The first year at the seminary is very much an introductory and spiritual year. Time is spent learning how to pray, including praying the Divine Office, studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church; engaging in regular pastoral work; and some academic study. As well, first year students also learn what it means to be a diocesan priest for the Church in New Zealand – in other words, what priestly ministry In New Zealand involves. This is part of their human formation so that they can be effective shepherds of God’s people. Each student meets regularly with the seminary formator who accompanies him on his journey, as well as with the seminary spiritual director. The formation programme of the seminary is based upon Pastores Dabo Vobis, emphasising the four pillars of formation: Human, Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral. More information about the seminary formation programme can be found on the seminary website: www.holycross.org.nz.
Seminary life isn’t just about prayer and study though – all seminarians are actively encouraged to use their free time for relaxing, socialising and recreation. For some this might mean going to the gym, or playing sport, for others going to the movies, while others still might choose to spend some time catching up with friends and family.