The education of boys and men has been part of Benedictine monasticism from its earliest days. The order, stability and balance of the monastic community offer a unique environment for the training of seminarians: both young and old.
The Seminary of Christ the King is owned and operated by the Benedictine Monks of Westminster Abbey, Mission, British Columbia, Canada. The Benedictines have run the Seminary of Christ the King since 1939 when they took over its operation in Ladner B.C from the Archdiocese of Vancouver at the invitation of Archbishop William Mark Duke. They then moved the seminary and monastic communities to Deer Lake in New Westminster (now part of Burnaby) in 1940 and finally to Mission in 1954.
The interaction between the seminary and monastery communities has been fruitful in many ways. The seminarians work closely with the monks sharing daily and weekly chores. They learn that priesthood is about humble and generous service, a valuable preparation for the complex and sometimes untidy reality of parish life and ministry. They see their teachers outside the classroom and learn to appreciate them as men consecrated to God who know how to work with their hearts, hands and minds. The presence of a living stable Christian community provides a seminarian with a visible, tangible witness of ecclesial life. Integration of human and spiritual values, cultural and local heritage, intellectual and practical life, takes place naturally in a community of faith stable in its physical space and human relationships.
The stability of the monastic community means that alumni returning to visit after many years still find familiar faces and an opportunity to reconnect about old times. Seminarians likewise see priesthood lived out in all stages, from recently ordained members of our community, to those in their prime, to those who are bearing the infirmities of old age. SCK can also boast of a tradition, of passing on values and customs over a series of generations, possible because of a continuity of monastic and seminary leadership since 1939.
Perhaps of greatest significance for young men in our seminary program is the reality of a lived liturgy. The rhythm of daily life at Westminster Abbey and the Seminary of Christ the King is determined by the liturgical seasons and daily celebration of Conventual Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. Seminarians, sometimes for the first time in their lives, experience a sobriety and solemnity in the liturgy which profoundly shapes their appreciation of divine worship. The drama and beauty of the Holy Week liturgy, culminating in the Easter Vigil, draws them into the Paschal Mystery, driving home the wonder of Christ’s redemptive work and our insertion into that reality. Benedictines did not invent the Liturgy, but our charism as custodians of the Sacred Mysteries puts us in a privileged place to form men as priests who will dedicate themselves to their personal sanctification and to the salvation of souls so that God may be glorified in all things. We thank God for the privilege and apostolate of forming priests after the heart of Jesus and invoke His blessing upon our seminarians, alumni and benefactors.