The seminary is a place of discernment. A man enters seminary to dedicate himself to finding his vocation, to discern whether God is calling him to the priesthood or to be a faithful, holy lay man.
Pope Saint John Paul II wrote that the seminary is “a community established by the bishop to offer to those called by the Lord to serve as Apostles the possibility of reliving the experience of formation which our Lord provided for the Twelve … Such an experience demands of the Twelve … a detachment that in some way is demanded of all the disciples, a detachment from their roots, from their usual work, from their nearest and dearest (cf. Mark 1:16-20; 10:28; Luke 9:23, 57-62; 14:25-27). The seminary is called to be … a continuation in the Church of the apostolic community gathered about Jesus, listening to his word, proceeding towards the Easter experience, awaiting the gift of the Spirit for the mission” (Pastores Dabo Vobis 60).
The seminary community is not merely a residence; rather, it exists as a vibrant Christian community. Seminarians live, work, study and pray together, building friendships and fraternity and offering support to one another. “The experience of the seminary community plays a significant role in the personal and spiritual growth of seminarians … The give-and-take between those who share the priesthood as a common vocation … provides mutual support, promotes tolerance and fraternal correction, and gives an opportunity for the development of leadership and talent among seminarians” (The Program of Priestly Formation 262).
Seminarians must, therefore, learn the joys and sorrows, the difficulties and hardships, as well as the peace and happiness of true Christian community life. Community life is an achievement dependent both on God’s grace and the consistent serious efforts of its members.
Every aspect of community life is important for discernment and formation. The faculty strives to secure an environment of fraternity, charity, peace, trust, loyalty, and mutual concern in order that seminarians can truly discern their call to serve the Church as a diocesan priest.