Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

The Associate Pastor

Associate Pastor banner 2015

The Associate Pastor workshop helps newly ordained priests to process the transitions they've been experiencing since graduating from seminary, and to appropriate the actuality of their first months of priestly ministry with the previous years of theoretical preparation.

On-Campus Workshop

The newly ordained priest participates in a five-day workshop at Saint Meinrad with other priests also in their first year of ministry. This holistic workshop focuses on the priest's transition and learning experiences during his new ministry and identity, and employs theological reflection, group interaction and pastoral expertise.

Participants will gain practical insights, develop strategies for more effective ministry, and depart with their personally discerned plans for further growth.


  • January 23-27, 2017


Appreciating, Managing and Integrating our Transitions
The newly ordained priest undergoes a series of transitions from major seminary to parish life that lay a foundation for the future and provide a point of reference across a lifetime of ministry.

Fr. Richard Chiola leads participants in a theological reflection on the experiences of the priest in his first year of ministry and a discussion of the tasks and challenges, occasions of temptation, graces and discernments common to all newly ordained. A continued personal discernment plan is crafted by each participant.
Preaching: The Primary Duty of the Priest
As outlined in Presbyterorum Ordinis, "priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all." Preaching is essentially a communication skill that is benefitted by ongoing practice and development. This facilitated discussion and presentation with Fr. Dustin Boehm provides participants an opportunity to share and reflect upon their successful and not-so-successful experiences of preaching in community.
Marriage Preparation and Ministry
In this session with facilitator Fr. Philip Erickson, participants share and reflect upon experiences of what has worked well in preparing couples for marriage and ministering to those already married. Best practices on liturgy preparation and discovering the true intentions of the couple are discussed, as well as the six essentials of healthy and holy marriages. 
Fr Phil Erickson
Divorce and Marriage Dissolution
Continuing from the morning session, participants share and reflect upon their experiences of assisting individuals with marriage nullity and dissolution. How can a deepened sensitivity to the participants benefit the priest in assisting both the petitioners and witnesses in completing the process? How can a priest effectively and pastorally assist these parishioners in developing a new relationship to parish participation? Annulment procedures are reviewed. 
Fr Phil Erickson
The Ministry of the Confessor
Becoming a good confessor is an art. The experience in the practice confessional can only begin to prepare the priest for what he will experience in his ordained ministry. Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, author of A Confessor's Handbook, conducts a reflection session with participants on struggles, surprises and successes as ministers of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation.
Archabbot Kurt
Praying as a Diocesan Priest
What is working well in the prayer lives of our newly ordained priests? What has been the experience of presiding publicly at prayer, of private devotional prayer, of the Divine Office and scriptural contemplation? What has expanded and stretched prayer? And how do we integrate prayer with our vocation as diocesan priests?

With facilitator Fr. Jim Deiters, participants reflect on how prayer has grown, changed and challenged them in the first year of priestly ministry and identity.  
Fr. Jim Deiters
Living the Promise of Obedience: An Expanding Understanding Since Ordination
The priest's promise of obedience to the bishop sets him on a way of life marked by an intense listening so that he might respond by bridging Christ to his people, caring for those entrusted to him, taking responsibility for his continued formation, and actively building unity within his presbyterate.

In this session facilitated by Fr. Jim Deiters, participants share and reflect on how their understanding of obedience has changed or grown since priestly ordination, and how they may be called into an ever-deeper living of their promise.
Fr. Jim Deiters
Quick, Simple, Healthy Cooking for One
Too easily abandoned during trials and pressures of life transitions is the care of self, including what and how much we eat. In our dinner-preparation session, program coordinator Joe Cook will take workshop participants through some easy recipes and processes to help gain some time-saving, healthy and delicious meal strategies.
Joe Cook 2016


January 23 
2:00-4:00 p.m. Registration
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer and Social
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. Orientation
6:45-8:00 p.m. Program Session - Appreciating our Transitions - Opening Discussion
January 24
7:00-8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Managing our Transitions
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
2:15-4:30 p.m. Program Session - Integrating our Transitions
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer with Monastic Community (optional)
5:15 - 6:00 p.m. Dinner
January 25 
8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Marriage Preparation and Ministry
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
2:00-4:30 p.m. Program Session - Marriage Nullity and Dissolution
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer
5:15 p.m. Program Session - Quick, Simple Healthy Cooking for One
January 26 
7:00 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 - 11:15 a.m. Program Session - Praying as a Diocesan Priest
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Program Session - Ministry Across Generations
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer with Monastic Community (optional)
5:15 - 6:00 p.m. Dinner
January 27
7:30 a.m. Mass
7:00 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 - 11:15 a.m. Program Session - The Promise of Obedience: An Expanding Understanding Since Ordination
11:15 a.m. Program Evaluation
Noon Lunch

Workshop Dates

  • Monday, January 23 - Friday, January 27, 2017 

  • Four nights' accommodations in St. Bede Hall

  • Meals from Monday supper through Friday lunch

  • Program fees and material costs

The Institute for Priests and Presbyterates is able to offer workshops and programs at a lower cost due to the generosity of many benefactors. The actual cost per participant for "The Associate Pastor" workshop is considerably higher than the amount charged.

Registration deadline: January 6, 2017

To Register: 

Institute for Priests and Presbyterates
Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
200 Hill Drive
St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Fax: (812) 357-6283