The whole formation imparted to candidates for the priesthood aims at preparing them to enter into communion with the charity of Christ the Good Shepherd. Hence, their formation in its different aspects must have a fundamentally pastoral character.
— Pastores dabo vobis, par. 57

The Programme Year by Year

Pastoral formation is treated in a progressive manner. Students become engaged in a variety of pastoral settings from year to year. In the first three years, and then for Fifth and Sixth Years, all students spend half a day a week in a supervised pastoral placement.

First Year students are placed in Catholic parish primary schools in the First Semester. Then, with a three-week pastoral intensive, they begin placements in institutions that care for the aged and disadvantaged.

Second Year students are engaged throughout the year in a parish catechetics programme for primary school children.

In Third Year, typically, students’ pastoral work centres on a Catholic secondary school.

Fourth Year students are generally given a parish placement, which includes an internship period.

For those in Fifth and Sixth Years, one of these years will normally entail a hospital placement. Other possible placements include particular diocesan agencies; centres of ministry focused on aspects of social welfare; and centres focused on serving those with disabilities, and the disadvantaged.

Deacons are assigned to a parish; and they also have practical formation sessions concentrating on liturgical leadership and the administration of the sacraments.

All seminarians from Second Year onwards are engaged in theological reflection as they present the story of particular pastoral experiences.