ecclesiastical seminary


A school established exclusively for the scholastic and spiritual training of candidates for the diocesan clergy. Each diocese should have its own seminary; when this is impractical, the bishop may either send his students to other diocesan seminaries or join other bishops in establishing, with permission of the Holy See, an interdiocesan, provincial, or even national seminary. In larger dioceses two seminaries should be established; a minor or preparatory seminary for secondary and collegiate education, and a major seminary for the courses in philosophy and theology. At least two years are devoted to philosophy and kindred sciences; the theological course consists of four full years in the study of dogmatic and moral theology, Sacred Scripture, church history, canon law, liturgy, homiletics, and ecclesiastical chant; lectures in pastoral theology and practical exercises, especially in catechetical method, administering the Sacraments, attending the sick and the dying, complete the curriculum. For the priestly candidate’s own spiritual development and his preparation for the ministry of public cult certain common practises and duties are prescribed: morning and evening prayers, daily meditation and Mass, weekly confession and frequent Communion, assistance at solemn Mass and Vespers on Sundays and feasts, participation in sacred ceremonies, an annual retreat, and at least weekly spiritual conferences. Outside the regulations of the common law, every seminary has its own rule approved by the bishop; interdiocesan and regional seminaries are governed according to norms formulated by the Holy See.

MLA Citation

  • “ecclesiastical seminary”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 December 2010. Web. 21 January 2019. <>