Spiritual Formation is centered on living in intimate and unceasing union with God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, so that the candidate might be rooted ever more deeply in the foundational call to discipleship and conversion of heart. Those who desire to share the mission of Christ, as the apostles did, must first acquire the listening and learning heart of disciples. (Kenrick-Glennon Seminary Mission Statement)
Activities of the Spiritual Formation Program
The Program of Priestly Formation #115 states that “Since spiritual formation is the core that unifies the life of a priest, it stands at the heart of seminary life and is the center around which all other aspects are integrated.” The following are some of the elements which make up the Spiritual Formation program at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary:
Each year the seminarian participates in a silent, directed retreat. A bishop or priest is the presenter for daily conferences. The retreat is also staffed by trained spiritual directors who meet with the seminarians each day for spiritual conversation.
Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage
The canonical retreat for the deacons preparing for priesthood is held in the Holy Land in January. The seminarians live at the retreat house on the Mount of the Beatitudes. The retreat format includes a daily conference. It is a silent, directed retreat. The seminarian meets with his spiritual director each day for conversation. A pilgrimage follows, and the deacons are housed at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
The seminarians are introduced to the rich tradition of Lectio Divina. They are taught how to pray with the Sacred Scriptures, reflect on the text, and be open to the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit. Lectio Divina is prayed once per week with the community as a whole during which time personal testimony takes place. The seminarians are encouraged to incorporate this spiritual practice into their own daily spiritual exercises.
Jesu Caritas Fraternity Groups
Jesu Caritas groups give the seminarians an opportunity to reflect on their vocational call in an on-going review of life that promotes personal conversion to the Heart of Christ. These fraternal groups consist of four to seven men and usually meet weekly for prayer and bi-weekly for conversations and mutual support.
Days of Recollection
The seminarians participate in five days of recollection in the academic year. Each day is dedicated to one of the five diocesan priestly identities found in Scripture and the Church’s living tradition. The priestly identities include – Beloved Son, Chaste Spouse, Spiritual Father, Spiritual Physician and Pastoral Shepherd. These five priestly identities help to configure each seminarian to the Heart of Jesus Christ.
The spiritual directors at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary have been schooled and trained in the art of contemplative spiritual direction. The seminarian meets once every two weeks with his spiritual director throughout each year of his formation. Directors receive monthly supervision in the art of contemplative spiritual direction to enrich their practice of the art. Four in-service programs per year also serve the continuing formation of our spiritual direction faculty. The focus of the spiritual direction is the distinct spirituality of the diocesan priest.
Courses in Spiritual Formation
Spiritual Theology and Spiritual Direction (3), Holy Orders, Celibacy and the Spiritual Life of the Priest (3).
Goals of Spiritual Formation
- Commitment to a life of prayer and the ability to assist others in their spiritual growth;
- Abiding love for the sacramental life of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist and Penance;
- A loving knowledge of the Word of God and prayerful familiarity with that Word;
- Appreciation of and commitment to the Liturgy of the Hours;
- Fidelity to the liturgical and spiritual program of the seminary, including the daily celebration of the Eucharist
- Fidelity to regular spiritual direction and regular celebration of the Sacrament of Penance;
- A positive embrace of a lifelong commitment to chaste celibacy, obedience, and simplicity of life;
- A love for Jesus Christ and the Church, for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints; and
- A spirit of self-giving charity toward others.