Human formation leads to and finds its completion in spiritual formation. Human formation continues in conjunction with and in cooperation with the spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions of formation (PPF, n. 106). “For every priest his spiritual formation is the core which unifies and gives life to his being a priest and his acting as a priest” (PDV, n. 45).
The spirituality cultivated in the seminary is specifically priestly. Seminarians aspire to become priests who are configured to Christ, Head and Shepherd of the Church, our great high Priest. Therefore, their spirituality draws them into the priestly, self-sacrificial path of Jesus (PPF, n. 109). Identifying the foundational practices as described in the Program of Priestly Formation, the spiritual formation of seminarians at Cardinal Glennon College includes (n. 110):
- Participation in the daily celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, n. 11). Daily reception of Holy Communion should be the desire of every man who is preparing for the priesthood. Devotion to the Eucharist also includes quiet time in preparation before and in thanksgiving after Holy Mass.
- The Sacrament of Penance fosters the mature recognition of sin, continuous conversion of heart, growth in the virtues, and conformity to the mind of Christ. The Sacrament of Penance is available regularly, and the seminarian is encouraged to make use of this sacrament bi-monthly.
- "The mystery of Christ…permeates and transfigures the time of each day, through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1174). Through the Liturgy of the Hours, seminarians learn to pray with the Church and for the Church.
- Spiritual Direction: A regular meeting (at least once a month) with an approved Spiritual Director is an essential part of spiritual formation, especially in arriving at the interiorization and integration needed for growth in sanctity, virtue, and readiness for Holy Orders.
- The habit of personal daily prayer and meditation enables the seminarian to acquire a personalized sense of how God’s salvation has taken hold of his life and how he might respond to that grace. This prayer happens in the context of silence and solitude and grows and develops into a contemplative attitude that learns to find God in all things.
- Through Eucharistic Adoration a seminarian opens his mind and heart to the Lord “who remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself for us” (CCC, n. 1380).
- Each seminarian is encouraged to develop the habit of reading the Sacred Scriptures daily and of doing some spiritual reading on a regular basis. Through the practices of daily Scripture reading and lectio divina, the seminarian comes to know Christ more intimately, to think and to act as Christ did.
- Devotional prayer, especially to the Mother of God and the saints, assists the seminarian to sustain affective communion with the Lord and His Church. The Holy Rosary “is at heart a Christo-centric prayer…Through it, the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 1).
- Solitude: The seminarian must not neglect the importance of his being alone with God, moving him from his own thoughts to entering a holy solitude in communion with God.
- Asceticism and Penance initiates the seminarian to a path of voluntary renunciation, self-denial and simplicity of life which makes him more available to the will of God and His people.
- Celibacy: Spiritual formation in celibacy cultivates the evangelical motivations for embracing this commitment and way of life: the undivided love of the Lord, the spousal love for the Church, apostolic generosity and availability, and the witness to God’s promises and kingdom.
- Obedience: By surrendering one’s own will for the sake of the Lord and His Church, the seminarian develops a growing and deepening solidarity with the Church established by Christ.