Cathedral Seminary House of Formation

Becoming a Priest / College and Pre-Theology Formation


Cathedral Seminary House of Formation, Douglaston


As the college seminary of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Cathedral Seminary House of Formation provides an environment for those men who have completed high school and are considering a possible vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood.  Seminarians attend either Saint John’s University other local colleges; in addition seminarians take credited course at the seminary residence.   


Cathedral Seminary House of Formation is a full Seminary Program, following the dictates of the Program of Priestly Formation as mandated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which defines Seminary


Formation as embracing the following four areas:    
(1) Human Formation
(2) Spiritual Formation
(3) Intellectual Formation
(4) Pastoral Formation 


Cathedral Seminary House of Formation located at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens, can provide a helpful atmosphere for such discernment.  While not similar to a college dormitory, the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation is not a Monastery either.  Seeking to prepare men for Secular Priesthood (Diocesan Priesthood), our Program doesn't attempt to take men "away" from the world since it is in that very world that Diocesan priests are called to serve.  Rather, the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation strives to provide an atmosphere conducive to fulfilling the demands of the Seminary Program while, at the same time, allowing the seminarian to be in reasonable touch with family, friends, pastoral and parish situations and the like
In addition, the Immaculate Conception Center in which our Seminary Residence is located hosts many programs and gatherings for the Dioceses of Brooklyn, thereby allowing the seminarian to get a good sense of the local Church in action throughout the course of the Seminary year.



Sponsored by the Diocese of Brooklyn, and serving other dioceses, Cathedral Seminary House of Formation also offers a Pre-Theology Program open to men who, having finished college, who still need to complete the 30 credits in philosophy and 12 credits in theology required before applying to the Theologate (Major Seminary).



The Seminary community is composed of priests, seminarians and some lay staff. While not modeled on the life of a religious community per se, much of the human formation and informal education in our Seminary Program takes place during the back and forth interaction and daily living among the various members of the seminary community.  Whether in conversations at meals, informal gatherings in the common room or in sports activities or other types of recreation, the seminarian's skills in relating with others are enhanced and, at year's end, evaluated by the formation faculty of the Seminary.  This final evaluation forms the basis for the Rector's determination as to whether or not the seminarian should be recommended to the Bishop for advancement to the next year of the Seminary Program.



Clearly the area of spiritual formation is the most important part of a seminarian's life.  It is here that he discerns most personally and most intensely his possible call to the Diocesan Priesthood.  In addition to a schedule of Daily Mass, communal recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, a weekly Holy Hour and other forms of devotions and prayers, each seminarian must have a Spiritual Director with whom he is in regular contact during the course of his time in the Seminary.  Whereas, in the interests of confidentiality, all conversations between a seminarian and his Spiritual Director can never become a part of the seminarian's official evaluation by the Faculty, the insights resulting from regular sessions of spiritual direction will prove of invaluable service in helping a seminarian determine whether or not he should present himself as a candidate for subsequent years of Seminary formation and eventual ordination to Diocesan Priesthood.


Liturgical formation is also very important in the life of the seminarian.  Throughout the year, through regular participation in all of the sacramental celebrations held in the Seminary (as well as through serving at ceremonies for Bishops and others during Diocesan celebrations held at Douglaston or at the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint James), seminarians learn how to become ever more adept in the execution of sacramental celebrations over which they hope, one day, to celebrate.



Men who come to the Seminary Residence for their entire College education will, in most instances, take their classes at St. John University or other nearby colleges.  Although they will be expected to take the requisite courses in both philosophy and theology, they may also "major" in other areas if they so choose.  For those who come to the Residence after having already begun College, they may be allowed to continue their studies in the College in which they are already enrolled as long as this College is within reasonable commuting distance of the Seminary. For those who come to the Residence after having completed College, but without the required credits in both philosophy and theology necessary for advancement to the Theologate, they will be enrolled in our "pre-theology Program," which is one to two years in duration.  During this time, the courses taken will be taught at either at St. John University or on sight at Douglaston.



In an effort to allow seminarians to see their work in action, pastoral placements are provided during the course of the year whereby seminarians can get a sense of how to use their own gifts and talents in the service of God's people.  Such placements may include religious education of the young, visitation of the sick and elderly in nursing homes, service in soup kitchens and homeless shelters and the like.



Life at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation “Douglaston”

A typical week at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation would look something like:  

Mondays through Fridays are academic days, most classes being held in the morning or the afternoon. The day begins at 7:00 A.M., with Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours celebrated each day.  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served in the Seminary  dining room, with conferences of various kinds often scheduled to take place after supper.     


Wednesday is our pastoral placement day, when seminarians head out to their pastoral work sites after classes, usually in the late afternoon, returning to the Seminary for 10:00 P.M. Night Prayer. 


Saturdays, Mass is celebrated at 11:00 A.M.,   with the rest of the day free. There is a curfew of 10:00 P.M. on weekdays and 1:00 A.M. on weekends.            


Sundays are our major liturgical day, Solemn Morning Prayer and Mass are celebrated, as well as spiritual conferences offered by one of our Spiritual Directors. 


While seminarians are relatively free to come and go, special home weekends are scheduled to insure regular contact of seminarians with family and friends.  In addition, permission to be absent from the Seminary can be obtained from the Rector should family circumstances require.  The yearly calendar pretty much follows the academic calendar of St. John University, with time off around Christmas and Easter, as well as a vacation break between semesters. 

In addition, summers are free so that seminarians can either take some vacation time or pursue a summer job for the purpose of making some money.  Please note that, while there is a nominal tuition which must be paid by the individual seminarian for his participation in our Seminary Residence Program, nonetheless it is the mind of our Bishops that no seminarian will be denied the opportunity to study for the priesthood because of an inability to meet our Program's financial requirements alone.


An Environment dedicated for Discernment
Any young man coming to Cathedral Seminary House of Formation with a sincere desire to be guided in his discernment of a call to priesthood, should find a truly positive and most supportive Program at the College Seminary Residence in Douglaston.


Based on the past experience of many seminarians who have participated in our diocesan College Formation Program, most would agree that, while the atmosphere of our Seminary at Douglaston is appropriately serious for the important work at hand, it is hardly too restrictive; in fact, most have found it to provide a happy, healthy and holy environment, conducive to the discernment of a possible vocation to Diocesan Priesthood. 


Who should come to Cathedral Seminary House of Formation

Any young Catholic man who is applying to college, or who is currently in college, or who has graduated from college, who is open to the idea that the Lord Jesus might possibly be calling him to the priesthood and is willing to seriously consider this possibility is an ideal candidate for Cathedral Seminary House of Formation


Contact us:

Cathedral Seminary House of Formation

7200 Douglaston Parkway
Douglaston, NY 11362


"I was able to listen to the Lord"

Fr. Frank Shannon

Even as a teenager and then a college student at City University - and as much as I like the noise of a big family, lots of good friends, playing piano in a rock band...-  I found myself also enjoying quiet time.  I would work out alone, walk the dog late at night through the factories of Sunnyside, travel solo by bike all around Queens, and I found myself talking to God (in a way different than at Sunday Mass.)  there was something about that other (holy?) relationship with God that was touching my heart in a place where nothing else had reached.

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