Before seminarians from the Diocese of Phoenix head back to formation this month, several men took part in some final summer activities, including move-in days and camping, as they prepared for the new school year ahead.

For 20 seminarians attending St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, the academic year began with a camping trip for the new men, providing an opportunity to get to know their older brothers. The group ventured to San Isabel, a national forest just outside of Buena Vista, Colo.  Some of the Phoenix men even hiked Mount Yale, one of Colorado’s 58 mountain peaks above 14,000 feet, or as the locals call them – 14ers. It was also an amazing opportunity to celebrate Mass in nature.

In addition to the seminarians in Denver, 15 seminarians moved into their local Phoenix-area housing in recent days, including the first-ever group to live at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) House in Scottsdale — sharing a campus with the parish of the same name — to live out their spirituality year within the diocese. Five of the 15 seminarians also got settled in at the Nazareth House, near St. Gregory Parish in Phoenix, where seminarians have been successfully completing their first two years of formation since it opened in 2019.

Finally, the seminarians at the Nazareth House and OLPH House came together for a special Mass with Bishop John Dolan at the Diocesan Pastoral Center’s chapel in downtown Phoenix this past Thursday, followed by dinner and a discussion led by Fr. Paul Sullivan, the rector of the Nazareth House.

“The unity of the presbyterate is established and solidified in the communal life of the seminary,” said Fr. Sullivan.  “Priests will attest to the fact that the friendships made in seminary last a lifetime.  This is a blessing we want for our seminarians and priests.”

As announced in May, the Diocese of Phoenix has expanded its seminary, allowing men preparing for the priesthood in the diocese to stay within its boundaries for their first three years, beginning at the Nazareth House and then OLPH House.  Plans are being considered to add additional formation years to the seminary structure in the Diocese of Phoenix.