For most seminarians, it takes seven years from entry to Corpus Christi College to ordination to the Priesthood. In special circumstances, some men do a shorter course, some take longer.
Each year is a blend of human, spiritual, academic and pastoral formation. The prayerful and careful study of the Word of God begins in first year and continues through the whole course. However, every year has a special character and emphasis. Here is a quick sketch of the course:
Preparatory year, with special emphasis on spiritual foundations.
Second and Third Years
Emphasis on the academic, especially philosophy.
Emphasis on the pastoral; during this year, seminarians live and work with a parish priest.
Emphasis on the academic, especially theology.
Full load of academic work continues; usually a year of final decision about ordination: many are ordained deacons at the end of this year.
Usually the culmination of the seminary course and the academic program; some spend it living in the parish, some in the College; many are ordained priests at the end of this year.
The Course in More Detail
In 1992, Pope John Paul II gave the Church a document on the formation of priests. It is called Pastores dabo vobis (I will give you shepherds) and it is the ‘road map’ for our programme at Corpus Christi College.
Pastores dabo vobis organises priestly formation into four components: human, spiritual, academic and pastoral. The College’s programme is most easily summarised under those four headings. Each section begins with a brief quote from Pastores dabo vobis.