The goal of pastoral formation at Holy Trinity Seminary is for the seminarian more and more to grow in communion with Jesus the Good Shepherd through various pastoral assignments which call him to a deeper understanding of the Church’s ministry, to begin developing skills needed in ministry, and to grow in Christ’s own pastoral charity, so increasing his desire to eventually minister as a priest.
- To continue developing certain skills needed in ministry.
- To put the developing skill sets into practice in various pastoral assignments.
- To prayerfully reflect on one’s ministerial experiences as one aspect of growing in communion with Jesus the Good Shepherd.
- To grow in Christ’s own pastoral charity as regards the other members of the seminary community.
Working with the Director of Pastoral Formation, seminarians take part in pastoral ministries beginning with the spring semester of their freshman year or first year of pre-theology. They engage in ministry at sites within the diocese of Dallas, where they receive experienced on-site supervision.
First-year seminarians’ pastoral work includes visitation of the elderly, work with poor children, soup kitchen and social outreach operated by parishes and also by diocesan institutions. Seminarians are introduced to the pastoral ministry of working with the poor and vulnerable in our society in a multicultural setting so that they can visualize and gain an appreciation of and commitment to the work of the Church with those in need.
Second-year seminarians’ pastoral work includes youth ministry, catechesis and preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation and religious education. Seminarians are introduced to the pastoral ministry of catechesis and evangelization as implemented in parish youth formation programs.
Third-year seminarians’ pastoral work includes an introduction to the RCIA process and participating in the teaching and sponsoring of candidates for the initiation sacraments of the Church. Seminarians continue their introduction to the pastoral ministry of catechesis and evangelization, this time turning their attention to the RCIA process and bringing them to an understanding of the Church’s renewed vision of the work of evangelization made suitable for a secular and multicultural society.
Fourth-year seminarians’ pastoral work involves visitation of the sick at local hospitals. Seminarians are introduced to hospital chaplaincy and the lifelong habit of theological reflection whose primary purpose is to interpret pastoral experience or activity in the light of Scripture, church teaching, personal faith and pastoral practices.
Pre-theologian seminarians’ pastoral work includes visitation of the poor and/or the imprisoned in their first year and visitation of the sick at local hospitals in their second year.