The excitement of a new academic year in the seminary always brings with it the task of creating a Formation Covenant.
A Formation Covenant is a series of goals to build the four pillars of priestly formation (intellectual, spiritual, human, and pastoral), created by a seminarian and his Formation Director. Some of these goals are universal to all seminarians, but many are designed specifically for that specific person.
Throughout the year, the seminarian and his Formation Director have regular meetings to assess the progress being made with these goals and to promote growth in the areas that are lacking.
This task of creating a covenant has become rather routine for myself, this being my third year at Saint Joseph, however, the practice continues to bear fruit in unexpected ways. Properly preparing my covenant this year required a certain amount of introspection and review of previous covenants, evaluating successes and shortcomings, which allowed for growth in self-knowledge, one of the most important gifts of the seminary system.
The creation of a new covenant each year allows for repetition of long-term goals, but also the ability to capitalize on and plan for new and unique opportunities that each specific academic year brings.