Grow in Faith
The fundamental principle of spiritual formation is "to live in intimate and unceasing union with God the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This is the foundational call to discipleship and conversion of heart. Those who aspire to be sent on mission, as the apostles were, must first acquire the listening and learning heart of disciples." (Program of Priestly Formation 107; Pastores dabo vobis 45)
Spiritual formation is the core which unifies and enlivens the other dimensions of a man's formation. There are certain areas of spiritual formation considered essential to the spiritual growth of both the individual and the community at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary:
- Daily Mass
- Liturgy of the Hours
- Daily holy hour and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
- Daily schedule of personal prayer and meditation
- Weekly opportunity for confession
- Marian devotion, especially the rosary
- Regular spiritual direction
- Solitude and asceticism
- Annual community retreat
- Priestly and diaconate ordination retreats
- Spiritual renewal days and Eucharistic days each semester
The spiritual formation program at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary guides and encourages seminarians in the ongoing process of their own transformation in Christ. Seminarians also receive resources to help them develop a fruitful interior life centered on the Eucharist, which is the source of their intimacy with Jesus Christ. Spiritual formation supports the seminarian's commitment to attend more fully, accept more graciously, and respond more lovingly to a unique call to serve Jesus Christ and the Church.
"In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life." (Sacrosanctum concillium 17) Pastores dabo vobis affirms that "a totally necessary aspect of the formation of every Christian, and in particular of every priest, is liturgical formation, in the full sense of becoming inserted in a living way in the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ, who is present and active in the Church's sacraments." (Pastores dabo vobis 48) Thus, drawing from the rich heritage of the Church's liturgical tradition, Saint Francis de Sales Seminary forms seminarians - through its liturgical life and weekly formation sessions - to acquire a loving reverence for and understanding of the sacred liturgy.
Moreover, in preparation for their future life as priests of Jesus Christ, "seminarians must learn to celebrate all of the Church's sacred rites according to the mind of the Church" (Program of Priestly Formation 214). To this end, Saint Francis de Sales Seminary offers an opportunity for seminarians to learn and practice these rites in many liturgical practica, with particular attention given to the celebration of Holy Mass and the sacrament of Penance. Believing that "the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed," and that "it is the font from which all her power flows" (Sacrosanctum concilium 10), Saint Francis de Sales Seminary prepares its seminarians to lead a parish's liturgical life as stewards of these sacred mysteries, faithful to the living tradition of the Church.