Wondering If You're Called to the Priesthood?
The diocesan vocations website, pghpriest.org, is full of helpful tips, recommended reading, and prayers for discerning your vocation, as well as information on upcoming vocations events.
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Men interested in discerning their call to the priesthood by undertaking some of the academic work required of seminarians may enroll in the Affiliate Program. Affiliates may take one of the Tuesday or Wednesday night classes offered at the seminary alongside the seminarians. (Classes are accredited through Duquesne University and count for college credit.) The in-house classes being offered for the 2012–2013 school year are:
- Sacred Scripture (Fall Semester: Tuesdays, 7–9 p.m.)
- Liturgy: Sources & Practice (Fall Semester: Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m.)
- Origins of the Catholic Faith (Fall Semester: Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m.)
- Sacred Scripture (Spring Semester: Tuesdays, 7–9 p.m.)
- Catholic Life & Practice (Spring Semester: Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m.)
Come and See Weekends
Men at any stage of the pre-discernment process are invited once a semester to experience a weekend retreat at the seminary. A Come and See Weekend begins on Friday night and lasts until lunchtime Sunday. During the retreat, men stay in rooms in Boyle Hall, the seminary dormitory building, and eat meals, pray in common, and engage in fellowship with seminarians. For more details, please contact Father Joe Freedy.
Discerning as a Seminarian
The priestly formation program at Saint Paul Seminary for both collegians and pre-theologians presumes a level of pre-discernment on the part of the seminarian. The seminarian is to have considered, before his entrance into the seminary, basic elements regarding his standing or status in the Church—for example, what it means to practice the Faith and how to form a good prayer life—and possess some grasp of basic Church teachings.
Nevertheless, the seminary is not a "priest factory." Seminarians often find themselves at varying stages of discernment: some are sure, on their part, that they have a vocation to the priesthood; others have come to the seminary to discover just that. In the seminary, discernment is a process that takes place on three levels: first, in the individual seminarian's life of prayer; second, in the seminarian's formation advisement and spiritual direction with the seminary faculty; and lastly, in the seminarian's interactions with the seminary community.
Trust and honesty ensure that a seminarian approaching seminary formation will engage in a successful process of discernment. Through formation advisement and spiritual direction, the seminarian deepens his discernment for the priesthood while simultaneously being formed toward that goal.