At Saint Meinrad, we understand pastoral formation as an ongoing process of preparing for ministry, practicing pastoral charity, and reflecting upon the ministry event. These three steps lead naturally from one to the next and guide the seminarian in a process of deepening his pastoral skills, conforming his heart and mind to that of the Good Shepherd, and integrating his ministry into the mission of the local church through obedience and collaboration.
There are two Pastoral Formation conferences for each class every semester. We invite members of the formation staff, or experienced local clergy and lay ministers, to instruct the seminarians on a pastoral topic or skill that is relevant to their supervised ministry. The seminarians engage the speakers in dialogue about their experience, and they gain insight into how they might better minister in similar circumstances.
The following topics are addressed in the Discipleship Stage:
I Discipleship: Understanding the Different Aspects of Ordained Leadership.
II Discipleship: Introduction to Youth and Young Adult Ministry
The following topics are addressed in the Configuration Stage:
I Configuration: Ecumenical ministry
II Configuration: Clinical and parish ministry
III Configuration: Parish ministry
Although each seminary course is relevant to pastoral formation, the courses below bear most directly on pastoral theology and practice, preaching and liturgical ministries:
Supervised ministry is a practical learning experience, guided by an experienced supervisor. At the supervised ministry sites, seminarians learn by observing, practicing, and reflecting on their ministry with their supervisor and peers. Seminarians spend three to six hours at their ministry site, for 12 Wednesdays each semester.
During the Discipleship Stage, seminarians participate in the following sequence of supervised ministry placements:
I Discipleship: Working with and for the Poor
II Discipleship: Catholic Social Justice and Inter-Religious Dialogue
During the Configuration Stage, seminarians participate in the following sequence of supervised ministry placements:
I Configuration: Ministry to Youth and Young Adults
II Configuration: Pastoral Care and Presence
III Configuration: Catechetical Ministry
Summer Pastoral Internship
Seminarians compose brief reviews and reflections after each week of ministry. The primary purpose of theological reflection is “to interpret pastoral experience or activity in light of Sacred Scripture, Church teaching, personal faith, and pastoral practices. Reflection of this kind should become a lifelong habit in priestly ministry” (PPF, 391).
Each seminarian meets regularly in a small group for theological reflection. A member is assigned as the group facilitator, who leads the meetings and makes sure that conversation is fruitful and edifying. The purpose of the group is to grow in the virtue of spiritual understanding, to discern more clearly our vocational identity as a minister of apostolic works, and ultimately to live and minister in greater awareness of the movements of the Holy Spirit.
For more information, contact our pastoral formation staff:
Fr. Mateo Zamora, OSB
Fr. Luke Waugh, OSB