Students are offered the opportunity to further develop their pastoral skills by participating in a Pastoral Year, normally after their second year of studies. This positioning in the curriculum was chosen for two reasons: 1) to enable the student to complete two full academic years, thus enabling him to experience the Pastoral Year with a certain degree of theological expertise; and 2) the enable student’s return to the seminary program with new insights about his pastoral abilities and sustains the opportunity to test these abilities during his final two years of seminary training.
The Pastoral Year is normally a ten-month (September-June), full-time, parish-based experience of pastoral ministry in the student’s own diocese, under the direction of the seminary. Supervision, evaluation, theological reflection, complemented by a spiritual program, are the essential elements of the pastoral year. Six units of Field Education credits are granted for the successful completion of the Pastoral Year.
The Course Credit Activity (CCA) is designed to document and assess certain key activities of the Pastoral Year for the purpose of assigning university credit hours. It is a sample of the many activities in which the seminarian participates during this time of formation. The CCA has been established to satisfy several important requirements of the seminarian’s formational experience. 1) The CCA rigorously documents the study, planning, preparation and learning which St. Patrick’s Seminary & University believes is inherent in all major Pastoral Year activities. 2) It provides evidence and justification for the six credit hours which the Seminary assigns to the program. 3) When assessed as a year-end CCA portfolio, these documents provide a comprehensive view of the wide range of Pastoral Year activities in which the seminarian has participated, and their formational and academic value. The CCA involves research, study, preparation and planning prior to the activity; careful observation and documentation during the activity; and thoughtful, introspective evaluation, research and documentation following the activity. CCAs have six areas of focus: liturgy, education, social justice, pastoral care, preparation for sacraments and youth ministry. A well-executed CCA will require six to eight hours of focused, uninterrupted work or the majority of a full work day. CCAs will be reviewed and evaluated by the assigned Pastoral Year director. CCAs which are deemed to be unacceptable or in need of significant revision will be returned to the seminarian and supervisor for re-submission. Six acceptable CCAs are a requirement for successful completion.
If the diocese should decide not to include the Pastoral Year in a seminarian’s program, the student must earn the six field education credits through additional pastoral work during the seminary program. For more information regarding Pastoral Year Program, please call Rev. George Schultze, S.J. at 650 325-5621 ext. 114.