Saint Francis de Sales Seminary

Intellectual Formation

Deepening Understanding of Catholic Theology

Intellectual formation "is a fundamental demand of man's intelligence by which he 'participates in the light of God's mind' and seeks to acquire a wisdom which in turn opens to and is directed towards knowing and adhering to God" (Pastores dabo vobis 51; Gaudium et spes 15). Seminarians seek and come to know the truth of God which has been revealed in Jesus Christ and is passed on by the Church through sacred Scripture and tradition. This knowledge enables a deeper love of God and a more effective proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Program of Priestly Formation finds the basic principle of intellectual formation for seminarians in Pastores dabo vobis: "For the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they should seek an ever deeper knowledge of the divine mysteries" (Pastores dabo vobis 51; PPF 263). This "knowledge of the divine mysteries" always has an ecclesial and ministerial dimension for the candidate preparing for priesthood. The priest is called to share the truth of Jesus Christ that he receives in his intellectual formation in seminary with the people and the parish that he serves.

The propaedeutic stage offers an initial intellectual formation in Christian doctrine, the documents of Vatican II, and the Catholic intellectual tradition. Seminarians then study philosophy in the discipleship stage. The study of philosophy cultivates a love of wisdom, helping seminarians understand the complementarity between faith and reason. It provides the necessary foundation for the culmination of their intellectual formation - graduate theological studies in the configuration stage. Theology, faith seeking understanding, allows seminarians to deepen their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and his Church. "Finally, the intellectual formation through the study of theology enables priests to contemplate, share, and communicate the mysteries of faith with others (PPF 267). Men at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary receive their intellectual formation in collaboration with Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.

Learn more about Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology by visiting their website.

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