Theology Program

“...every ministerial action—while it leads to loving and serving the Church — provides an incentive to grow in ever greater love and service of Jesus Christ the Head, Shepherd and Spouse of the Church, a love which is always a response to the free and unsolicited love of God in Christ.”
~Pastores Dabo Vobis (n. 24)

The Kenrick School of Theology is the major seminary for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This theologate is accredited through the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. This four-year program of theological studies is grounded in the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, and the Program of Priestly Formation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (5th edition, 2006).

The seminarians are formed according to the four dimensions of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. The intent is to prepare men for the priesthood of Jesus Christ and to configure them according to the Heart of the Good Shepherd.

Kenrick School of Theology operates three overlapping credential programs in which all students, as candidates for the priesthood, enroll. The three programs together are designed to be completed by students within their four years of residency at Kenrick, prior to ordination.

1) The four-year Ordination Program is based on the norms of the document, The Program of Priestly Formation (2006). The Ordination Program at Kenrick also requires the completion of a summative evaluation exercise, either a comprehensive examination or a thesis and defense.

2) The Master of Divinity Program is drawn from the basic requirements of the Ordination Program and is based on accreditation association standards.

3) The Master of Arts Degree Program is also drawn from the Ordination Program, from its advanced requirements, and is based as well on accreditation association standards. The program provides a graduate-level understanding of the theological disciplines for general educational purposes.

The Ordination and the M.Div. credential programs jointly prepare students for ordination to the priesthood and for pastoral and religious leadership in parishes and other settings. Together these two programs draw on all four of the formation subprograms of Kenrick, and hereinafter are described jointly. The M.A. Program, being more restricted in scope, draws principally from the Intellectual Formation Program and is described separately.

Upon completion of the requirements of the School of Theology, the seminarians receive the two degrees of Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology. Through their work in formation, through their cooperation with the grace of God, and through the call of their bishops, they are now ready to be called forth for ordination as priests of Jesus Christ.