The mission of Saint Joseph’s Seminary and College is to form and educate men to serve as priests of Jesus Christ for the Archdiocese of New York, other dioceses, and religious communities. The Seminary also educates and forms candidates for ordination as permanent deacons. Through its Institute of Religious Studies, the Seminary provides graduate theological education to laity, religious, and clergy.
I. As the major seminary of the Archdiocese of New York, the purpose of Saint Joseph’s is to form and educate candidates for the ordained priesthood who, as priests, will have a clear sense of their identity as ministers who are set aside to act in the name and person of Jesus Christ, Shepherd and Head of the Church, and who exercise a priesthood distinct from the common priesthood of all the baptized.
Saint Joseph’s Seminary aims to assist the seminarian in his effort to establish an intimate relationship with God the Father in Jesus Christ, His Son, through the Holy Spirit. This relationship is nourished by Sacred Scripture and Tradition, celebrated especially in the Eucharist, and marked by sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
Through the interrelated components of priestly formation — human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral — the Seminary strives to train men, called as priests to be living images of Jesus Christ, to become more like Christ, the Good Shepherd, men of deep humility and genuine pastoral charity. The Seminary prepares the seminarian in a special way for the three-fold office of Christ: teaching the Gospel, celebrating the divine mysteries, and shepherding God’s people. In this deep communion with the whole Church and its fidelity to Church teaching, the Seminary prepares its future priests to be men of ecclesial communion, united by special bonds with the Pope, the College of Bishops, their own Bishop, other priests, deacons, consecrated religious and the lay faithful.
As the Program of Priestly Formation (PPF) (NCCB, Fifth Edition, 2006) states, “the overall goal of every stage of seminary formation is to prepare a candidate who is widely knowledgeable about the human condition, deeply engaged in a process of understanding divine revelation, and adequately skilled in communicating his knowledge to as many people as possible” (PPF, No. 138).
At Saint Joseph’s Seminary, students follow an academic curriculum leading to the professional degree of Master of Divinity and the academic degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology awarded through the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Eligible candidates may also obtain an advanced academic degree, Master of Arts (Theology).
For students preparing to enter the major seminary, Saint Joseph’s Seminary provides a non-degree program of spiritual and academic formation at Saint John Neumann Residence and Hall. Candidates who are college graduates take courses prerequisite to seminary study in a non-degree program offered on campus. College students prepare to enter the Master of Divinity program by completing studies in philosophy and theology as they pursue a bachelor’s degree at nearby Catholic institutions.
II. The Diaconate Formation Program, a non-residential and non-degree program, provides candidates for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate an extensive program of human, spiritual, theological and pastoral formation in accord with the principles of the Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons promulgated by the Congregation for Catholic Education.
III. Saint Joseph’s Seminary grants a Master of Arts in Theology and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to qualified lay men and women, religious, and clergy. This program of study, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, provides doctrinal formation and ongoing enrichment for those who seek a fuller understanding of Catholic theological traditions.
IV. Enriched by the cultural and educational treasures of the metropolitan New York area, the Seminary seeks to educate and form its seminarians, clergy, and other students for a developing church in a dynamic society. As Saint Joseph’s Seminary looks to the future, it continues to develop its program by fostering creative scholarship utilizing the intellectual and cultural resources of the New York region.
St. Joseph’s Seminary is committed to implementing its various degree programs, which enroll two types of students: on the one hand, those who are studying for the priesthood from the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and various communities of Consecrated Life; on the other hand, lay women and men, ordained clergy, and those in Consecrated Life.
The first group, made up of seminarians, is eligible for the Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree and the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) awarded by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum). Those who maintain a 3.0+ average and with the permission of their Religious superiors may also apply for the Master of Arts in Theology (MA Theo).
The second group is eligible for the Master of Arts in Religious Studies (MARS) and Post-Master’s Certificates in Sacred Scripture and Dogmatic Theology. After July 1, 2013, students belonging to this second category will be eligible for the MA Theo and the MAPS, as the MARS degree program ceases to admit students.
Program Completion Rate:
Over the last ten years the two categories of students have had the following program completion rates (NB: the M.Div requires on average four years, and the MARS degree on average five years, to complete):
Category No. 1: 76%
New enrollees in the M.Div degree program, 1998-2008: 140
Seminarians completing their degrees, 2002-2012: 106
Category No. 2: 77%
New enrollees in the MARS degree program, 1997-2007: 202
Students completing their degrees, 2002-2012: 155
Program Scheduling Dynamism:
All of the seminarians (Category 1) who completed their Master of Divinity between 2002 and 2012 have gone on to ordination and service as priests in their local diocese or Community of Consecrated Life. The employment rate for this category is 100%.
Students pursue the MARS degree (Category 2) for a variety of both personal and professional reasons. 79% of our graduates have obtained positions in pastoral ministry at local schools, parishes and church-based agencies. Among the remaining 21% are those who offer pastoral service on a part-time or volunteer basis in their local parishes and dioceses, and those who earned their degree for the purposes of individual theological and spiritual enrichment.