Pastoral Formation serves as the effective culmination of the entire process of priestly formation. As John Paul II noted in Pastores Dabo Vobis, “the whole formation imparted to candidates for the priesthood aims at preparing them to enter into communion with the charity of Christ the Good Shepherd. Hence, their formation in its different aspects must have a fundamentally pastoral character” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 57).
The central goal of the Pastoral Formation Program is to form future priests who will be living images of Jesus Christ, to become more like Christ the Good Shepherd, men of deep humility and pastoral charity. Priests are to be “true shepherds of souls” (Optatam totius, 4) who teach, sanctify and govern while conforming their lives to Jesus Christ.
As a result, Saint Joseph’s Seminary offers a challenging and thorough Pastoral Formation Program which is carefully integrated with the human, spiritual and intellectual spheres of Seminary formation.
Throughout their eight semesters at Dunwoodie, seminarians are provided with multifarious opportunities for personal involvement in and practical exercise of pastoral ministry.
Active engagement in pastoral assignments is an essential part of the total formation of future priests, for it both draws from and further enriches the human, spiritual and academic aspects of the student’s formation. Through the Pastoral Formation Program, seminarians develop important pastoral skills which they will draw upon and develop further throughout their lives as priests.
Coordinated by the Director of Pastoral Formation, the Program of Pastoral Formation includes the following: the Field Education Program, the Pastoral Summer Internship Program, the Pastoral Spanish Language and Advanced Language Arts Programs, Pastoral Study Days and Pastoral Skills Workshops, Theological Reflection Evenings, Interfaith Seminary Dialogue, a Pastoral Profile and the Parish Administration Seminar Course.