USML | Priestly Formation

Mundelein Seminary

Priestly Formation

Welcome to the Mundelein Seminary’s homepage for Priestly Formation.  From here you can navigate our website to learn more about our Formation Program.   

Mundelein Seminary takes seriously our dedication to prepare seminarians to become future priests of the New Millennium.   With a team of talented priests, lay faculty and staff we strive to follow and integrate the “Program of Priestly Formation (PPF).”  Specifically, you can investigate how we live out the four pillars of the PPF:  Human, Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral. 

It is an honor to work with and prepare the men at Mundelein Seminary.  I hope you find these webpages to be helpful and enlightening about our Priestly Formation Program.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Rev. Ronald A. Hicks

Dean of Formation

About Us

The Formation Program at Mundelein Seminary takes its directives from the “Program of Priestly Formation,” commonly referred to as the “PPF.”  Throughout these webpages, various quotes from the PPF will be highlighted.

The fifth edition of the Program of Priestly Formation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) builds upon the foundation of previous editions. The principal and new direction of the fifth edition stems from its reliance on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis (I Will Give You Shepherds: On the Formation of Priests in the Circumstances of the Present Day, 1992) to organize and integrate the program of priestly formation. Two other papal documents also enter into the vision and shaping of priestly formation: Novo millennio ineunte (At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, 2001) and Ecclesia in America (The Church in America, 1999).  (PPF, page 1)

At Mundelein Seminary, when implementing the PPF, we also follow and take seriously the direction and input of:      




ATS (The Association of Theological Schools)


Together, with a dedicated team of priests, professors and staff, we work to establish a comprehensive and solid PRIESTLY FORMATION PROGRAM at Mundelein Seminary.

In the current edition of the PPF, the bishops of the United States have taken the directions and vision of the Holy See and reflected on the lived experience of seminaries in the United States and then formulated this edition of the program. The PPF, then, is normative for United States seminary programs and serves as a basis for future visitations. At the same time, each seminary, with the approval of the diocesan bishop or the bishops concerned, or of the religious superior as the case may be, is to develop, articulate, and implement its own particular program in conformity with the PPF. (PPF, page 3)

Formation Components

Human Formation

The basic principle of human formation is that the human personality of the priest is to be a bridgeand not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the Redeemer of the human race….Human formation is the “necessary foundation” of priestly formation. (PPF, #75)

Formation Advisors

Formation advisors:  They observe seminarians and assist them to grow humanly by offering them feedback about their general demeanor, their relational capacities and styles, their maturity, their capacity to assume the role of a public person and leader in a community, and their appropriation of the human virtues that make them “men of communion.” These same formators may, on occasion, teach the ways of human development and even offer some personal mentoring or, at times, coaching. More generally, they offer encouragement, support, and challenge along the formational path. These formators function exclusively in the external forum and are not to engage in matters that are reserved for the internal forum and the spiritual director.  (PPF, #80)

Frequency: Three times per semester for about 1 hour with each seminarian.

  • Check in, challenge and encourage.
  • Review covenant with the seminarian.
  • Review specific issues and four pillars.

Class Formation Sequences

Pre-Theology I Sessions

Pre-Theology II Sessions

1 Theology Sessions

2 Theology Sessions

3 Theology Sessions

4 Theology Sessions

Spiritual Formation
The basic principle of spiritual formation is to live in intimate and unceasing union with God the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This is the foundational call to discipleship and conversion of heart. (PPF, #107)

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual directors: These priests, functioning in the internal forum, also play a role in the human formation of seminarians.  When they engage in the dialogue of spiritual direction with seminarians, they can be of great assistance in cultivating those virtues of self-reflection and self-discipline that are foundational for human development. (PPF, #80)

Psychological counseling: On occasion, consultation with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can be a useful instrument of human formation. Some patterns of behavior, for example, which became set in the candidate’s early family history, may impede his relational abilities. Understanding one’s psychological history and developing strategies to address elements of negative impact can be very helpful in human formation. (PPF, #80)

Intellectual Formation

The basic principle of intellectual formation for priesthood candidates is “For the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they should seek an ever deeper knowledge of the divine mysteries.” Disciples are learners. (PPF, #137)

Direct link to Academic Menu for M. Div.

Pastoral Formation

The basic principle of pastoral formation is to make them true shepherds of souls after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest, and shepherd.”To be a true “shepherd of souls” means standing with and for Christ inthe community, the Christ who teaches and sanctifies and guides or leadsthe community. (PPF, #238)

      Field Education

      Mission Trip

            - Tohono O’odham trip

            - CRS trip




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