Mount St. Mary's of the West provides a gradual year-by-year series of conferences oriented toward the acquisition of knowledge, wisdom and holiness at each level of formation. In each academic quarter, in addition to a general conference given by the House Spiritual Director, to the entire seminary, there are three formation conferences for each year residential study; the one exception is first pre-theology which has eight conferences during the first quarter and three per quarter thereafter. The following is the proposed schedule of conferences for the respective years of formation:
- Conversations with a Spiritual Director
- Why Me? The Nature of the Call
- What is Formation?
- Know Thyself: Self-Reflection and the impact of our Family of Origin
- The Nature of Sin and the importance of the Examination of Conscience
- What is Meditation, and How do I do it?
- Who is our Eucharistic Lord?
- Preparing to make a Retreat?
- The Chaste Life - Psychological Development
- Chaste Friendships
- Celibacy as a Way of Life
- Masculine Dimensions of Celibacy
- Penance in the Life of the Seminarian/Priest
- Preparation for Time Away
- What does it mean that I believe?
- Pray Always: The Dynamic of Inner Conversion
- Difficulties in Prayer
- The Priest as a Man of Virtue
- The Priest as a Man of Charity and Mercy
- Obedience and the Diocesan Priest
- Suffering and the Paschal Mystery
- The Priest: Conforming to Christ the Redeemer
- Healthy friendships and Emotional Boundaries
Those responsible for Formation at Mount St. Mary's recognize that the seminarian enters into formation for the priesthood already formed by the world and the life he has led up to this time. The men bring with them both strengths and weaknesses. The formation conferences of this first year have as their aim the strengthening of the foundations upon which the seminarian can endeavor to be conformed to the Gospel by the "renewal of his mind" and his heart.
The conferences address the weaknesses a man carries with him by inviting him to consciously entering into the via purgativa, a way of honest knowing and feeling, Thus, the nature of sin and the examination of conscience is tied to the practice of bringing this to prayer, meditation and penance. The challenge of the internal commitment to formation and growing in the evangelical counsels, the basis for the pursuit of holiness, is then treated.
Six sessions are then devoted to exploring the structure and dynamics of human sexuality and its proper sublimation within the life and ministry of one called to celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom.
- The Nature of Sin and the Examination of Conscience
- What is Meditation? How do I do it?
- Beginning to Understand the Priesthood: Head and Heart
- To Make a Deeper Commitment: Candidacy and Lector
- Beginning in Priestly Life: Simplicity of Life and the Modern World
- What is the Obedience of the Diocesan Priest? Why does it Matter?
- Chastity: Discipline only? Or does it enhance our ability to live the Mystery of the Priesthood?
Winter and Spring
- Three sessions per quarter on Human Sexuality
Formation conferences during the second year focus on the seminarian's interior journey toward an understanding of the priest as a man of God and a man for the people of God. Preparation to approach the altar, not only in persona Christi but also as paterfamilia begins with learning to accept celibacy, the lives and trials of others and Jesus Christ as Lord, teacher, role model and companion.
- Ministry of Acolyte: Priestly Service to God's People at the Altar
- Who do We become for Others? - Behavior, Stewardship, and Witness
- Catholic Communal Reciprocity: Catholic Communal Reciprocity: Who are God's People for me and Who am I for Them?
- Sacerdotalis Caelibatus
- Sacerdotalis Caelibatus
- Celibacy as a "Gospel Value"
- Munera Docendi: To Teach as Jesus
- Munera Servendi: To Serve as Jesus
- Munera Vivendi: To Live as Jesus
Third Theology- Pastoral Internship Year
The seminary has a fully-integrated program for the placement of seminarians in a one-year parochial internship. There the seminarian experiences the spiritual life in the context of a faith community. In addition to a "departure" seminar, seminarians on their pastoral year return to the seminary twice during the year for various seminars and workshops. Following the pastoral year, seminarians journey to the Holy Land on pilgrimage
- Mary's Fiat and My Response to the Father's Invitation.
- The Church's Call to Service: Becoming a Deacon
- A Real for Jesus in Loving the Magisterium
- Priestly Obedience to God and the Chruch
- Poverty, Simplicity and Freedom
- Totus Tuus: How Much of Ourselves should We give to Jesus?
- Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity
- An Active Apostolic Spirituality
- Prayer and the Liturgy of Hours
- Priestly Calling: Parable of the Rich Young Man
- The Celibate Priest as an Eschatological Witness
- The Priest at the Altar: In Persona Christi
- Priesthood and Ontological Change
- The Priest as a Man of Prayer: How do we pray in solitary assignments?
- Spiritual Direction, Confession, and ongoing Formation: the daily life of a priest?
- The Priest and the Annual Retreat
- The Role of Vacations and "down time" in the priestly life.
- The Priest and Vocations