To make good priests is the greatest achievement in the world: It is impossible to conceive of anything greater.
– St Vincent de Paul
For approximately one hundred years, the national diocesan seminary for New Zealand was in Mosgiel near Dunedin. It was established in 1900 by Bishop Verdon and called Holy Cross College. In 1998 the seminary moved to Ponsonby Auckland and was renamed Holy Cross Seminary.
The students who enter the seminary are called seminarians. A seminarian is a student studying for the priesthood. The seminary’s job is to plants seeds that will grow. The first seminary is the family, where the parents teach their children about the Catholic Faith by word and example.
Seminarians normally study for six and a half years which includes a pastoral year before being ordained as a deacon and then a priest. During their training, with the assistance of a spiritual director and the seminary staff, the seminarians will discern their vocation. Not all men who enter the seminary will become priests.
The seminary gives seminarians an opportunity to discover what God’s plan is for them, through their relationship with God, as Pope Benedict says “….the most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. “
The seminary programme focuses on four key areas of formation which the seminarians are required to study in order to become future priests.
(I Will Give You Shepherds: Pastores Dabo Vobis.)
1. Human Formation
2. Spiritual Formation
3. Intellectual Formation
4. Pastoral Formation
Pastores Dabo Vobis says in the introduction. “Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and the mission in history, an obedience in response to the command of Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:29) and “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19;cf. 1 Cor. 11.24) i.e. an obedience to the command to announce the Gospel and to renew daily the sacrifice of giving of his body and the shedding of his blood for the life of the world.” No 1.
To learn more about the national seminary and other related information please go to the Holy Cross Seminary website. www.seminary.org.nz
Kind regards and God bless
Father Eamon Kennedy