What Is a Seminarian?

A seminarian is a man who has been accepted by a bishop to prepare for ordination as a Catholic priest and has begun to study at a specialist theological college called a seminary. The fact that he has started formation does not necessarily mean that he has a vocation to priesthood. The discernment process continues at seminary as both the individual and the Church continue to look for evidence that he shows signs of a priestly vocation and is responding to formation. One way of looking at it is that once someone has been accepted for seminary formation the presumption is that he has a priestly vocation unless it becomes apparent that is not the case.

Seminarians come form all walks of life, previous educational experiences, family backgrounds, and parishes. They bring different talents, insights, and experiences to their time in formation. Seminarians live in community. This means they pray together, work together, take their meals together, and study together. While the seminary is a place where individual men go to discern what the Lord is asking of them, ultimately as priests they will belong to the diocesan presbyterate, the fraternity of priests serving the local Church as collaborators of the diocesan bishop. The seeds of this brotherhood and fraternity are sown during their time in seminary formation.