“The essential work of the seminary takes place in the context of community. Personal growth and character development should progress together harmoniously within a deepening spiritual life. The seminary is a school of human virtue, of growth in honesty, integrity, intellectual rigor, hard work, an tolerance, where the common good is built with solidarity and discipline-all leavened by humor and healthy enjoyment. The seminary also must be a school of spiritual growth in which seminarians are formed into men of prayer, imbued with those virtues that only grace can bring: faith, hope, and charity.”
(Program of Priestly Formation, 260)
Bishop White Seminary is a community of men whose common desire to understand God’s will for their lives draws them into closer communion with one another, and finds its fulfillment in service for others. Through their daily interaction with each other and with the larger community, seminarians form deep and lasting friendships as they learn and exercise the virtues of hospitality, patience, and mutual respect.
The presence of each man at the seminary is a value in itself. While seminarians may be involved in activities which do not conflict with seminary exercises, (including activities available at Gonzaga University, home parishes, and dioceses) these should be limited to safeguard the commitment needed to generate development and growth in the seminary community.
The communal life promoted at Bishop White Seminary helps the seminarian to develop the relationship and dialogue skills necessary for healthy interpersonal relationships as priests. It also realizes that the individual seminarian must strive to interiorize the values of spiritual life and integrate the lessons of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. The interplay between individual and community lies at the heart of formation .
Each seminarian is called to become a man of communion, a man who has the capacity to enter into real and deep chaste relationships with others. Through his participation in the life of the seminary, University, and parishes, he will learn to take on the role of a public person in the Church and society, with genuine and effective openness, empathy, and kindness.
Benchmarks for Community Life
The benchmarks of a healthy and strong seminary community include the following:
- Expressions of hospitality
- Overall fidelity to the Rule of Life and to the daily horarium
- Widespread participation in the life of the community, especially worship
- Evidence of teamwork, collaboration, and sacrificial leadership
- Respect for the safety, privacy, and good name of others
- A sense of camaraderie and friendship, leavened by humor and healthy enjoyment
- Concern for the common good, including seminary common areas