Where Do I Begin?

Life in the Seminary

Life in the seminary is similar to that of a college or graduate student in respect to attending a regular class schedule. However, seminarians live by a rule focused on prayer, the sacraments, and the individual formation of each man towards ordination to the Priesthood.

Each day is structured according to that rule. Seminarians live in community with each other gathering throughout the day for prayer, Mass, and common meals. Part of each seminarian's formation includes coursework, regular spiritual direction and mentoring, pastoral fieldwork, and parish assignments.

Stages of Priestly Formation (PDF)


Requirements for Seminarian Applications

A man may be eligible to apply for seminary within the Archdiocese of Chicago only after discerning with the vocation director and receiving a formal invitation from him to apply to the archdiocese.

Undergraduate: St. John Vianney College Seminary

St. John Vianney College Seminary is the undergraduate seminary where the Archdiocese of Chicago sends our college seminarians.  Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, on the campus of St. Thomas University, St. John Vianney College Seminary forms young men in the human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral dimensions of formation and helps them to discern a potential call from God to the priesthood.  The formation program is founded upon the norms of Pastores Dabo Vobis, the Apostolic Exhortation of St. John Paul II; The Program of Priestly Formation from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and, most recently the Ratio Fundementalis from the Congregation for Clergy.

Men who wish to enter the seminary immediately following high school, or those who have not yet completed a Bachelor's Degree, will enter St. John Vianney College Seminary.  The College Seminary has a clear mission: to provide the foundation for a young man discerning a call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Students pursue this mission through the first-class academic resources of the University of St. Thomas, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, an integrated program in Christian formation, and through the daily experience of opening one's self to the transforming power of God's grace.

The College Seminary prepares a young man to discern the Roman Catholic priesthood by focusing on the four dimensions of development: human, pastoral, spiritual, and intellectual. Students live and participate in seminary activities at St. John Vianney, located on the main campus of the University of St. Thomas. The seminary building combines student rooms, common areas, and a private chapel to further the development of each student.

For more information on St. John Vianney College Seminary, click here.

For more information on St. Thomas University, click here.

Mundelein Seminary

Mundelein Seminary prepares candidates for the diocesan priesthood and provides full-time intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral formation. The seminary’s program provides seminarians with a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, growth in prayer, celibate chastity and readiness for diocesan priestly life and ministry of priestly leadership.

Men who have already completed a bachelor's degree will be considered for formation at Mundelein Seminary, which is the major seminary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. As a house of formation, the seminary offers men preparing for priesthood the personal, academic, ministerial and spiritual formation essential for conversion to Jesus Christ and their commitment to a life of service to the Church as Roman Catholic priests.

Seminarians at Mundelein spend 4-7 years in formation and graduate-level studies earning a Master of Divinity degree and eventual ordination to the Priesthood.

Seminary life offers opportunities for continued discernment, particularly in the first years. It is normal for knowledge of ‘the ways of the Lord’ to increase as preparation for priesthood is undertaken.