Introduction: The need of a separate time for a deeper spiritual formation during the formation of the diocesan clergy was probably first spoken by Optatam Totius, as early as 1962. In it we read, “To provide a more solid foundation for the students’ spiritual formation and enable them to decide upon their vocation with full deliberation, it will rest with the Bishops to set apart suitable interval of time for a more intensive spiritual preparation” (12). In 1980, the sacred congregation for Catholic education through its circular letter concerning some of the more urgent aspects of spiritual formation in seminaries earnestly asked for a full spiritual Propaedeutic year. Since then most of the Church document take the existence of Propaedeutic year for granted.

As for a Propaedeutic seminary’s reason for existence, OT 12 that I cited earlier gives two reasons providing solid foundation for spiritual formation and enabling a candidate to decide upon his vocation. Pratiksha takes these as its goal. It strives to impart spiritual formation that would enable the seminarians “to find Christ”. Herein is envisaged a spiritual formation whereby one grows in intimate and unceasing union with the Triune God, growing as friend of Jesus with a burning desire to quench the thirst by offering Him all One is , has and by gaining soul for Him. Such a formation takes roots in the heart that is sure of its call. Hence discernment of vocation is also taken seriously. It is also a lived course. It is learning a living what is learnt, and living with transparency. The course lasts for ten months.

The Goals of Propaedeutic Seminary

To form the seminarians in the word of God with special emphasis on the cultivation of that sense of genuine interior silence necessary for intimacy with Jesus Christ.

To form the seminarians in the Pascal mystery of Jesus Christ with special emphasis on Eucharistic devotion.

To aid the seminarians in developing interiorly those attitudes which are so necessary in a priest such as joyful obedience, generosity and self- sacrifice.

To form the seminarians in humble living, in a spirit of realism about human sinfulness and need for self –denial and penance, especially the sacrament of reconciliation.

To create an atmosphere of trust, which will encourage the seminarians to reflect openly on the serious obligations and difficulties which are part of celibate living and of a irrevocable commitment to be faithful to Christ and to His Church.

To help the seminarians appreciate the theological motivation for asceticism of priestly celibacy based on the example of Christ himself.

To aid the seminarians to have a filial love towards Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and towards the church as mother of the faithful and a spirit of total service to the people of God.

To lay the foundation for prayerfulness as the integrating focus of the theological studies and apostolic activity of the seminarians.


Jesus is found along the ways of prayer and sacraments. This seminary is a suitable place to find Him. The course begins with sixth days of orientation retreat. The goal is to know and relish the personal love of Jesus and get rid of oneself of the habit of sin through the knowledge of one’s sin and through a good general confession. In this retreat their seminarians set their goal. Then explaining to them the dynamics of spiritual life and the importance of prayer, they are led to in to prayer habits, with proper lessons on prayer. The classic methods of meditations taught are: The Salesian method of, the Sulpice method, the Benedictine method and Ignatian method of contemplation. After seven months of spiritual exercise on various meditations and contemplation they have one month of Ignatian Retreat. During the retreat, apart from the other profound benefits, they sail into affective and silent prayer. There is daily an hour of meditation and an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They pray the liturgy of the hours of the morning and evening.

From the very beginning of the spirituality course, we have Emmaus Day- a day of silent recollection starting from Wednesday evening to Thursday noon. Having taught them the importance of Sacramental confession in the life of a seminarian, and once in a month they meet the Merciful Jesus in it. They are taught the inner dynamics of the Eucharist to help them to participate actively, consciously and fully.

ATMOSPHERE OF THE HOUSE: Soon after the first retreat, they spend a few days getting into contact with their motives of entering the course and learning the expectation of the church and reason for the deliberate austere atmosphere that prevails in the seminary. All this is done through the study of the “circular letter concerning some of the more urgent aspects of spiritual formation in seminaries” from the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education in 1980.

SPIRITUAL DOCTRINE: Truths of authentic spiritual life is ultimately truths of Jesus. Knowing them is a prerequisite to know and love Jesus. To one who is interested in becoming a friend of Jesus, these truths are to be taught. The truths taught in this course are related to five main aspects. Firstly, Jesus wants us to become holy and saints, they are about the desire of becoming saints and what true holiness is. Secondly, they are taught in the seminary, the various ways purification in order to become a saint. Thirdly, they are also taught the various positive daily practices to pursue in order to become saint of Jesus. Fourthly, the nature of vices that one has to overcome and the nature of virtues that one has to practice as a friend of Jesus are thoroughly practiced and experienced. Fifthly, since one has to become a saint in this state of life itself as God desires, they are taught discernment of vocation and each is followed up personally in their discernment.

WORD OF GOD AND SPIRITUAL CLASSICS: They are taught the way of reading the word of God daily. They are also introduced to some spiritual classics. “Introduction to the devout life” is a kind of basic text book. The piritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are done by them. The imitation of Christ is read from the second quarter of the year for twenty minutes daily. The practice of the presence of God by Brother Lawrence is taught while helping them to practice the presence of God. For their personal spiritual reading most read ‘the story of a soul’.

HUMAN FORMATION: The personality of Jesus is presented to them, particularly basing on the gospel of St. John. This background in mind they are taught to discover themselves, their response to reality of life, defense mechanism , distorted images of self, others and God, their hurt feelings, that control their lives, and ways of healing them. In this context, they are also on human sexuality, celibacy, and friendship.

MISSIONARY FORMATION: On Sunday they walk to the villages with specific missionary projects. Every Saturday we have intercessory prayers for the world evangelization.

DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND DIVINE MERCY: The heart of Jesus is the source of all consolation and a friend of His should know his heart. This takes place on all Fridays, particularly on the first Friday with due devotion. The Feast of the Heart of Jesus is day of perpetual adoration, a day of personal and community consecration to His Sacred Heart. As the lover s of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they are taught to make reparation on a voluntary basis, after three months of their stay, they have night adoration to make to His divine heart every Thursday. We regularly pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. They are taught to trust in the mercy of God, and have the recourse to the mercy of God for the salvation of the world. Then there is a joy of loving Jesus, in the daily actions, sanctifying each action consciously and praying for the conversion of sinners.

MARIAN DEVOTION: Throughout the year, we become conscious of being the child of Mary and having her motherly presence in our life by daily Rosary, personal devotion and keeping her feasts and memoria with proper solemnity, we teach them formally Marian piety after a month’s retreat. The teaching concludes with a walking pilgrimage and a total consecration to Jesus through Mary according to the teaching of St. Louise de Montfort

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