Seminarian Life

“In contrast to previous generations, when a more homogeneous population presented itself for entrance to the
seminary, today’s candidates represent considerable diversity – not only of differing personal gifts and
levels of maturity but also significant cultural differences – that must be taken into account.”

– Program of Priestly Formation, §38



Theological College’s Pre-Theology program follows the guidelines of the Program of Priestly Formation and the emphases of the Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis. The Pre-Theology program has two major goals: The first goal is to assist the new seminarian to adjust to the seminary and take on a “seminarian identity”. The second goal is to prepare the seminarian to enter theological studies at the end of two years.

To accomplish these two goals the seminary offers a full two-year Pre-Theology program. Candidates enter the seminary at different levels of religious, academic and personal preparedness. Issues such as a candidate’s knowledge of philosophy and the liberal arts, his grounding in Catholic tradition and religious education, in addition to matters of personal and spiritual maturity, are addressed during the years of Pre-Theology so that the seminarian is ready to begin theological studies and appropriate an authentic priestly identity. Theological College is a welcoming environment for men with second-career vocations, including those who come from a professional background and those with advanced academic degrees. Those in need of  English competency studies may  enter the ESL program at the university for the first semester.

Segments of the program are designed to orient seminarians in each of the following areas:

Human Formation in Pre-Theology is focused on individual maturity, adult accountability, solid moral character and an ability to live in community and work with others. The new seminarian works with a faculty advisor who is a priest in order to develop personal goals in the four pillars of formation and to integrate his initial experience of formation and seminary living.

Spiritual Formation places an emphasis on an introduction to both community prayer and personal prayer. The daily celebration of the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours form the hinges of community prayer. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, spiritual conferences, Days of Recollection and instruction and experiences in personal prayer such as Lectio Divina and devotion to our Lady and the saints is provided. Each seminarian has a priest as a spiritual director with whom he should meet at least once a month and preferably more often. The spiritual direction relationship sits at the heart of the new seminarian’s growth in the spiritual life.

Intellectual Formation is comprised of a curriculum of 30 credits in philosophy and 12 credits in religious studies along with opportunities for courses in languages (e.g., Latin, NT Greek, and Spanish), the arts, history and music. The philosophy and religious studies courses are those set out by the Program of Priestly Formation. Intellectual formation in Pre-Theology introduces the seminarian to the philosophical and theological traditions of the Church and helps him to develop a sense of critical think in which to engage the modern world.​

Pastoral Formation involves an introduction to ministry and includes experiences of direct service to the poor and catechetical ministry. Reflections on service and pastoral leadership take place in the context of group formation and the advisement relationship.


For admission information, please contact the Office of the Rector at (202) 756-4907, (202) 756-4909 [fax] or [email protected].