St. Mary's Seminary & University

The Center for Continuing Formation

It is the mission of the Center for Continuing Formation to encourage bishops, priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers to engage in human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral growth and to enable processes of growth that are ongoing, complete, systemic, and personalized.

A private site for reflecting.
A venue for learning.
An environment for growing.

New Pastors Program 2022 group photo.The Center for Continuing Formation was built by St. Mary’s in 1996 in response to the teaching on the priesthood and priestly formation of St. John Paul II. The pastoral emphasis and spirit of St. Mary’s Seminary today is perfectly expressed in The Center for Continuing Formation. Here, we offer special programs each year for pastors, newly ordained priests, and senior priests. We also host various bishops’ meetings, ecumenical gatherings, and other conferences as well. The New Pastors Program, held every November, is the most popular priest program we offer.

Building on the directives in the Program for Priestly Formation (6th edition) and the Guide to Ongoing Formation for Priests (USCCB, 2023), the Center has continued to expand its initiatives. Its offerings also include distance learning programs of varying lengths for priests. Programs for deacons and lay ecclesial ministers are offered as well.

The Center, which adjoins the main seminary building and yet provides great privacy, is a thirty thousand square foot facility with thirty private, three star guest rooms and suites, and a variety of conferencing space and small meeting rooms. The Center also has an oratory and private chapel as well as its own dining room.

Distance Learning for Continuing Formation

St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Formation offers a complete Distance Learning program for Continuing Formation opportunities. The program includes courses for priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers. It includes asynchronous video sessions as well as opportunities for group discussion with the presenters. Most courses are three sessions of recorded content plus the extra live (and recorded) discussion session. Some courses will be single-session presentations with audio-only podcast options.

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2024 Clergy Programs

St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Formation offers and hosts a variety of continuing formation programs for priests in the spirit of the Bishops’ Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests. Programs include sabbaticals, retreats for senior priests, workshops on preaching, and the annual “New Pastors Program.”

Review the offerings.

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Conference Space Rentals

The Center has a variety of options for gatherings of small staffs to large conferences, including thirty spacious guest rooms. See the facilities available, situated on a 40-acre private campus.

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Youth Theological Studies

St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s Pinkard Scholars is the cornerstone of Youth Theological Studies at SMSU. The program admits high school juniors admitted to a challenging course, RLST235: Foundations for Dialogue: Theology and Culture. Students explore and increase their understanding of God and the existence of evil, the person and work of Jesus Christ, humanity, sin, grace, and hope and the application of theology to a contemporary cultural problem.

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“Ongoing formation helps the priest to be and act as a priest in the spirit and style of Jesus the Good Shepherd.” Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation PASTORES DABO VOBIS of St. John Paul II to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful on the Formation of Priests