Academic formation begins a lifelong search for a deeper understanding of divine mysteries, an understanding that enriches the faith of not only the priest, but the community he serves.
A critical knowledge of Catholic teaching and tradition is the foundation upon which all theological study and pastoral ministry are based. In addition, priests must be able to relate the intellectual heritage of Catholic teaching and tradition to the concrete situations of the people they are serving.
This means that seminarians must study systematic theology to grasp the meaning of faith, dogmatic theology to connect with the tradition's theological sources, and moral theology to wrestle with the complexities of conscience formation and decision-making.
Priests represent the Church Universal to the particular communities they are called to serve. They must be effective preachers and teachers, understand the laws and regulations that bind the community together, be skilled in the techniques and theories of pastoral care and counseling, understand leadership theory and practice, and be sensitive to the catechetical concerns present in their communities.
Saint Meinrad offers two graduate degree programs for seminarians:
Pre-Theology Program/Master of Arts (Catholic Philosophical Studies): A two-year program, it offers solid grounding in philosophy and basic theological thought to prepare students to enter a Master of Divinity program. Entrance to the program requires a bachelor's degree.
Master of Divinity Program: A four-year program, it is the final academic requirement for ordination, offering graduate study in theology to students who have completed the Pre-Theology Program or have undertaken significant undergraduate study in philosophy (30 hours) and theology (12 hours) while completing a bachelor's degree.