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Seminarians in Class

Intellectual Formation Program

We expect academic excellence from candidates with the view that they must thoroughly grasp the Church’s teaching as taught by the Magisterium. Our intellectual tradition is rigorous and guided by the goal of the pastoral life. The Mount takes a personalized approach to academic mentoring, providing an array of resources for both advanced students and those who may struggle to meet academic expectations.

Purpose of Intellectual Formation

The purpose of the intellectual formation program is that seminarians grasp the Catholic intellectual and liturgical tradition, are able to proclaim and teach the Gospel of Christ and to communicate the mystery of God to people today, and are equipped for the continuing pursuit of truth, PPF, 136-139.

Intellectual Formation Components

This program embraces both degree and non-degree programs, all of which are supported by our Ordination Formation curriculum which serves as a base for intellectual priestly formation (PPF 191). Seminarians are expected to earn the Master of Divinity degree at the completion of the eight-semester formation program, and may also attempt one of our dual-degree options. A two-year Pre-Theology Formation certificate program is offered for those lacking the prerequisites for the graduate study of theology, during which students may earn the M.A.P.S. degree.

Goals / Learning Outcomes

The goals of intellectual formation include both overarching goals/learning outcomes and additional specifications in the various degree and non-degree programs.  The intellectual formation program as a whole equips seminarians to be:

1. Hearers of the Word

Hearers of the Word: to know the scriptural texts and biblical theology in accord with sound exegetical methods faithful to magisterial teachings. “The proper understanding of Sacred Scripture requires the use of the historical-critical method, though this method is not totally sufficient. Other methods that are synchronic in approach are helpful in bringing forth the riches contained in the biblical texts” (PPF, 198-200).

2. Proclaimers of the Word

Proclaimers of the Word: to preach the Word of God in accordance with sound principles of biblical interpretation and sound catechesis as well as the practical skills of preparing and delivering homilies (PPF, 138-139, 200).

3. Catechists

Catechists: to understand, proclaim, and expound the faith to others grounded in an in-depth understanding of the Creed, its biblical, historical, and dogmatic richness, and particularly our belief in one God in three Divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “The doctrinal, educational, catechetical, and apologetical aspects of a candidate’s training are to prepare the seminarian to be a faithful, loyal, and authentic teacher of the Gospel” (PPF, 139, 203, 230).

4. Followers of Christ

Followers of Christ: to have a sure knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the words and deeds, indeed the person, of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the revelation of God to all men and women (PPF, 137).

5. Faithful to the Church

Faithful to the Church: to distinguish the normative function of the Magisterium from the ecclesial role of the theologian, the truths revealed by God and contained in the deposit of faith from their theological mode of expression. “The education of a priest is never seen in isolation from the Tradition of the Church” (PPF, 139).

6. Culturally Aware

Culturally Aware: to grasp and teach others the truth about the Church and its role in the world as well as to understand the world, the signs of the times, in which the message of Christ is preached, especially the increasing diversity of cultures in the US ministerial context and the increasingly global context of the ministry and theology (PPF, 228).

7. Historically Aware

Historically Aware: to appreciate and help others to grasp the rich history of the Church through its 2000-year existence, to understand its efforts of evangelization, its sad divisions and controversies, its famous and infamous figures, and how it has come to assume its current position in the world and, in particular, in the USA (PPF, 210).

8. Ministers of the Sacraments

Ministers of the Sacraments: to understand the identity of the priest as a sacramental representation of Christ, Head and Shepherd of the Church (PDV, 15), and, having a thorough knowledge of liturgy and sacramental theology, law and practice, to be prepared to celebrate the liturgy as ministers of Christ through the Holy Spirit on behalf of the Church (PPF, 214).

9. Promoters of Marriage and Family

Promoters of Marriage and Family: to minister to those seeking marriage with professional competence in Canon Law, well prepared and delivered marriage preparation, thorough familiarity with the Rite of Marriage, and a solid and persuasive presentation of the Church’s teaching on the vocation and moral responsibilities of marriage and family (PPF, 218).

10. Moral Teachers and Guides

Moral Teachers and Guides: to explain faithfully and persuasively, and to defend effectively, the Church’s teaching on the moral life; and to assist in the formation of conscience and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (PPF 204-207).

11. Advocates of Justice

Advocates of Justice: to understand and promote the Church’s teaching on social justice and the Church’s role in the struggle for justice, peace, and the inviolable dignity of human life; to understand and promote Church teaching regarding medical ethical issues especially concerning the beginning and end of human life. (PPF, 204-209, 229).

12. Ecumenically Sensitive

Ecumenically Sensitive: to have a critical and fair evaluation of the teaching of other churches and religions (PPF, 163) as well as a practical understanding of ecumenism and of the Ecumenical Directory in particular (PPF, 216, 224).

13. Motivated for Ongoing Intellectual Formation

Motivated for Ongoing Intellectual Formation: to have the habit of reading theology and theological reflection, the capacity for a critical reading of theological materials, and a recognition that “continuing education after ordination is a necessity” (PPF, 138, 227).
seminarians in class

Academic Resources

To ensure academic achievement we offer an advanced technology infrastructure, writing specialists, student-to student tutoring, and a Learning Skills Department that can help identify and address learning challenges.

  • Download the Seminarian Handbook (.pdf)

    The Seminarian Handbook gives detailed information about Formation Advising, Academic Norms, MAPS procedures, Pastoral Formation, the SGA Constitution, etc.

  • Download the Rule of Life (.pdf)

    The Rule of Life contains information regarding Spiritual and Liturgical life in the Seminary, as well as details on various Practices within the Seminary Community.

  • English for Theology

    Learn more about this support program for our international seminarians.

  • Shared Resources

    Seminarians can make use of various resources offered by the University: Library, Learning Services, Information Technology

  • Academic Policies

    Learn more about such policies as Academic Integrity, Grading, and Transcripts/Grade Reports.

  • Academic Excellence

    Find out how seminarian achievement is recognized through Academic Honors, as well as Memorial Awards and Prizes.