Sound Formation for Diocesan Seminarians


Where your seminarians thrive!

Sacred Heart is a seminary that can meet students where they are, with focused attention to their formation.

Fast track for advanced seminarians: An individualized fast track program built around the four pillars of formation may be arranged for candidates who enter the seminary as permanent deacons or have previous seminary course work. In such cases, programs shorter than four years may be approved by the candidate’s bishop.

Dual degree track for gifted seminarians: Certain seminarians may benefit from additional intellectual challenges beyond the Master of Divinity Program. While Sacred Heart’s Master of Arts Program is primarily intended for lay students, a high-achieving seminarian may enter a dual Master of Divinity/Master of Arts Program.

Certificate Program: Under certain circumstances, a candidate’s sponsor may not want the seminarian to pursue an undergraduate degree. Sacred Heart accommodates such situations through its Certificate in Priestly Formation Program. This program includes the same components as the Master in Divinity Program, except that a bachelor’s degree is not required.

Pre-Theology: Many candidates who enter the seminary with a bachelor’s degree lack the necessary academic background in theology and philosophy to pursue graduate-level theology. For these men, Sacred Heart provides a Pre-Theology Introductory Studies Program in accord with the PPF.

Combined B.A./M.Div: Sacred Heart provides a combined B.A./M.Div. Program for those without a bachelor’s degree. It includes course work at nearby cardinal Stritch University, through a long-standing collaboration agreement. Thus, a man with no college experience can earn both degrees in six years.

Priestly formation at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology presents an ideal combination of strengths that uniquely position it to develop excellent priests for diocesan ministry.

  • Robust, time-tested programs in all four pillars of formation ­­— human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral.
  • Solid prayer life with daily Mass, adoration, and rosary, keeping with liturgical norms.
  • Excellent teaching. Faculty of well-rounded theologians, sound pedagogy, and content that is faithful to Church teaching.
  • A focus on effective preaching.
  • A location that provides opportunities to participate in urban, suburban, and rural pastoral environments.
  • A culturally diverse seminary community, with faculty and students from five continents.
  • A program that ensures grads feel prepared for ministry upon ordination.

The faculty is excellent. The coursework is challenging, but they get that there’s more to it. There’s a good balance with spiritual direction, pastoral formation with a lot of volunteer opportunities, and a strong family spirit among seminarians, faculty and staff.

Michael Leiker, Ed.D.
Seminarian for the
Diocese of Salina, KS 

Special expertise

English as a Second Language Bridge Program

For students learning English en route to seminary studies, the SHSST ESL Bridge Program is designed to provide a smooth transition, while including full participation in the prayer life of the seminary.

  • Includes grammar, writing, accent modification, and cultural understanding.
  • As progress allows, bridge students take ESL and M.Div. courses simultaneously, and ESL instructors assist with language aspects of M.Div. class assignments.

Hispanic Studies Program

Sacred Heart offers a program in Hispanic studies to prepare seminarians to meet the ministry needs of Hispanic Catholics in the United States. The program reaches across the pillars of spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral formation.

Options range from familiarization with Spanish language and Hispanic religious expressions to instilling Spanish language proficiency for ministry. Intensive summer language programs, either abroad or in a domestic immersion setting, are available.

Archeology and pilgrimage in the Holy Land

Seminarians and others may join SHSST Scripture faculty on summer research excavations in Israel, participating directly in the illumination of new knowledge about the biblical times. The trip includes daily Mass and prayer, and includes visits to other key sites in the Holy Land, including Jerusalem.

The following bishops have entrusted seminarians to Sacred Heart over the past three years:

Bishop Steven Biegler
of Cheyenne

Bishop Edward Braxton
of Belleville

Bishop William Callahan, OFM Conv.,
of La Crosse

Bishop Robert Coerver
of Lubbock

Archbishop Douglas Crosby
of Hamilton

The late Bishop Francis DiLorenzo
of Richmond

Archbishop Richard Gagnon
of Winnipeg

Bishop Robert Gruss
of Saginaw

Bishop Barry Knestout
of Richmond

Archbishop Jerome Listecki
of Milwaukee

Bishop Robert McClory
of Gary

Bishop Robert Morlino
of Madison

Bishop Thomas Paprocki
of Springfield in Illinois

Bishop James Powers
of Superior

Bishop Edward Rice
of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

Bishop David Ricken
of Green Bay

Bishop Mark Seitz
of El Paso

Bishop Clarence Silva
of Honolulu

Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv.,
of Lexington

Bishop Gerald Vincke
of Salina

Bishop John Brungardt
of Dodge County

Bishop William Wack C.S.C.
of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Bishop Edward Weisenburger
of Tucson

Bishop Thomas Zinkula
of Davenport