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.

SJV places relational prayer and the sacraments at the heart of seminary life. Each day includes the Angelus, a holy hour with Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours. Confessions are also available daily. We celebrate the Church's liturgical calendar with Marian processions, special solemnities and Eucharistic processions. Devotions to the angels and saints are also encouraged. Sunday evenings include a communal rosary and night prayer.

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 spiritual director and meets with him twice a month. His director will usually accompany him for his entire time at SJV. Our spiritual directors are trained in contemplative spiritual direction and according to the guidelines established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The SJV rector presents two conferences each year. They are held in the chapel on Sunday evenings. Conference topics include community life, chastity, sainthood, vocational discernment, the nature of the Church and service to others.

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
  • Living a Life of Virtue
Second-Year Men
  • Relational Prayer
  • Discernment of Spirits
  • Living a Life in the Spirit
Third-Year Men
  • Theology of the Body
  • Lives of Priest Saints
  • Missionary Discipleship
  • Priestly Identities

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.

In conjunction with The Saint Paul Seminary, Saint John Vianney participates in the annual Borromeo weekend. Always held in early November to commemorate the feast day of St. Charles Borromeo, this special event is based on the traditional 40 hours devotion. It begins on Friday evening with Mass in St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, followed by a beautiful and dramatic candlelight procession to St. Mary's Chapel. For the next 40 hours, seminarians and the community gather for Eucharistic adoration. The weekend concludes with Mass on Sunday morning followed by a brunch. This highly anticipated event is an opportunity to build greater fraternity between the seminaries.

The Schola is the seminary's choir, led by local music directors. Gregorian chant is emphasized, as well as the ability to read the ancient forms of musical notation. Latin hymns are sung during Eucharistic adoration. Members of the Schola provide music for Mass and special seminary events to offer greater glory to God.

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