Some candidates for priesthood come to Sacred Heart without the necessary undergraduate background and/or the prerequisite philosophical and introductory theological background. Some also need additional time for spiritual and human development. With this in mind, Sacred Heart offers a Pre-Theology Program of one to two years. The length of the program depends on the candidate’s previous background and the judgment of the sponsoring diocese or religious community, which may have its own formal program for accepting and preparing candidates.
Seminarians in the Master of Divinity Program are sponsored by dioceses and religious communities throughout the United States, Canada and other foreign countries.
The program has four components: human formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation, and pastoral formation. It is designed to respect the differences in each person’s life and experience. An undergraduate degree is required for the Master of Divinity degree, although candidates with a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits can be admitted to the Certificate in Priestly Formation Program. Both the degree and certificate programs normally require four years of theological studies.
An individualized program of studies and spiritual and human formation can be designed for those candidates who enter the Priestly Formation Program as permanent deacons or who have been in religious life.
Pre-Theology Spiritual and Human Formation
Spiritual and human formation is an integral part of the Pre-Theology Program. All pre-theology students live at Sacred Heart and participate in all required spiritual formation activities. The daily celebration of the Eucharist together with the Liturgy of the Hours is at the heart of community life.Through private and communal prayer, daily Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, the sacrament of Reconciliation, retreats, days of recollection, and rector’s conferences, seminarians have every opportunity to strengthen their relationship with God and their call to priesthood. Seminarians have an individual spiritual director and a spiritual advisor who meet regularly with them to assist them in the discernment and integration process. In addition, the program introduces the student to the full Catholic heritage of spiritual practice and to the discipline necessary for authentic spiritual development.
Pre-Theology Undergraduate Studies Options
For those 30 years or older, Sacred Heart requires a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits to enter the theology program. Some candidates do not have the necessary undergraduate credits and the necessary philosophical and introductory theological background to be admitted to the Master of Divinity or Certificate in Priestly Formation Program. They can meet the admission requirements by enrolling in either the Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity track or the non-degree/certificate track. With each choice, the seminarians reside at Sacred Heart and fully participate in the seminary’s spiritual and human formation program.
Admission to the Pre-Theology Program requires sponsorship by a diocese or religious community. Such sponsorship means the acceptance of the student as a potential candidate for ordination in the sponsoring diocese or community. Please contact Dcn. Steve Kramer, Director of Recruitment, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.