As part of our ongoing contribution to the ministerial needs of our Church, St. Bernard’s offers a Pre-Seminary Program that is designed to be part of a concerted effort on the part of a diocese to form a young man spiritually, pastorally, humanly, and intellectually so that he might grow in his vocation and be ready to undertake his theological studies and formation for the priesthood at a seminary. In this regard, St. Bernard’s offers this program together with the Diocese of Albany and the St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation of the same diocese.
This program is developed in accordance with the Program for Priestly Formation, a publication authored and published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and is itself based upon the Apostolic Exhortation of St. Pope John Paul II Pastores dabo vobis. The Program for Priestly Formation establishes best practices for each of the four pillars of formation and is determinative of the form that this program takes, especially in its curriculum.
The program offered by St. Bernard’s can be completed in two years (six semesters). It is comprised of 11 three-credit courses in philosophy (33 credits), 3 four-credit courses in theology (12 credits), and a two-credit course (Comprehensive Exams) as a capstone to the program. 15 courses (47 credits) are thus required for the completion of this program, all of which are required for acceptance into a seminary. Our program can also accommodate those who have partially completed the philosophy and theology requirements of the Program for Priestly Formation. The successful completion of this program would result in the awarding either of a Master of Arts in Catholic Philosophy (MACP) for those who enter the program with a baccalaureate, or an Advanced Certificate in Catholic Philosophy (ACCP) for those without. The MACP and ACCP have been approved by The State Education Department of the State of New York, as well as by The Association of Theological Schools, our accrediting agency.