Before the young man enters College Seminary, he enters what is called a “Propaedeutic Year.” The word, “propaedeutic” simply means “introductory” or “preparatory.” St. Charles offers a full year, 12-month program, providing the opportunity to be gradually introduced to the many facets of seminary formation without all the academic stress. The men live together in community on campus, yet distinct from the rest of the college seminary. They have their own horarium and receive classroom instruction (12 credits per semester) that is appropriate to their level of study and developmental age.
The College Propaedeutic Year has a greater emphasis on human and spiritual formation, which helps the seminarians to grow in an authentically Catholic masculine identity as beloved sons of the Father. Self-awareness is a very important theme, along with the development of good relational skills, study habits, etiquette, and self-discipline. In addition, the men are provided a solid introduction to the spiritual life, including spiritual direction, private prayer, retreats, and full participation in beautifully celebrated Liturgy.
Other elements that comprise the College Propaedeutic Year include pilgrimages, service projects, Sunday visits to local parishes, and other forms of group recreation. A weekly “media fast” is held Sunday-Friday, that encourages seminarians to develop hobbies and social opportunities that don’t need to depend on the assistance of internet or computer technology.
This year is a wonderful opportunity for the young men to encounter the love of God in a deeper and more integrated way, free from the noise of the world. It prepares them to enter philosophical study in the college seminary with a much richer human and spiritual foundation.