What is the Spirituality Year?
The Spirituality Year is the first phase of formation for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Running from August through June, this year is designed to help the new candidate focus on his human and spiritual foundations for his vocation, with a special attention to developing his prayer life, relationship with God, and making a good discernment about his call in life, whether that is to the priesthood or some other vocation.
Where is the Spirituality Year located?
The Spirituality Year is located at the Bishop Quarter House, 750 N. Wabash, Chicago, IL, right next to Holy Name Cathedral. Our life together is lived at the center of the Archdiocese, which allows the men who are part of this program to get to know the heart of the city as well as the Archdiocese at large.
What is a standard day like?
Each day includes prayer together from the Liturgy of the Hours as well as a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament. There is time for reading as well as one seminar-type class each day, which explores themes like Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, priesthood, celibacy, discernment, and the spiritual life. The men have apostolates to work with the poor and homeless each week together with religious brothers and sisters. The men take responsibility for house chores, going shopping, and cooking meals for each other. There is also time for spiritual direction and formation meetings every two weeks.
Are there any special experiences as part of the Spirituality Year?
During the month of January, the men are sent on a mission for one month to live with and to serve the poor in another part of the United States. This is an important time of learning to accept their own human weaknesses while they minister to others in their vulnerability. At the end of the year, during May and June, the participants have the opportunity to undertake the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola as a way of continuing to deepen their experience of God and make a firm decision about continuing their formation for the priesthood. Finally, each Sunday we visit a different parish of the Archdiocese of Chicago to celebrate Mass and meet the priests and people of the parish.
Are these men seminarians?
Yes, those who participate in the Spirituality Year have completed the seminarian admissions process for the Archdiocese of Chicago and are considered seminarians. They are also full-time enrolled students in Mundelein Seminary, as this program operates as an aspect of the seminary.
Can anyone else live at the Bishop Quarter House?
Under certain circumstances, men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood may share the common life at the Bishop Quarter House while continuing their college studies or full-time work. There is an application and discernment process for those who are interested.
Who leads the Spirituality Year?
Fr. Thomas Byrne is the Director of Chicago Seminarians and the Director of the Spirituality Year. Fr. Thomas Hickey, a retired priest of the Archdiocese, is the Spiritual Director. Many priests of the Archdiocese collaborate in teaching different courses during the course of the year.
How can I find out more information?
Contact Fr. Thomas Byrne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-534-8336
For men who are discerning the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Chicago, please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Timothy Monahan, at email@example.com or 312-534-8298