School of Divinity hosts national gathering of seminary leaders this week to address evangelization

Bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people from around the nation will gather at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas March 11 t0 14 for the ninth annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest.

The event is co-sponsored by the seminary and the Institute for Priestly Formation of Creighton University in Omaha.

Titled “The New Evangelization: Implications for Priestly Formation,” the symposium will reflect on Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization and the ways in which this call impacts the process of priestly formation.

Headlining the symposium is Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries, an organization devoted to Catholic renewal and evangelization. Martin also is director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization and an assistant professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“The new evangelization calls us to find new ways to proclaim the Gospel in our own day and this conference will help us examine this,” said Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, rector of the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. “Of utmost importance for the formators and seminarians in attendance is the cultivation of their love of the Gospel, grounding their work in helping others to spread the good news."

Bishops scheduled to participate in the symposium are Bishop John Quinn of the Diocese of Winona and Bishop Lee Piché of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Established in 1995, the Institute for Priestly Formation assists bishops in the spiritual formation of diocesan seminarians and priests. The only institute of its kind in the country, IPF offers programs for the spiritual development and renewal of priestly identity of seminarians, priests and seminary formators.

Many seminarians at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity have the opportunity to participate in the IPF summer spiritual formation program.  In addition, a number of priest faculty members and adjunct spiritual directors have participated in various IPF programs to enhance their ability to provide spiritual formation for seminarians.

“A highly developed spiritual life is foundational to fully living the life of a priest,” said Callaghan. “We value the ways the Institute for Priestly Formation assists us in cultivating a deep love of the spiritual life in the hearts of our seminarians.”