This revered institution was founded in 1860 and dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of Christ. For more than 150 years, Immaculate Conception Seminary has consistently faced the challenge of forming priests for service in the Church. Since 1974, the Seminary also has prepared lay men and women to fulfill their Christian vocations, rooted in the new life received in the Sacrament of Baptism, and dedicate themselves to their specific roles in the mission of the Church. We stand on the shoulders of the tremendous people who have labored throughout the years to build a Seminary program of the highest caliber, and on the wonderful experience and tradition that has made Immaculate Conception Seminary what it is today. Standing on this foundation, it is possible to meet all challenges, and, by the grace of God, continue to do the Lord's work.
Unlike some other educational efforts that have wandered from their founding visions, we have not wavered from our original goal. Forming priests for God's people has remained our constant focus. It is only the ways and means that have changed with the times and needs of the Church. With the myriad changes that happen over the course of many years, some things remain constant. The seminary must help the individual candidate to discern the authenticity of his vocation. It must present the context in which the seminarian is able to answer the Lord's call, and it must assist the seminarian to grow in wholehearted gratitude to God for the divine gift of a priestly vocation. With these purposes in mind, our extraordinarily talented faculty, well-educated authors and scholars in their own fields, devote their time and energy to preparing men for the priesthood in the 21st century. They are immersed in the four main areas of priestly formation offered to us by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, and articulated by the American Bishops in their Program of Priestly Formation, namely: human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral. As our Seminary motto proclaims, the priests who complete our Formation Program will go forth to be "Dispensers of the Mysteries of God," offering the people visible signs of God's infinite mercy and compassion.
We continue to focus on the education of lay men and women in theology, to enable as many people as possible to have an impact on the life of the Church and her people. The Seminary's various degree programs not only provide for our lay students academically, but also for their personal, pastoral and spiritual formation. The creation of the Institute for Christian Spirituality in 2005 expanded the Seminary's diverse programs and presented new opportunities, particularly for lay students, to experience the best offerings in spiritual and pastoral theology. Countless Seminary lay graduates are now workers in the Lord's vineyard, devoting their energy to the cause of the kingdom of God, and responding to an increasingly secular society with the wisdom of the Church.
Since Fall 2011, the Center for Diaconal Formation has provided graduate-level intellectual formation for permanent diaconate candidates. Our program of study focuses on the academic norms outlined in the
National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. In addition to graduate-level courses, the Center for Diaconal Formation offers workshops, lectures and presentations for permanent diaconate candidates and their wives, as well as post-ordination diaconal formation and continuing education opportunities. The Center for Diaconal Formation was created as part of the Institute for Christian Spirituality.
Faithful to Church Tradition, as defined and expressed by the Magisterium, Immaculate Conception Seminary faces the challenges of the new millennium with the confidence of knowing that Our Lord is the catalyst in all our work, and He is the one to bring it to completion.