The 2016 document, Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis (The Gift of the Priestly Vocation), has offered the Church a very holistic vision of forming and training men for the ministerial priesthood. It invites seminary programs to examine themselves through the lens of “stages,” rather than merely academic structures. The “propaedeutic stage” is the very first stage, which “seeks to provide seminarians with the basic groundwork they need to engage in priestly formation.” (Program of Priestly Formation 6th Edition) It is designed to be a period of preparation that enables the men to properly enter into the life of the seminary with a solid foundation of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. During this stage, participants begin to develop a life of prayer, study, fraternity, and appropriate docility to formation, which takes place within the context of a smaller community, free from the academic stress of a typical undergraduate or graduate school curriculum.
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary offers two distinct programs within the Propaedeutic Stage – one for those who will be eventually entering College Seminary (College Propaedeutic Year), and one for those who already have a college degree (Pre-Theology Propaedeutic Year). The duration of each program is one full calendar year (August – July).
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