Saint Joseph College Seminary
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Questions

Why attend a college seminary when I can enter the major seminary later?

The biggest benefit of the college seminary is that it provides you with the optimal environment in which to discover whether or not God is calling you to be a priest of Jesus Christ.  You will be part of a community in which you can benefit from the support of other guys like yourself and of the priests who live with you.  As you work toward an undergraduate college degree from a major Catholic university, you will also receive formation and spiritual direction, engage in service to others, and have daily opportunities to pray through this experience.

Your first two years of academics will focus on completing the core course requirements that are central to a well-rounded education.  During this time, you will also discover more about yourself and your vocation.  If you clearly discern that the Lord is not calling you to priesthood, you can transfer out of Saint Joseph College Seminary into the general Loyola student body, or into another college.

You are at a time in your life when you, like many other men and women your age, are sorting out your future path in life.  If you believe the Lord may be drawing you to serve His Church as a priest, it only makes sense to explore this call at this time.  Putting off this discernment until a later time in your life will not help you to discover whether or not you are being called.  What will help you to clearly answer this question is spending time in a healthy, supportive environment with the right resources.  If you are ready to tackle the question about priesthood, the college seminary is the best place to continue seeking the answer.


Do I need to be 100% sure about my vocation to enter the college SEMINARY?

No. College in general is a time of discernment and discovery. Our seminarians come here because they want to more clearly understand God’s plan for their lives. The college seminary program provides the support from the Church that young men need to discover where the Lord is leading them.


in what subjects can I major and minor?

What about a double major?

All our seminarians work toward a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree, which is awarded by Loyola University Chicago.  This course of study provides them with the foundation needed for the graduate level theological study they will pursue if they continue to a major seminary after graduation.  With the permission of the Academic Dean and Rector, it’s possible to pursue a double major in another discipline, along with Philosophy.

Our seminarians aren’t required to minor in any specific area, but most do.  With the help of his academic advisors, a seminarian can select a minor of his choice.

For those interested in evangelization, Saint Joseph College Seminary created a New Evangelization minor with the Loyola University School of Communication, a minor that is uniquely available to them.  It’s a great option for those who are interested in learning effective ways to share the Catholic faith in today’s world.


do YOU accept transfer students?

Yes. These students typically enter Saint Joseph College Seminary after completing their freshman or sophomore year elsewhere. Loyola University decides which credits will transfer, but we can help advise you and answer any questions you may have as you consider applying to the college seminary.

Some men have transferred into Saint Joseph after completing their junior year, but this is a more challenging transition to make. To be awarded a degree from Loyola University, more than half of your credits must be received from Loyola. Because of this, as well as the importance of seminary formation, transfer students are expected to spend at least two academic and formation years at Saint Joseph prior to graduation.


What's a Typical Day?

On weekdays, seminarians are required to be in the chapel at 7 a.m. for Morning Prayer, which is followed by Mass and breakfast.  Seminarians take classes at Loyola University during the morning and afternoon, and most return to the seminary for lunch sometime between 11:45 am and 1:30 pm.  When they are not in class during the day, they have time for independent study and homework.

The seminary community gathers again at 5 p.m. for a time of private prayer and meditation followed by Evening Prayer and dinner.  On Wednesdays, we celebrate Mass  at 5:15 p.m., instead of in the morning, and begin the day with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Morning Prayer.

Monday evenings are formation nights when seminarians assemble, usually by class, for presentations and discussions on various aspects of priestly and seminary life.  On Wednesday evenings, we pray the Rosary together.  On Thursday evenings, we gather for Eucharistic Adoration followed by Compline and Benediction.

The overall day is a mixture of prayer, classes, study time, socializing with classmates and friends, sharing meals together, engaging in service to others, relaxing, playing sports, and participating in seminary and Loyola events.


Where will I take classes?

You will take the majority of your classes at Loyola University.  However, you will also take at least 30 credit hours of courses in Philosophy, Theology, Latin and Music that are specific to the Saint Joseph curriculum.  All of these apply towards the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation.  These “in-house classes,” most of which are taken during a student’s first two years of college seminary, are taught by adjunct faculty and typically held in the seminary’s own classroom.


How is the dorm situation?

All incoming students are generally required to room with another seminarian.  The college seminary has three residential floors, each housing a mixture of seminarians from different classes and dioceses.  The faculty appoints a senior to serve as the Resident Assistant on each floor, and one or more of the formation priests lives on each floor.

There are laundry facilities on the 3rd and 4th floors, along with cleaning supplies that can be shared.  The chapel is on the 2nd floor; classrooms are on the ground floor.  The dining room, called the Mazza Room, offers 3 meals a day on weekdays.  Drinks and snacks are available outside of meal time.  Weekend meals are taken on campus in the Loyola University student centers.


What are the GPA & ACT Requirements?

To be accepted into Loyola University Chicago, you need to have a minimum 2.8 GPA and an ACT score of 20 or higher.

If you do not meet these requirements, we have alternative education choices that are meant to help prepare you for eventual study at Loyola.  Our Director of Admissions will work with you to determine what program may help you in your situation.


What if I can't afford it?

We strongly believe that a decision to enter the seminary should not be prohibited because of financial reasons.  As such, Saint Joseph College Seminary offers an exceptional financial aid program that is based on demonstrated need.  We encourage you to contact our Director of Admissions or our Business Manager to talk through your situation.

Fr. Mike Scherschel, Director of Admissions (773.973.8848 | fr.mike@cometojoseph.org)

Yuvanka Zavala, Business Manager (773.973.9710 | yuvanka.zavala@cometojoseph.org)


Where do I go after saint Joseph?

During senior year, seminarians are invited to consider applying to the major seminary to complete their priestly formation and engage in the graduate study of theology needed to earn a Master of Divinity degree.  This is typically a four-year program.  The decision about which major seminary to attend is made by the diocese or religious order for which you are studying.

Men studying for the Archdiocese of Chicago are invited to apply to Mundelein Seminary.  Upon completion of the program at Mundelein, seminarians are ordained diocesan priests and serve the local Church in parishes in Cook and Lake Counties.


will my family & friends be able to visit?

Yes. Saturdays or Sundays are great days to invite them to visit. Visiting hours are from morning to late evening. Seminarians are also able to go out to visit friends and family. Our curfew is 12 a.m. when there’s school the next day and 1 a.m. when there isn’t. Seminarians can spend weekends away from the seminary with permission from their formation directors.


do you offer Financial aid?

We have a generous financial aid program that is based on a combination of tuition reduction grants from Loyola University Chicago, our work study program, government grants and loans, and additional needs-based grants--either from the Archdiocese of Chicago (for Chicago seminarians) or from the dioceses or religious institutions that sponsors the seminarian.  We work very hard to make the seminary experience possible and affordable for those who desire to discern the priesthood.


Can I take Classes At Loyola?

Yes.  In fact, most of the classes you will be taking will be on the Loyola campus with other Loyola University students.   There are a few important classes that are offered only to seminarians, which are taught by our own faculty in seminary classrooms.


What is the Dress Code?

For liturgies, in-house classes, and most seminary special events, seminarians wear a collared shirt and dress pants.  For formal events, when dignitaries come to visit, or when seminarians participate in events at sites like Holy Name Cathedral, they wear a suit.  Otherwise, seminarians dress casually.