Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

The Associate Pastor

Associate Pastor banner 2015

The Associate Pastor workshop helps newly ordained priests make a seamless transition from seminary to parish ministry.

Facilitating the Transition into Ministry

Preparation for the workshop begins in the fall after ordination. A trained facilitator conducts a personal interview with the newly ordained priest to help him articulate his experiences and identify the challenges, strengths, and opportunities he might further explore during the on-campus workshop in the winter.

The On-Campus Workshop

The newly ordained priest participates in a five-day workshop at Saint Meinrad with other priests in their first year. This holistic workshop focuses on the priest's experiences in his transition into his new ministry and identity, and employs theological reflection, group interaction and pastoral expertise.

Participants will gain practical insights, develop strategies for more effective ministry, and depart with their personally discerned plans for further growth in their ongoing human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation.


  • January 25-29, 2016


  • This workshop is included as the capstone to initial priestly formation for alumni of Saint Meinrad Seminary.

  • The cost for alumni of other seminary formation programs - $900.

  • Included: Initial transition interview, overnight accommodations, meals from Monday supper through Friday lunch, program curriculum and printed materials.

  • Not included: Purchases at Jack's Coffee Shop, the UnStable, Scholar Shop or Gift Shop.

The Institute for Priests and Presbyterates is able to offer workshops and programs at a lower cost due to the generosity of many benefactors. The actual cost per participant for "The Associate Pastor" workshop is considerably higher than the amount charged.

Appreciating, Managing and Integrating our Transitions
The newly ordained priest undergoes a series of transitions from major seminary to parish life that lay a foundation for the future and provide a point of reference across a lifetime of ministry.

Fr. Richard Chiola leads participants in a theological reflection on the experiences of the priest in his first year of ministry and a discussion of the tasks and challenges, occasions of temptation, graces and discernments common to all newly ordained. A continued personal discernment plan is crafted by each participant.
Praying as a Diocesan Priest
What is working well in the prayer lives of our newly ordained priests? What has been the experience of presiding publicly at prayer, of private devotional prayer, of the Divine Office and scriptural contemplation? What has expanded and stretched prayer? And how do we integrate prayer with our vocation as diocesan priests?

With facilitator Fr. Eric Augenstein, participants reflect on how prayer has grown, changed and challenged them in the first year of priestly ministry and identity.  
Fr. Eric Augenstein
Marriage Preparation and Ministry
In this session with facilitator Fr. Philip Erickson, participants share and reflect upon experiences of what has worked well in preparing couples for marriage and ministering to those already married. Best practices on liturgy preparation and discovering the true intentions of the couple are discussed, as well as the six essentials of healthy and holy marriages. 
Erickson Fr Phil
Divorce and Marriage Dissolution
Continuing from the morning session, participants share and reflect upon their experiences of assisting individuals with marriage nullity and dissolution. How can a deepened sensitivity to the participants benefit the priest in assisting both the petitioners and witnesses in completing the process? How can a priest effectively and pastorally assist these parishioners in developing a new relationship to parish participation? Annulment procedures are reviewed. 
Erickson Fr Phil
Ministry Across Parish Generations
In this session with facilitator Fr. Jim Deiters, participants share experiences of cross-generational ministry and discuss how they might build greater sensitivity to generational differences and needs among their parishioners. How the priest's celibate chastity, as it witnesses to the Kingdom of God, relates to his ministry with each age group is discussed and reflected upon.
Fr. Jim Deiters
Living the Promise of Obedience: An Expanding Understanding Since Ordination
The priest's promise of obedience to the bishop sets him on a way of life marked by an intense listening so that he might respond by bridging Christ to his people, caring for those entrusted to him, taking responsibility for his continued formation, and actively building unity within his presbyterate.

In this session facilitated by Fr. Jim Deiters, participants share and reflect on how their understanding of obedience has changed or grown since priestly ordination, and how they may be called into an ever-deeper living of their promise.
Fr. Jim Deiters
Quick, Simple, Healthy Cooking for One
Chef Josh Lashlee takes workshop participants through a dinner-preparation session designed to help gain strategies for preparing meals that save time and are healthy and delicious.
Josh Lashlee


January 25 
2:00-4:00 p.m. Registration
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer and Social
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. Orientation
6:45-8:00 p.m. Program Session - Appreciating our Transitions - Opening Discussion
January 26
7:00-8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Managing our Transitions
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
2:15-4:30 p.m. Program Session - Integrating our Transitions
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer with Monastic Community (optional)
5:15 - 6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. Optional - Black History Lecture (February workshop only)
January 27 
8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Marriage Preparation and Ministry
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
2:00-4:30 p.m. Program Session - Marriage Nullity and Dissolution
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer
5:15 p.m. Program Session - Quick, Simple Healthy Cooking for One
January 28 
7:00 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 - 11:15 a.m. Program Session - Praying as a Diocesan Priest
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Program Session - Ministry Across Generations
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer with Monastic Community (optional)
5:15 - 6:00 p.m. Dinner
January 29
7:30 a.m. Mass
7:00 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 - 11:15 a.m. Program Session - The Promise of Obedience: An Expanding Understanding Since Ordination
11:15 a.m. Program Evaluation
Noon Lunch

Workshop Dates

  • Monday, January 25 - Friday, January 29, 2016 

Registration Deadline

  • Friday, December 11, 2015


  • Saint Meinrad alumni - Cost of this workshop is included with your initial seminary formation

  • All other first-year priests - $900

Included in the cost: 
  • Transition Facilitation interview and written recap

  • Four nights' accommodations in St. Bede Hall

  • Meals from Monday supper through Friday lunch

  • Program fees and material costs

The Institute for Priests and Presbyterates is able to offer workshops and programs at a lower cost due to the generosity of many benefactors. The actual cost per participant for "The Associate Pastor" workshop is considerably higher than the amount charged.

To Register

  • Registration is closed for 2016

What is Transition Facilitation?

Newly ordained priests experience an enormous transtion as they move from seminary into their first parish ministry assignment. As described in The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests (USCCB, 2001), "Were one to compare this transition into priestly ministry to other kinds of human experience, it might be like leaving home, graduating from school, beginning a career, getting married, and starting a family - but all at once."

Transition Facilitation is a simply a conversation between you and the facilitator, an experienced pastor. The facilitator's job is to ask a series of questions, to listen well and to provide a written recap of what he perceives in the conversation - your identified strengths, struggles and opportunities during this transition phase. That recap serves to offer guidance for you in your sharing and discernment at the workshop.

What is the Transition Facilitator going to ask?

Sample starter questions can be found here. The facilitator may ask other similar questions or clarifying questions based on what he hears.

How long does the interview last?

A typical conversation may last 60-75 minutes.

How will the interview be conducted?

That depends on the circumstances with you and the Transition Facilitator. The conversation can take place in a face-to-face meeting, or it might need to be facilitated using an online video chat program.

Will anyone else see our conversation recap?

A copy of all conversation recaps with all identifying information removed will be provided to the workshop presenters. This allows the information to remain generalized and anonymous, while simultaneously providing presenters enough insight into participants' experiences to better prepare for, address and facilitate reflection on the group's needs.

How do I get started?

Click here for our "How it Works" page.