Module 7

Formation Towards a Life of Discernment: Personal, Ecclesial, Pastoral

From the New Ratio Fundamentalis:

“The gradual inner growth along the journey of formation should be aimed at making the future priest a ‘man of discernment’, able to read the reality of human life in the light of the Spirit. In this way he will be able to choose, decide and act according to the will of God” (#43).

“The call to be pastors of the People of God requires a formation that makes future priests experts in the art of pastoral discernment, that is to say, able to listen deeply to real situations and capable of good judgement in making choices and decisions… The pastor will learn to … make his life a ‘place’ for listening openly to God and to his brothers and sisters” (#120).

“Priestly formation must be permeated by a pastoral spirit… A man of communion … by listening and careful discernment of situations, as well as cooperating with others and encouraging their ‘ministeriality’. In a particular way, seminarians must be duly prepared to work together with permanent deacons and with the world of the laity, appreciating their particular contribution” (#119).

“Obedience unites us with the wisdom of God, which builds up the Church and assigns to each his place and mission. It is the duty of formators, therefore, to train seminarians in a true and mature obedience, by exercising authority with prudence, and encouraging them to give their assent, also their interior assent, in a peaceful and sincere manner” (#109).

“He learns to listen to the conscience that judges his movements and the interior urges that motivate his actions. In this way, the priest learns to govern himself using the spiritual and mental powers of mind and body… This work … relies principally on welcoming the gift of divine grace, that enables him to transcend himself, to go beyond his own needs and external conditioning, to live in the freedom of the children of God” (#43).


  • Fr. John Kartje, S.T.D., Rector, Mundelein Seminary, IL.
  • Fr. Christopher Murphy, M.Div., Rector, Our Lady of Providence Seminary, RI
  • Sr. Gill Goulding, C.J., S.T.L., Ph.D., Faculty, Regis College, Toronto

Main Points:

  • Ecclesial discernment and forming the conscience
  • Pastoral discernment, guidelines and accompaniment
  • Examen Prayer and personal discernment

Dates:  November 1 – 5, 2023 (Wednesday afternoon through Sunday afternoon)