The Theology Program at The Saint Paul Seminary prepares seminarians for priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. The human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral requirements of the program reflect the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis (PDV) and the norms of the Program of Priestly Formation (PPF) of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Key elements of the Theology Program include:

Master of Divinity (MDiv.) Degree

To receive the Master of Divinity (MDiv.) degree, the seminarian must successfully complete:

1. 122 credits (for students matriculating Fall 2016 and after) or 128 credits (for students matriculating before Fall 2016) with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.3 or higher, including a supervised ministry placement, a hospital ministry experience, and the final integrative seminar.

REVISED Master of Divinity Curriculum (for students matriculating Fall 2016 and after)

Master of Divinity Curriculum (for students matriculating before Fall 2016)

2. The requirements and evaluation process of the seminary formation program.

Teaching Parish Program

At The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, each seminarian participates in the highly acclaimed Teaching Parish Program. All seminarians are assigned to a teaching parish for four years of seminary formation. 

Under the guidance of seminary faculty, students follow a plan for ministerial development that will best prepare them for ordained pastoral ministry in their dioceses. Students work closely with experienced pastors, identify competencies essential to the role of the priest, practice those skills with supervision, receive valuable feedback, reflect theologically on their experiences, and identify their gifts for service and leadership in the Church. Additionally, seminarians participate in a one-hour weekly discussion providing opportunties for theological reflection and integration of pastoral experiences. 

Spiritual Pastoral Ministry

Seminarians participate in a two-month intensive program that combines ministry to the sick and suffering, theological reflection, and academic study of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The course's central elements include a healthcare ministry practicum and detailed examination in the theology of healing and suffering. The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity gives seminarians the opportunity for spiritual and ministerial growth, supplemented by individual spiritual direction, a silent retreat and group reflection.  

Spanish Immersion

To meet the needs of an increasingly diverse church, seminarians are immersed in an intensive Spanish speaking environment while deepening their understanding of cross-cultural evangelization. Assisted by Spanish speakers and tutors, each seminarian learns valuable language and evangelization skills. The program gives seminarians practical insight into contemporary parishes, especially those with immigrant populations. In addition, seminarians may participate in summer mission trips to Spanish speaking countries. 

Deacon Summer Placement

Newly ordained deacons participate in a ten-week parish placement to experience parish life, live in a rectory, practice pastoral care, and preside and preach at liturgies. The deacon works with his supervising pastor, parish staff and parishioners. 

Theology II in Mexico

Evangelization in a Global Context is a one-credit course offered to Theology II seminarians in Mexico. By spending time at an orphanage, working with the poor served by the Missionaries of Charity, and having the opportunity to learn about the centrality of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the spirituality of the people, seminarians will grow in cultural competencies in meeting pastoral needs related to those they will serve in their dioceses.  

Theology III in the Holy Land

This course offers Theology III seminarians a January Term pilgrimage to the Holy Land so that they may study its historical, biblical, and ecumenical importance. Special attention is devoted to the practice of preaching at sites visited, incorporating historical-critical, textual, liturgical, and theological methods of exegesis. 

Theology IV in Rome

Through on-site visits with selected Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, this course addresses the Church’s engagement in missiology, evangelization, and ecumenism. Special attention is given to the relevant documents of the Second Vatican Council and 20th century encyclicals. Presentations and discussions with Church leaders prepare Theology IV seminarians for understanding missionary activity and its relationship to diocesan ministry. 

Advisors

Seminarians benefit significantly from the regular counsel of faculty members in reaching decisions concerning their intellectual, pastoral, human and spiritual formation.  Throughout the four years of the program, students work closely with an academic advisor, a formation director, and a teaching parish supervisor who serve as a formation team, supporting their formation for ordained ministry. The academic advisor assists students in planning their program of study and fulfilling degree requirements, as well as providing counsel as their studies progress. As students gain pastoral experience in their teaching parish, they are guided by a supervisor, usually the pastor, in acquiring ministerial experience. The formation director, who is a priest faculty member, works with students to integrate all aspects of formation and coordinates the work of the formation team.

Evaluations

As called for in the Program of Priestly Formation, each seminarian's progress and development in formation is monitored and reviewed in a general way throughout the year and more intensively during the formal evaluation process during spring semester.