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To understand the Institute for Priestly Formation one must understand the impact of three important events in the recent history of the Church.

First, in 1990 Pope John Paul II gathered bishops from across the world for the 11th World Synod of Bishops. The Synod addressed the most urgent and pressing needs of the day. The summations of the Synod were eventually written in a document entitled The Formation of Priests in Circumstances of the Present Day. At the Synod, the Church called for a more intense period of spiritual formation for candidates for the priesthood.

Second, in Mach 25, 1992, in response to the 1990 World Synod of Bishops, Pope John Paul II wrote a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation entitled “I Will Give You Shepherds” (Pastores Dabo Vobis). There, the Holy Father built on the foundations of the Second Vatican Council and laid out a renewed vision for the priesthood and priestly formation. Specifically, through Pope John Paul II the Church articulated for the first time ever four pillars within which a man is formed for the priesthood: human formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation, and pastoral formation.

Finally, in June 2005 the United States Catholic Bishops released the fifth edition of the Program for Priestly Formation, the governing document providing norms and guidelines for how seminaries should form men for the priesthood. While the first edition of the Program for Priestly Formation was released in 1971, the US Bishops have conscientiously updated the PPF at key seasons within the US Church. In 2005, the US Bishops released the fifth and most current edition as an intentional move to more conscientiously root the PPF in Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “I Will Give You Shepherds” (Pastores Dabo Vobis).

In the Program for Priestly Formation, no. 115 we read, “Since spiritual formation is the core that unifies the life of a priest, it stands atthe heart of seminary life and is the center around which all other aspects are integrated.” The US Bishops, inspired by the World Synod of Bishops and Pope John Paul II, have given US seminaries a blueprint for priestly formation: spiritual formation is the center around which all other aspects are integrated.

The Institute for Priestly Formation is a non-profit, Public Association of the Faithful, committed to serving bishops by working directly with priests, seminarians, and seminaries so that spiritual formation is the center around which all other aspects of priestly formation are integrated.

Since our humble beginnings, we have served close to 2,000 priests and seminarians from over 154 dioceses in the United States, 38 international dioceses, and eight religious orders.

Our offices, as well as several of our programs, are located on the campus of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. However, our outreach extends far beyond Omaha. Our mission is to help center spiritual formation at the core of priestly formation so that priests and seminarians live in an intimate and unceasing union with God.

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