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An Institute for Priestly Formation

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Mar 27, 2007

I may be the last to know, but I wasn’t aware of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University until I saw it profiled in the March 2007 issue of Inside the Vatican. The IPF is a very bright light on the horizon of priestly ministry in the United States.

The Institute for Priestly Formation was founded in the mid-1990’s. According to its mission statement, it exists to “assist in the spiritual formation of diocesan seminarians and priests” by providing “a more concentrated and integrated spiritual formation” inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola. The program is orthodox, responsive to the Magisterium, and strenuously Ignatian. Its 10-week summer program for seminarians begins with an 8-day individually-directed silent retreat, and follows with one-on-one spiritual direction and daily holy hours throughout the program. Thirty-day Ignatian retreats are also available.

IPF has other programs as well. The Institute sends teams to visit seminaries and offer days of reflection and supervision for spiritual directors. In both Austin, Texas and Chicago, Illinois, the IPF offers training for spiritual directors through a three-year program in which those enrolled meet twice a year for a week each time. An additional more concentrated program is offered for seminary faculty every summer in Omaha, Nebraska at Creighton. Each year, the IPF also co-sponsors an annual symposium with a different theologate, open to all priests, and intended to fortify them in their ministry and priestly identity.

Over 700 seminarians from 111 dioceses and 30 seminaries have gone through the main program. Fifty priests have completed the three-year program for spiritual directors, and 95 are currently in training. Twenty more attend the Creighton summer program each year.

These are significant numbers, and a sign of great hope. For more information, see the Institute’s web page. Much better to be the last to know than not to know at all.

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