Spiritual Formation

Men in Christ

Spiritual formation invites and guides each seminarian to grow closer to the Trinity and to come to know himself as a beloved son of the Father in Jesus Christ. This foundational experience helps seminarians to know and courageously accept their vocation in faith.

Prayer and Liturgy
SJV places relational prayer and the sacraments at the heart of seminary life. Each day includes the Angelus, a Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration, Holy Mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours. Confessions are also available daily. The Church's liturgical calendar is celebrated with Marian processions, special solemnities, and Eucharistic processions. Devotions to the angels and saints are encouraged. Sunday evenings include a communal Rosary and Night Prayer.

Spiritual Direction
Individual spiritual direction helps seminarians become more aware of God's personal communication and respond by living in relationship with Him. Each seminarian is assigned a priest spiritual director and meets with him every other week. SJV's spiritual directors are trained in contemplative spiritual direction according to the guidelines established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Retreats are essential elements of spiritual formation at SJV. They are often significant moments that deepen a seminarian's relationship with God. All seminarians participate in an annual retreat before fall semester begins, as well as an eight-day individually directed Ignatian retreat or a silent preached retreat during January Term.


A lighter class load during the propaedeutic stage allows participants to partake in numerous spiritual conferences and three retreats with staff and guest retreat presenters.

An 8-day directed silent retreat, the culminating event of the propaedeutic stage, has been a significant turning point in vocational discernment for seminarians.

Spiritual Conferences

Each class participates in 12 spiritual conferences per academic year. Spiritual conferences are presented by staff priests and are designed to be sequential, building upon each other throughout the four years of college seminary. Topics include:


New Men

  • Dimensions of Formation
  • Relational Prayer

Second-Year Men

  • Discernment of Spirits
  • Living a Life in the Spirit

Third-Year Men

  • Theology of the Body
  • Lives of Priest Saints

Fourth-Year Men

  • Priestly Identities
  • Missionary Discipleship

Rector's Conferences
In addition to presiding at every Sunday Mass and addressing the seminarians every Sunday evening, the rector of SJV presents two conferences each year to the entire community, helping set the tone and create the vision for being missionary disciples in our world today.


"In silent prayer, which opens him to an authentic relationship with Christ, the seminarian becomes docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, which gradually molds him in the image of the Master." -Ratio Fundamentalis #42

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