Seminary Formation

The Church’s discernment of a vocation to the Priesthood continues throughout the whole process; from the first meeting with the Vocations Director, throughout the lengthy period of preparation until Candidature and Ordination. Personal discernment and the discernment of the Church form a partnership which helps the candidates to see God’s plan unfold.

Following acceptance for priestly formation, usually the candidate embarks upon six or seven years of preparation for the Priesthood in a seminary. The Archdiocese currently uses four seminaries: Saint Mary’s College Oscott in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, the Royal English College of Saint Alban in Spain, The Venerable English College in Rome and the Pontifical Beda College also in Rome.
Seminary programmes differ between the colleges, but involve four strands of formation established by Saint Pope John Paul II for the training of priests, in the 1992 document Pastores Dabo Vobis. The four pillars of formation are spiritual, pastoral, academic and human formation. These are addressed in study, through various pastoral placements and community life experienced at the seminary. The pre-eminent discipline and pillar of priestly formation is prayer, this is fostered in the common liturgical life of the seminary and in the deepening prayer of the individual assisted by his spiritual director and his ongoing formation.