HOW YOU BECOME A SEMINARIAN
Discerning whether God is calling you to this challenging vocation will require of you prayer, courage, effort, careful reflection and humility. As a man inquiring about the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, you are obviously involving yourself in an important decision-making process. The following details the process:
Meet with the Vocations Director
You start the process by meeting with the Vocation Director. He will talk with you about your discernment to this point. He will get to know more about you, your background, education and family. He will also have suggestions for you to help with your prayer and discernment. To contact the vocation director, Fr. Dan Schmitmeyer, call the Vocation Office at (513) 263-3390 or email at [email protected].
Application and Assessment Procedures
When you and the Vocation Director have discerned that you are ready to apply for a seminary program, the Vocation Director will send you an application packet. This application process includes:
- Autobiography: This 10-12 page life history shares your background and faith journey that led you to discern the priesthood.
- Recommendations: This list should include people with whom you have worked, friends, priests, pastor and other acquaintances. Also included should be professors or teachers (especially the guidance counselor) if you have been in school or college recently.
- Psychological Testing: This testing is intended to confirm what I already know about you and to give you additional insights into yourself. The tests are administered by the psychologists who are familiar with working with applicants for dioceses and religious communities across the country.
- Seminary Forms: Along with the application forms themselves, you will need a high school and/or college transcript, college board scores, (if a recent high school graduate), medical/physical form, and sacramental certificates (Baptism and Confirmation). The sacramental certificates should be dated within the last six months and carry the name and seal of the parish. All these materials are to be returned to the Vocation Office.
- Background Check/Decree on Child Protection: All seminarians go through a background check and Virtus training following the Archdiocesan policies.
- Review by Seminary Admissions committee: After all the application materials have been returned to the Vocation Office, the Vocation Director will send them into the seminary and you will be contacted for an interview.
At the conclusion of the formal application procedure, a decision will be made regarding your acceptance into the seminary.
Following Pastores dabo vobis and the Program for Priestly Formation, the seminary seeks to form candidates for the priesthood after the Heart of Jesus by integrating the four “pillars” or dimensions of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral.
At the end of each year of seminary formation, the seminarian meets with the formation team to review their calling and suitability to ordained priesthood.
For men who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, the Archdiocese uses two college seminaries, The Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH and Bishop Simon Brute Seminary at Marian Universiy in Indianapolis, IN. Seminarians live in community while taking classes towards a bachelor’s degree in areas such as Philosophy, Catholic Studies, English, or other areas with the permission of the Vocation Director and formation team at the seminary.
Entering seminarians will vary in their academic background. Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West has a Pre-Theology Program that fills in the gaps for those seminarians who enter without the necessary background coursework. The Seminary evaluates the needs of such students case-by-case. Seminarians in these circumstances may take some Pre-Theology foundational courses at Mount St. Mary’s or at a local college (e.g. Thomas More College). Fulfilling these pre-requisites can take from 1 to 2 years. Once the pre-requisites are done, the seminarian begins the formal ‘I Theology’ year at Mount St. Mary’s.
Master of Divinity, Five Year Program:
The program involves 4 years of academic study, with a year of internship in the middle. The requirements are a combination of the courses necessary to complete the Master of Divinity degree (M.Div), the Priestly Formation courses specified by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and a year of internship.
- Master of Divinity Requirements: You will complete 45 academic courses (141 quarter credit hours) in Scripture, Dogmatic Theology, Moral/Spiritual Theology, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Sacramental Theology, Canon Law, Religious Education, Evangelization, Pastoral Counseling & Leadership, and Homiletics.
- USCCB Program of Priestly Formation Requirements: For this, you will take an additional 9 courses (27 quarter hours), with 3 classes in Biblical Studies, 2 courses in Moral/Spiritual Theology, 3 courses in Dogmatic-Liturgical Theology and 1 open elective.
- Internship (Third Year): During this year, you will complete a Parish Internship and a Non-parish internship.
- If needed, College Seminary or 2 years of Pre-Theology
- First Year: I Theology
- Second Year: II Theology
- Third Year: Internship
- Fourth Year: III Theology.
- Ordained a transitional deacon at the end of the Fourth Year.
- Final Year: IV Theology.
- Ordained a Priest at the end of the Final Year.
- After Ordination: Assigned as an Associate Pastor at a parish or high school for approximately 2-3 years.