Priestly Formation

We provide specialized formation. Accompaniment is our expertise.

With over 20 sponsors, diocesan and religious orders, we know how to actively listen and respond to the needs of bishops and religious superiors. We create an appropriate plan in dialogue with each sponsor that incorporates formation needs, the background of each seminarian, and the specific ministries they need to be prepared for. The Program of Priestly Formation in the United States of America, 6th Edition, (PPF6) emphasizes growth in holiness across four stages:

Propaedeutic Stage

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NABRE)

Seminarians enter formation in the Propaedeutic Stage. This stage lays the foundation of the formational journey, emphasizing human and spiritual development. Men live but in a community of discernment and accompaniment, apart from the seminary, for 12 months to two years. Adaptations for religious orders/novitiate programs, older seminarians, or permanent deacons discerning a priestly vocation, must be discussed in advance. The 2023 Propaedeutic Cohort begins in May and is accepting applications now.

Photos of Dehon House

Home for Propaedeutic Stage:

The “Dehon House”, located on the campus of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, is a beautifully renovated five-bedroom home that will be the communal living space for the Propaedeutic Stage. With two chapels, it provides an ideal space for discerners to grow in prayer, including, “scriptural meditation and the art of lectio divina” that are essential to this stage in formation (PPF 123). 

Please contact us for a conversation:

Deacon Steve Kramer, D.Min., Director of Recruiting: skramer@shsst.edu or 414-858-4767

For more information from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, please read the following PPF6 bulletins: Propaedeutic-Stage.pdf and Propaedeutic-Benchmarks.pdf.

Discipleship Stage

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NABRE)

Continuing to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ, seminarians move into philosophical studies. Through prayer and human formation, seminarians grow in the Christian virtues. The main goal of the Discipleship Stage is “growing in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the life of meditation and contemplation, as well as the training of one’s character in Christian virtue” (PPF 132). This stage is to last at least two years, continuing the discernment process of seminarians. 

Please contact us for a conversation:

Deacon Steve Kramer, D.Min., Director of Recruiting: skramer@shsst.edu or 414-858-4767

For more information from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, please read the following PPF6 bulletins: Discipleship-Stage.pdf and Discipleship-Philosophy.pdf

Meet our seminarians in Discipleship:

Portraits of seminarians

Configuration Stage

“… yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NABRE)

The Configuration Stage prepares men for Holy Orders, guiding seminarians in the sacrifice of self to be God’s shepherds. During the Configuration stage, seminarians are to be instituted to the Ministries of Lector and Acolyte, preparing more diligently for Holy Orders. They are to “enter profoundly into the contemplation of the person of Jesus Christ” (PPF 135) and integrate “the sentiments and attitudes of the Son, understood as self-offering for the pastoral care of the sheep” (PPF 136). There is also a focus on graduate level theology concentrating on the knowledge of scripture, the divine mysteries, rooted in the Magisterium, ecumenical practices, and priestly ministry (PPF 291).

Please contact us for a conversation:

Deacon Steve Kramer, D.Min., Director of Recruiting: skramer@shsst.edu or 414-858-4767

For more information from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, please read the following PPF6 bulletins: Configuration-Benchmarks.pdf, and Configuration-Theology.pdf.

Meet our seminarians in Configuration 4:

Seminarians in Configuration 4

Meet our seminarians in Configuration 3:

Seminarians in Configuration 3

Meet our seminarians in Configuration 2:

Seminarians in Configuration 2

Meet our seminarians in Configuration 1:

Seminarians in Configuration 1

Vocational Synthesis Stage

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21 NABRE)

Upon completion of the Configuration Stage, seminarians enter in to the Vocational Synthesis stage. This stage “is a gradual realization of the cleric’s responsibility for the care of the souls while he resides full-time in a pastoral setting, usually a parish” (PPF 137). The goal of this stage is to gradually introduce seminarians (some as newly ordained deacons) to the daily experiences of priestly life and pastoral service. Ministering in their diocese or ecclesial entity, they apply the knowledge, skills, and spiritual development gained in seminary to ministry in God’s world. SHSST can work with sponsors on placements, benchmarks, rubrics, and training for supervising priests.

Please contact us for a conversation:

Deacon Steve Kramer, D.Min., Director of Recruiting: skramer@shsst.edu or 414-858-4767

For more information from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, please read the following PPF6 bulletins: VocationalSynthesis-Stage.pdf and VocationalSynthesis-Benchmarks.pdf.

Continuing Formation

The PPF6 emphasizes that the priestly journey is a life-long journey. As part of SHSST’s emphasis on specialized formation, we offer programs for priests and religious to continue development across the four dimensions. Contact us; as part of our Lilly Pathways grant, we can tailor programs to your needs. Examples include:

Annual Preaching Conferences
Summer programs, such as the Toolbox for Pastoral Management
Holy Land Archeological Expeditions
Holy Week Pilgrimages to Spain
Collaborations with the Pontifical Gregorian University
Annual Dehon Lectures, named in honor of the Venerable Father Leo John Dehon
The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies events
English and Culture Studies (ESL) and Accent Modification
Master of Arts for advanced study
• Sabbaticals

 

Please contact us for a conversation:

Very Rev. Raúl Gomez-Ruiz SDS, Ph.D., President-Rector: rector@shsst.edu or 414-529-6972
Deacon Steve Kramer, D.Min., Director of Recruiting: skramer@shsst.edu or 414-858-4767