Since 1948 IHMS has guided over one thousand men from many different dioceses to God’s call to priesthood. While many people believe that seminarians simply study scripture, there is a lot more to being a priest than a solid grasp on what is in the Bible. They are not only our pastors, but our leaders, friends, and brothers in Christ. IHMS has built the formation program to reflect this and to help form the seminarians here into outstanding men of faith.
IHMS structures the formation program around four pillars; human formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation and pastoral formation.
Human formation is to help the men develop the individual gifts that they have been given. Within the environment of fraternal support and contemplative prayer the men are challenged to seek and develop a positive sense of personal and vocational identity. They form relationships while growing into healthy, mature, and holy men embracing a chaste celibate lifestyle. Active involvement in the lively and vibrant campus life of adjoining Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota encourages balance and well-roundedness.
At IHMS we strive to help each seminarian grow in their faith and discover what it means to truly give their lives to the service of God and the faithful in the world. Here one has the opportunity to increase their faith life through daily communal prayer, personal prayer and individual spiritual direction. For men studying to be priests this deep relationship with Christ needs to be central to their lives. The Mass is central to the day and to life as a seminarian- having the Eucharist always the source and summit of life, is to show that faith is a personal decision which involves all life, inside and outside the walls of IHMS.
While the Seminary is not a college in and of itself, it is still an institute of higher learning. We aim to assist the seminarians in being able to think rationally and clearly. Most seminarians spend four years at the seminary to complete an undergraduate degree at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. For this degree a seminarian is required to have 31 credits in philosophy, 12 credits of theology and a year of Latin, as well as the liberal arts requirements of the University. All of which closely adheres to the academic directives of the Program of Priestly Formation, established by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB).
Pope John Paul II says that priests are meant to be “bridges to Christ,” but to successfully do so a priest must understand the person they are helping. To facilitate this the seminarians who attend IHMS are guided through a variety of service experiences. From volunteering at nursing homes and homeless shelters, to visiting inmates in prison, to teaching as classroom aides. The personal growth and formation that the seminarian receives through the experience is absolutely vital to their ability to be a “bridge” to God.