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Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

Pathways 4:12

The 4:12 Pathway for Pastoral Leadership: Building an Authentic Culture of Discernment, Encouragement, and Accompaniment

Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology draws inspiration from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 4:11-13:

11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

These verses remind us that we need to rely on God’s grace to fulfill our unique calling, one that is meant not only for us as individuals but for the Body of Christ, the Church.

This privileged undertaking we take with joyous hearts, bold intentions, and trust in the Lord.

Initiatives and Higlights

Speaking to those in Church ministry and those in theological education and formation, it stresses the core meaning of leadership formation, for ordained ministers (priests and deacons in the Catholic tradition) and lay ministers. We believe we are called by God to co-labor in the work of equipping God’s people to build up the Body of Christ, and that this work takes on new implications in the context of today’s unique challenges and crises.

Highlights of our many projects include:

  • Our Diverse Student Body 
    ICSST benefits from a diverse student body, a third of whom are international, and recognizes the challenges that seminarians face as they leave family, friends, culture and language, to embrace the academic rigor and vocational discernment required to be successful in our programs. Learn more »

  • Center for Diaconal Formation  
    A great strength of the Seminary is its decade-old program for the formation of permanent deacons. Enrollment has grown not only in numbers but in diversity and quality. A strong faculty and the richness of professional and culture backgrounds makes the Center a true microcosm of the People of God. Learn more »

  • Catholic Evangelization Certificate Program
    For the past 13 years, ICSST has collaborated with St. Paul Inside the Walls, the Catholic Center for Evangelization of the Diocese of Paterson, NJ, to offer a graduate-level certificate in Catholic Evangelization (CCE). It has produced faithful lay agents of change, ready to communicate their faith at the personal, parochial, and diocesan levels. Learn more »

  • Collaboration with The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, Rome, Italy
    Since 2018, ICSST has partnered with the Lay Centre, which is internationally recognized for its promotion of the lay vocation and collaborative leadership among Christians of diverse denominations. Our collaboration is focused on developing educational programs to strengthen the preparation for the ministry of lay catechist, a new ministry established by Pope Francis. Learn more »


Implementing The 4:12 Pathway is an act of love, in the spirit of St. Paul the Apostle and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. It is a joy for us to put forward our hearts and minds, and the work of our hands, to realize the numerous benefits of Pathways 4:12. We trust that, together, we are on a pathway toward true discipleship and leadership in the service of Our Lord. The Seminary’s mission takes on a prophetic aspect, aiming to preach and to teach boldly, as St. Paul calls us in Ephesians 4:12, "to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."

Thank you for joining us in this mission of building up the Body of Christ!