Pastoral Formation, Parish Internship and House Life

Pastoral Formation

Since the Seminary is intended to prepare the seminarian to be a shepherd in the image of Christ, priestly formation must be permeated by a pastoral spirit. It will make them able to demonstrate that same compassion, generosity, love for all, especially for the poor, and zeal for the Kingdom that characterized the public ministry of the Son of God.

Field Education

  1. 1.St. Augustine's requires one semester of field education in combination with one semester of Pastoral Counselling. These courses are scheduled for the 2nd year theology in consultation with the Director of Field Education.
  2. Students who decide to complete a Clinical Pastoral Education course (C.P.E.) do so on an elective basis. The C.P.E. course is not part of St. Augustine's Seminary's S.T.B. / M.Div. programs. However, for insurance purposes, the course must be registered. Upon approval of the Director of Field Education, students will receive 2 elective credits, which will appear on their official transcript. The Supervisor's final evaluation and the student's own final evaluation are to be provided to the Director of Field Education at the Seminary.

The Director of Field Education conducts mandatory weekly seminars for sharing and theological reflection to assist students in recognizing the challenges of the apostolate while integrating the practice of ministry with the study of theology. This means that all students have professional guidance in their action and in their evaluation of both their successes and difficulties.

Parish Internship

Ordination Candidates are required to complete a Seminary supervised Pastoral Internship Year. This course is normally done after the 2nd year of theology.  Each intern is appointed to the parish by his own Ordinary.  The length of the internship is at the discretion of each Ordinary and is no less than one academic year.

Each intern is required to be present at St. Augustine's Seminary once a month for a day throughout the internship placement.  On these reflection days, through supervision and peer input, interns discuss areas of competence and concern.  The intern is invited to the Seminary for the Lenten Recollection weekend and other days as determined by the Seminary.  Interns living at a great distance from the Seminary and unable to join the monthly meetings are required to attend a five-day Internship Meeting in January.

A “Learning Work Agreement” is to be completed by the intern in consultation with the Pastor-Supervisor to outline clearly the expectations of the pastor before the parish internship experience begins.  Periodic evaluations from the Parish Supervisor and Intern is submitted to the Director of Parish Internship who reports to the Rector on the progress of each intern.

The Director of Parish Internship meets once each semester with the Parish Supervisor, the Intern and possibly others involved with the intern.

Formation Groups

Seminarians are assigned to a Formation Group by the Rector.  They are led by a priest formator who is not their spiritual director.  The priest formator encourages, observes, provides feedback and challenges when necessary.  These fraternal groups of eight to ten seminarians provide another setting for discernment to the diocesan priesthood. The four dimensions of formation are experienced at various times and ways in the Formation Group, such as:

  • prayer and worship by Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, and the Eucharist once a week
  • discussion of priestly life and ministry once a month
  • fraternity within the group through occasional service outreach activities, visiting parishes on Sundays, cultural and recreational activities, and outings such as a cottage weekend
  • initiative in various events in the larger Seminary community, with senior seminarians and deacons particularly encouraged to mentor junior seminarians, thus promoting leadership.
Year Groups

Once a month, in year groups, the seminarians gather to explore various topics relevant to their particular stage of formation (propaedeutic, discipleship, configuration and pastoral). This is a facilitated meeting by either a Faculty member or external presenter.

Summer Assignments

Seminarians are encouraged to take advantage of this time in their lives to participate in summer programs that will form them into holy priests. Here are some examples of past participation: summer programs at the Institute of Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska, CPE programs at hospitals, Cadet Youth Chaplaincy programs with the Armed Forces and Missionary experiences, parish apostolate, Diocesan apostolate such as Vocation Office, Youth Office, Catholic Cemetery or office work. Seminarians in consultation with their formators, Spiritual Director and Vocation Director, must use the summer months to deepen their vocation.

Intellectual Dimension

Theology has been described as fides quaerens intellectum, “faith seeking understanding”.  The study of theology has many values, but the seminarian should see it primarily as a further opportunity to know and appreciate the presence of God's Word and self-communication in his life. To this intensely personal need for theology must be added the pastoral need of the priest who is called to form and govern the priestly people of God. The priest's role of service, of being a "man for others," is also one of teaching God's Word which the priest must make his own by meditation, along with serious study begun in the Seminary and continued throughout his ministry. The personal need for study and the pastoral need may be distinct, but they cannot be separated for this reason: the priest as teacher can lead men and women to Christ only insofar as his whole life is in union with the mind and heart of the Lord. Our house, then, is a house of study, the kind of study that is never far from prayer.

 

Chapel

The seminarian prepares himself by deepening his knowledge of the philosophical and theological sciences with a good introduction to canon law, social sciences and history. The seminarian should see intellectual formation as an opportunity to know and appreciate the presence of God's Word and self-communication in his life. At every stage the seminarian is called to persevere in study, deepening his knowledge of the faith and moral life with an appreciation for the Catholic intellectual tradition.

 

 

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