The new Program for Priestly Formation in the U.S. was promulgated by the Vatican on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 24, 2022, and is currently being implemented in seminaries around the country. “While the 5th edition of the Program of Priestly Formation spoke of college seminary, pre-theology, and major seminary, the 6th edition, following the Ratio Fundamentalis, speaks of stages.” Beginning with the 2023-24 school year we will be using the following terms:
What is seminary?
Seminary is a college or university that prepares young men to be good, effective priests for the people of God. Seminarians for the Archdiocese of Seattle currently study at one of the following four seminaries: Bishop White Seminary, Mount Angel Seminary, Mundelein Seminary, and the Pontifical North American College (scroll down to learn more about each of these seminaries).
Studies combine the four primary areas of formation: spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and human. These are the basic tools of seminarian formation. All activities, classes, retreats, etc., stem from these four dimensions, all focus on Jesus.
A typical day for a seminarian begins with morning prayer, Mass and attending classes. In the afternoon, there is time for recreation, study, communal dinner and evening prayer. Seminary life is a blend of study, prayer and community, and it is a fantastic environment for continued discernment of God's will. It is easy to think of discernment as something that happens before entering seminary, but the truth is the discernment of your vocation continues while you are in seminary.
Two dynamics are taking place in seminary. You as an individual are trying to discern God's will by being immersed in the seminary formation, while at the same time the Church is discerning with you to discover the fittingness of this vocation — your readiness and ability to grow into a man who would be a quality priest for the Church.
Bishop White Seminary
The only college seminary in Washington state, Bishop White was founded in 1954 on the campus of Gonzaga University in Spokane. It provides an integral, initial formation for men discerning a vocation to diocesan priesthood.
Mount Angel Seminary
The oldest seminary in the western United States, Mount Angel Seminary, an apostolate of the Benedictine monks of Mount Angel Abbey, is a school whose primary purpose is the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation of men for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Mount Angel Abbey & Seminary is located in St. Benedict, Oregon.
Mount Angel Seminary
In addition to their college program, Mount Angel Seminary offers a graduate school of theology and, for seminarians requiring additional preparation to enter the graduate school, a pre-theology program. The seminary's programs adhere to the norms established by the Holy See and the USCCB as stated in the Program of Priestly Formation.
University of St. Mary of the Lake, also known as Mundelein Seminary, is a major seminary and graduate school of theology in Mundelein, Illinois. Created in 1844, the seminary is the largest priesthood preparation program in the United States.
Pontifical North American College
Early in 1855, Pope Pius IX first expressed his interest in the establishment of a national seminary in Rome for the formation of candidates from the U.S., stressing the unique lessons to be learned in the ancient city: the unity and universality of the Church, the traditions of our faith, and the ministry of the successor of St. Peter. In this house of formation, seminarians deepen their awareness of the meaning and challenges of priesthood through their theological studies, prayerful reflection on the revealed word of God and the tradition of the Church and its meaning for the modern world, as well as through a variety of pastoral service opportunities.
“One does not become a priest on one's own. The 'community of disciples' is essential, the fellowship of those who desire to serve the greater Church.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI, Letter to Seminarians
*NOTE: We do not sponsor or accept anyone from outside the Archdiocese of Seattle. Applicants for seminary will be considered after living in the area on their own for at least two years.