SY Formation Program
Human and Spiritual Formation
In the fall of 2018, the Seminary of Christ the King began its Spirituality Year Program (sometimes referred to as a propaedeutic period) for all candidates who enter the seminary. The purpose of the Spirituality Year is to help seminarians “form a priestly heart” in the atmosphere of a Christian community. This involves acquiring a solid foundation for their faith, a habit of prayer, and a deep personal love for the Word of God. This time of formation (September to May) also prepares candidates to embrace their Christian/priestly vocation with greater freedom of heart. As she states in her most recent guidelines for the training of future priests (2016), the Church now considers programs like the Spirituality Year to be a regular part of seminary formation.
The spiritual dimension is the mainstay of the program: daily Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, meditative lectio, Eucharistic adoration and examination of conscience, as well as days of retreat. Also included as supporting elements of the spiritual life are regular spiritual direction and Confession, and regular input from other formators. Cultural days and basic life skills supplement the human formation at this stage.
The approach of the program is non-academic and experiential, that is to say, courses are not for credit. It is hoped that, without the pressure of academic performance, seminarians can more easily integrate the readings and discussions into a lived way of discipleship. Classes include: Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, priestly spirituality, and the liturgy. Presentations on selected formational topics also occur regularly.
It is expected that the candidates will read the whole Catechism and a major portion of the Bible during their year, be instructed briefly in the spirituality of all the major liturgical feasts and read selected Magisterial and Conciliar documents as well as a few important Catholic spiritual classics.
Participants will engage in daily manual work and weekly apostolic outreach. They will come to experience the providence of God in a deeply personal way through a mini-pilgrimage in which they will have to make due with a minimum amount of money and live close to the poor.
While this year of formation takes place in a community that is distinct from the seminary community proper, there are regular opportunities of prayer and recreation with the seminary community at various points during the week. Interaction with the Archdiocese of Vancouver is fostered by means of apostolic outreach. A particular characteristic of the Spirituality Year is a media fast (limited use of TV, radio, cell phone and internet).
To Prefer Nothing to Christ
Each year may have different emphases within the program to accommodate students’ needs and to nurture in them that love for Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin which alone transforms everything we do and say and are. Such is our hope for each Spirituality Year.