Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology's Propaedeutic Year of Spiritual Discernment, El Camino, is designed to introduce young men who are discerning priesthood to the wide depths and richness of Catholic culture, while simultaneously helping them to discover how their story and vocation fits within that broader story.

In conjunction with the Congregation of the Clergy's "The Gift of Priestly Vocation - Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis" (2016) and its newly proposed propaedeutic stage (§ 59-60), Saint Meinrad's El Camino aims to respond by offering a uniquely robust, indispensable year of discernment, while providing a "solid basis for the spiritual life and to nurture a greater self-awareness for personal growth."

By distinguishing such initial formation from philosophical studies, Saint Meinrad's propaedeutic year focuses on the development of "human and spiritual perspectives" as well as to "help make up for anything that is missing in their general education." (§ 59)

The El Camino year of Spiritual Discernment is centered around a "Great Books" curriculum - a seminar-based approach that encourages and fosters critical thinking skills and active discussion. Participants are invited to see these enduring texts not only as key cultural touchstones, but as living testimonies to the Holy Spirit's timeless work in animating and building the City of God.

During the year, students are given the tools they need to engage in a life of missionary discipleship and grow a spirituality that is both connected to the broader tradition of priestly spirituality and is sustaining for current ministry demands in the Catholic Church in North America.

Special focus is given to a well-rounded understanding of Latino ministry, through cultural and language immersion.

Fundamentally, this year is one of discernment. Using intense prayer experience and gaining a greater experiential knowledge of the global Church, young men learn the art of spiritual discernment to answer the call of Christ in their lives.

The core of the program focuses on the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina, holy reading, as the means by which the message of Christ is conveyed, but also includes a solid Catholic emphasis on cultural, all within the context of a spirituality of pilgrimage.