Policy for Married Seminarians

Policy for Married Seminarians

The return of our Church to the tradition of ordaining married men to the presbyterate impacts our Community of Formation. Marriage is a firm foundation for ministry. Husband and wife are equal in partnership but distinct in their charisms. The husband-seminarian benefits from a wife who can be his vocational cornerstone. While our Seminary works to support our couples, it is unable to take direct responsibility for the success or failure of thriving marital relationships.

It is understood that our seminarians will generally fall into one of the following states: intending to commit to celibacy; a spouse in a marriage of 16 years or more; a spouse in a marriage of less than 16 years; a man who is dating and in a committed, recognized relationship with a woman with the intention of marriage.

Even if a married seminarian lives off campus, he is still considered to be a “resident seminarian” and is required to fulfill all formational obligations like those who live in house.

In the policies that follow, what applies to wives of seminarians will generally apply to the female partner in a recognized relationship with the intention of marriage.

The wife’s presence at all liturgical services is always welcome.

Meals at lunchtime are open to wives. A lunch fee may be required.

Women are never permitted in the cloistered areas on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Wives and staff members, but generally not other women, are allowed in the basement, but only between 7 AM and 8 PM.

Regarding liturgical services, meals, and social participation, children of seminarians are welcome along with the wife. It is to be remembered that the Seminary, due to the sanctity and centrality of our liturgical and communal life, has a formational expectation that seminarian-husband and wife are actively encouraging behavior in their children that reflects intentional and loving discipline. The Seminary does not provide childcare.

Wives who choose to take theology classes may do so at a 10% discount. If they choose to sit in on a class without participation, either occasionally or regularly, they may do so at no charge with the instructor’s permission.

Conferences conducted by wives of clergy are to be scheduled for wives of seminarians and, occasionally, for couples. Other theology students who are wives, but not wives of seminarians, are to be welcomed into these conferences as appropriate. These groups will have access to Seminary facilities for these meetings.

Participation by wives in formational conferences would be rare.

Wives are welcome to approach the Director of Spiritual Formation to have assigned an individual spiritual director.

Meetings of the couple are to take place at least once per year with both the rector and the seminarian’s personal formational advisor. For younger married couples, these meetings should take place two to four times per year.

Life skills education courses are to be arranged and given for younger couples by mature married couples. On-line programs, such as those offered by the Chrysostom Institute, are encouraged.

Wives and children with pastoral gifts (e.g. catechist, Bethany ministry), at the discretion of the Director of Pastoral Formation, may be directed to local parishes to share their gifts.

Like those students discerning celibacy, dating couples (i.e. couples in a relationship recognized by each one’s family) must understand the importance of the monastic “reference point” for all the faithful. Appropriate embrace of evangelical simplicity is to be encouraged in all.

Mutual support of wives and future wives through meetings facilitated both in person and through social media are encouraged and organized by the Seminary. Counseling to assist younger married couples in the development of communication to help navigate the pressures of formation and discernment is available when found advisable.