and would be missing the opportunities to respond to that grace as best I could.

My time in seminary has given me a constant toolbox of resources of all kinds that I can look back to for help, and has also given me the motivation to continually strive to be formed after the heart and mind of the Good Shepherd.

May God bless you and your discernment of His will.

 - Rev. Brian Trueman

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest…” (Matthew 11:28)

As I am sure you are all well aware life can get busy, even in the midst of a pandemic, however, we all need time to decompress and really zero in on what is truly important. If we fail to do this, we slowly become bogged down by the weight of the world. It is for this reason that we must remember to take time, in silence, to open ourselves up to the will of our Heavenly Father who will give us the strength to carry on. It is for this reason that I feel our monthly recollections, or monthly silent day in the seminary, are about, really taking the time to reflect on our lives and open ourselves up to our Heavenly Father; we are able to do this by fixating our eyes firmly on Christ who is our sure help and refuge. This is important to remember as our lives can become a juggling act, as we seek to maintain balance in our daily lives. When we lose this balance, it can be tough to remain focused spiritually as we slowly allow ourselves to be consumed by our other responsibilities. It is for this reason that we need to take time in solitude where we can allow the Lord to reveal himself to us, this consolation allows for us to reset our lives and to push onward. Personally, I have found over the course of my studies that our monthly recollection has not only become a time for me to be with the Lord, but it has also given me the opportunity to refocus myself on my intellectual studies.

 - Thomas W.

Ever since I started seminary five years ago, I always looked forward to my internship year and regarded it as the year that would definitively answer the question. Yes, you know, that question; the question that every man contemplating entering the seminary asks himself. The same question that—believe it or not—every man already in the Seminary continues to try to answer: does God want me to be a Priest?

Personally, I have always found relationships and experiences to be better teachers than academics. I learn better from hands-on experiences and working with people than from intellectual pursuits. Thus, when I entered Seminary, I lamented the years that separated me from the internship year. 'Five years!?' I thought. I figured that if I could have that year first, I could answer the question faster and move on with my life.

It has now been four months since I started this internship year. It has been a great experience so far, but very quickly, I have also realized that it has been so largely because of those five years spent in seminary formation.

At the Seminary, some things change from year to year: the community, classes, pastoral assignments, etc. However, once you get into the daily routine, the days go by, and the year is gone. Some days you feel great: you are getting your prayer time in, doing well in classes, getting along with your brothers, etc. Some other days it does not feel so good: prayer is dry, academics are hard to understand and keep up with, guys frustrate you, etc. And so it seems like the years go by, and it can be hard to discern how you are growing. But grow you do, and this is what these four months of internship have made me realize.

The grind of the day-to-day and the ups-and-downs of seminary life may obscure how getting up early to pray, staying up late studying instead of going to sports or the TV room, or putting up with the guy you don't like are accomplishing anything. But now, these months of internship have helped me realize how much I have grown over the last five years, how poorly prepared I would have been without them, and much more growth is still needed. It has been a very humbling and gratifying experience.

Contrary to what I expected as a new seminarian five years ago, one more deeply reveals my unworthiness of this call and makes me continue to wonder how God could be calling me. Ultimately, it is nothing less than an adventure to follow God's will: to ask the question and to jump in.

"Follow me," He tells each of us. Only He knows what in His providence He has in store, but one thing we can be sure of: following Him will never leave us disappointed.

 - Santiago T.


Jean-Jacques Olier, the founder of the Sulpicians, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary as the first patron of the Seminary of Saint Sulpice. He determined that the principal feast of the house would be that of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple. Celebrated in the East from the end of the 8th century, this Feast honours the gift of herself that Mary gave to God before the Annunciation.

The Society of Saint Sulpice has always kept this Feast as its principal Solemnity, seeing the complete consecration of Mary as the model of priestly service. Mary embodies one of the emphases dear to the French School of Spirituailty: “se laisser à l’esprit”, to abandon oneself to the Holy Spirit. That absolute confidence in God, that total self-abandon, self-gift to be led by the Spirit of God, is what we see in Our Lady. Thus, out of her life, Christ could be born. So too, in a Priest’s life, given over to God, Christ can be formed and become present through his life and ministry. 

Mary shows us not only that God has poured out his life and love, that the gift has been given, but how that gift is received. 

What we see in her, continues in the Church, in the life of every disciple. The Father has sent his Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the divine life we receive in baptism. The Priest is called, first and foremost, to live the meaning of his Baptism, to give himself over to the grace of God, and in this way to lead other disciples by his own discipleship. Monsieur Olier saw this call embodied in this great Feast, so dear to him, and to his Sulpician sons.

 - Fr. Shayne