Fr. Moore and the team of contractors reviewing the progress, and next steps in the construction of The Father McGivney House at Paca Street.

We are in the midst of preparing for the inaugural year of the McGivney House propaedeutic program. As you are doubtless aware, the new PPF 6th Edition calls for an initial year of seminary formation in which the seminarian is introduced to priestly formation and begins to acquire and demonstrate the basic habits of prayer, study, and social life that will enable him both to make a sound discernment regarding his desire to be a priest and to benefit from the subsequent stages of priestly formation.

Although like all seminaries McGivney House helps men develop in all four of the dimensions of priestly formation, our program has a number of distinctive features. First, McGivney House is an intentionally small and close-knit community. We will have two full-time priest-formators, Fr. James Yeakel, OSFS, and me, and a maximum of twelve seminarians. Everyone has their own rooms, of course, but we will be spending a large portion of every week with each other. The closer quarters of propaedeutic daily life will help the men achieve one of the main goals of the propaedeutic, which is to learn how to be more mindful of the needs of their housemates, practice self- control, and serve others.

Second, the human formation dimension of the propaedeutic places significant emphasis on the men becoming more aware of the people and events in their past that have influenced them. They will have weekly, and in the introductory period even daily, sessions devoted to helping them understand and articulate their interior affective movements. They will practice techniques designed to help them manage grief, anger, and fear and to express both criticism and approval in fruitful and respectful ways. They will be encouraged to develop good habits with respect to nutrition and physical health, including learning basic cooking skills, and they will also be assisted in perfecting their basic social skills.

Third, the spiritual dimension of the propaedeutic is both broad and deep. It is broad, insofar as the seminarian will be put in touch with the range of key figures and schools of Catholic spirituality—from the monastics, such as Saints Anthony and Benedict, the Latin Fathers, such as St. Augustine, the mendicants St. Francis and St. Dominic, the Carmelites, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the French School. It will be deep, insofar as the seminarian will develop his habits of daily liturgical participation, spiritual reading, meditation, and silence. The McGivney House also takes up the PPF’s encouragement to practice pilgrimages by visiting local and regional holy sites. We plan to conclude the year with a Marian pilgrimage in France that will connect the seminarians with powerful witnesses to the faith and connect them with the significant French roots of the American Catholic Church.

The intellectual dimension focuses on providing the new seminarians with a solid foundation in the Catholic faith. It includes the weekly classes in spirituality and human development. It also includes a weekly class introducing them to the reading of the Scriptures, with an emphasis on understanding the arc of salvation history, and a weekly class introducing them to Catholic theological and moral doctrine. The classes are not part of a degree program, are graded pass/fail, and are meant to support the human and spiritual development that is the primary aim of the propaedeutic.

The pastoral dimension of McGivney’s propaedeutic program utilizes initiatives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore to put the seminarians in contact with the urban poor. They will then learn how to reflect theologically on their experiences, support each other, and become more aware both of the needs of others and their own strengths and weaknesses. The seminarians will also learn more about how dioceses work in general and the distinctive history and pastoral needs of their own dioceses.

Shawn D. Gould, PSS, Director
McGivney Propaedeutic House of Formation