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Pre-Theology Propaedeutic Year

Pre-Theology Propaedeutic Year

If a man enters the seminary after already obtaining a college degree, he is first placed in what is called a “Pre-Theology Propaedeutic Year.” The word, “propaedeutic” simply means “introductory” or “preparatory.” For the last nine years, St. Charles has been running a full year, 12-month program that offers men the opportunity to be gradually introduced to the many facets of seminary formation without the academic stress. Unlike those who are enrolled in the College Propaedeutic Year, seminarians in this program reside off campus, in the former convent of Saint Matthew Parish, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Their life together includes their own distinct horarium, accompanied by a Priest Formation Director and Spiritual Director. The calendar and daily schedule strengthens men in habits of prayer and liturgical life, self-knowledge, self-sacrifice, good health, faith-filled communal living, joyful fellowship, team work, personal responsibility, initiative, discipline, simplicity, silence and detachment. Conferences and course work offer foundational instruction in Sacred Scripture, Spiritual Theology and History, The Catechism, the Documents of Vatican II, Theology of the Body, the Spanish Language, Prayer, and Human/Emotional Maturation.  In addition to this intellectual formation, other activities are planned which provide opportunities for growth in the other dimensions of priestly formation.  These include Tuesday pastoral placements, Friday Community Outings, pilgrimages, retreats, Sunday visits to various parishes for Mass, and exposure to Catholic art/culture. Seminarians in the program also journey for a month-long mission to meet and to serve Christ in the poor.  Throughout this year, the seminarian’s formation will be crafted to help the man comprehend who he is as a loved son of the Father while confronting whatever may be blinding him to this truth. 

During the Pre-Theology Propaedeutic Year, men have extensive restrictions placed on their media use, including phones, tablets, computers, television, radio, music, and movies.  An appropriate amount of technology use is allowed at various intervals.  This “fast” facilitates freedom to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to initiate quality interpersonal interactions and conversations, to expand personal capacity to be present to others in the moment, and to fortify healthy forms of leisure.  While encouraging a balanced approach to internet use, the fast also promotes recovery from addictions or excessive reliance upon it.

Please click on the four “dimensions” below to learn more about this program…

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