On June 16, 2005, the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Program of Priestly Formation (5th edition) as the Ratio institutionis sacerdotalis for the United States to be observed in seminaries for the formation of priests. When the USCCB promulgated the 5th edition of the Program of Priestly Formation they gave the Church a vision for priestly formation as well a map as to how to actualize that vision.
Among the many statements of profound wisdom, the Program for Priestly Formation, 5th edition presents us with the following:
- “There is a reciprocal relationship between spiritual and intellectual formation. The intellectual life nourishes the spiritual life, but the spiritual also opens vistas of understanding, in accordance with the classical adage credo ut intelligam (‘I believe in order to know’).” (no. 136)
- “Candidates should give evidence of having interiorized their seminary formation. Growth in self-awareness and sound personal identity are the hallmarks of a healthy personality that establishes a secure basis for the spiritual life.” (no. 86)
- “The intellectual formation of the candidate must be directed to the ecclesial dimensions of priestly formation, namely, the teaching office (munus docendi) of the priesthood.” (no. 139)
The USCCB and The Program for Priestly Formation call dioceses and seminaries to assist seminarians in the (1) interiorization of their formation as well as (2) training future priests to teach the faithful in such a way that parishes become “schools of prayer.” (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 33)
In response to the pressing needs of the day, the Institute for Priestly Formation has created a certificate in Spiritual Formation for diocesan seminarians.
- The program assists seminarians in delving deeper into spiritual theology.
- The program assists seminarians in the interiorization of spiritual theology and spiritual formation by awakening their hearts to taste and see Trinitarian and Marian love at work in everyday faith.
- The program equips seminarians in teach Christian prayer and discernment and thus becoming major contributors in the Catholic Church’s mission of the new evangelization.
The program is directed by Rev. Richard Gabuzda, S.T.D., a specialist in sacramental theology and diocesan priestly spirituality. The experience culminates in a personal appropriation of God’s grace through encountering Trinitarian and Marian love in and through the rich living tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola.