Academic formation initiates a lifelong search for a deeper understanding of divine mysteries, an understanding that enriches the faith not only of the priest, but of the community he serves.
A critical knowledge of Catholic teaching and tradition is the foundation upon which all theological study and pastoral ministry are based. In addition, priests must be able to relate the intellectual heritage of Catholic teaching and tradition to the concrete situations of the people they are serving.
This requires that seminarians study systematic theology to grasp the meaning of faith, dogmatic theology to connect with the tradition's theological sources, and moral theology to wrestle with the complexities of conscience formation and decision-making.
Priests represent the Church Universal to the particular communities they are called to serve. Thus, they must be effective preachers and teachers, understand the laws and regulations that bind the community together, be skilled in the various techniques and theories of pastoral care and counseling, possess an understanding of leadership theory and practice, and be sensitive to the catechetical concerns present in their communities.
Two Programs for Priesthood
Saint Meinrad offers two graduate degree programs for seminarians:
The two-year Pre-Theology Program/Master of Arts (Catholic Philosophical Studies) offers a solid grounding in philosophy and basic theological thought to prepare students for entrance into a Master of Divinity program. Entrance to the program requires a bachelor's degree.
The four-year Master of Divinity Program, the final academic requirement for ordination, offers graduate study in theology to students who have completed the Pre-Theology Program or have already undertaken significant undergraduate study in philosophy (30 hours) and theology (12 hours) while completing a bachelor's degree.