St. Joseph Seminary (SJS)

Called by the Archbishop of Edmonton who has associated with himself the other Bishops of Western Canada as its Board of Regents, SJS pursues its specific mission of training future priests.


Formation at SJS encompasses all four areas of priestly formation: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. Intellectual formation is ensured in partnership with NTC, for whom the seminary faculty also serve as instructors. Both institutions remain distinct, interdependent and complementary.

Formation Program

The SJS formation aims at personalizing the whole process of the candidate’s formation. This means that it allows and fosters personal responsible assumption and integration of the seminarians’ own insights. We must never forget “that the candidate himself is a necessary and irreplaceable agent in his own formation; all formation, priestly formation included, is ultimately a self-formation” (Pastores Dabo Vobis 69).

This integral seminary formation (at the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral levels) takes approximately nine years.  It begins with a propaedeutic year, followed by a minimum of two years of philosophy, four years of theology, and a year of supervised pastoral internship in a parish.

In its partnership with the seminary, NTC helps fulfill the intellectual formation of the seminarians. This takes place through the diverse degrees granted at the college. The normative programs the seminarians pursue are the Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies in which they receive the philosophy then need to continue on to theological studies, the Master of Divinity program (MDiv) OR the Bachelor of Theological Studies program (BTh). The decision concerning the choice of theology program (MDiv or BTh) is dependent upon previous grades received. Additionally to these theology programs, seminarians must take additional courses that are required for ordination, established by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Preparation for Ministry

The pastoral formation of seminarians encompasses three different and complementary elements:

  • The core of the pastoral formation is ensured through a complete year of pastoral internship. This year normally takes place after the completion of two full years of study in theology. During his internship, the seminarian is placed by his Bishop in a parish in his diocese. There he is initiated into many aspects of pastoral ministry and parish life under the supervision of the local pastor. This internship year counts for 3 of the credits of the Field Education component of the M.Div. degree. However, these credits are not awarded until the completion of the second element.

  • The second element of pastoral formation involves a seminar of theological reflection on his internship with the guidance of the Director of Field Education. This seminar is a one-semester course and counts for the other 3 credits to complete the Field Education requirements for the M.Div. degree. All 6 credits are awarded upon successful completion of both the internship year and the Field Education.

  • The third component of pastoral formation includes the pastoral work undertaken each year while Seminary is in session. Seminarians are placed each year by the Seminary’s Director of Pastoral Formation in different ministries appropriate to their year of formation. These include weekly ministry of 3 hours in Catholic Schools, various parish ministries, hospitals, diverse ministries offered by Catholic Social Services, prison ministry, and other kinds of volunteer work. The summer break is also a time for possible pastoral formation in the seminarian’s home diocese. This is a good opportunity for the seminarian to learn about the pastoral needs and situation in the local Church he is preparing to serve.


A more detailed exposition of the program of formation offered in SJS may be found in the seminary handboook. To know more about the handbook, please contact St. Joseph Seminary