Prayer and Spiritual Life
Cultivating the seeds of a priestly vocation begins with rich soil. The soil of seminary life is fundamentally prayer. Such soil, however, needs various nutrients, most fundamental of which is silence. This is the atmosphere critically necessary to hear that “still, small voice” (I Kings 19:12) of the Lord who gently invites the soul to “come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19). This great silence is permeated with authentic Christian prayer. Since “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” (Romans 8:26), we enter daily into the school of the liturgical life of the Church, which is the immersion program for learning the grammar and vocabulary of prayer.
“The diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about the intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.”
Vade Mecum‘Vade Mecum’ is Latin for ‘Go with me.’ It is a prayer book the seminarian keeps with him at all times, a constant companion which contains the formal and devotional prayers utilized at St Joseph College Seminary. View Vade Mecum
Mental PrayerSeeds of vocation collect the dew of the Holy Spirit by engaging daily in mental prayer. The daily exercise of mental prayer enlightens the intellect with the Truth and ignites the will with Divine Love. Although mental prayer can be considered an end in itself, contemplation also moves us towards the works of charity, both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
The Holy RosaryThese seeds of vocation further develop and mature through daily devotions, above all, that foster a love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, seeking her motherly intercession through the Holy Rosary, which is prayed both communally and privately.
Daily Devotions &
College seminarians are encouraged to be men of great piety, augmenting their personal prayer life through spiritual reading and personal devotion to our Blessed Mother and the saints. We hold St Joseph in high esteem since he was the silent saint, who “did not fear to take Mary as his wife.” His potent example helps the seminarian learn to surrender self-will in obedience to the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit, forming him into a man of prayer, a man of God.
Regular spiritual direction is essential in the formation and spiritual growth of the college seminarian. It assists him in recognizing the movements of the Holy Spirit in his life and vocation and in avoiding dangers that pose a threat to his vocation. The USCCB Program of Priestly Formation asserts that regular spiritual direction is essential, “in arriving at the interiorization and integration needed for growth in sanctity, virtue, and readiness for Holy Orders” (PPF, 110).
Frequent (weekly) reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged. Spiritual directors and confessors are available each week for seminarians to receive the Sacrament. Both Penance and Spiritual Direction enjoy the security of internal forum, meaning the seminarian is free to discuss whatever sins and issues he needs to. Transparency allows the Rector and other priests in charge of formation to better lead, guide, and protect each seminarian accordingly.