For the Future of the Church

Conception Seminary College stands firm in our foundation as a Benedictine-run seminary serving the Midwest, forming well-rounded men who will guide the future of the Church. Through academic, spiritual, pastoral, and human formation, we accompany men as they listen for God’s Voice, discern their priestly vocation, and become missionary disciples.


Spiritual Formation

The fruitfulness of my time at Conception Seminary College is directly proportionate to how freely I have given myself over to spiritual formation. Times of growth are always linked to greater faithfulness to prayer, and times of decay are similarly linked to periods of negligence. Thankfully, the Lord has enabled me to experience more of the former than the latter!

One thing we can never forget is that Christ is the true Teacher. In the end, He is the one who is forming seminarians to be men close to His Heart. In God’s providence, I was given a great spiritual director who was docile to the Holy Spirit and therefore able to be the Teacher’s instrument in my life. Through his guidance, I was able to be open to our Lord’s invitation to spend time with Him, to ‘lie close to the breast of Jesus’ as St. John did at the Last Supper. During time alone with the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus transformed and healed my heart and enabled me to love more like He does. Without the direction I received during the last three years, I would be a far different man today. Without self-knowledge, I would be a mystery to myself, and without docility, I would be resistant to God.

One of the things I have learned that I wish everyone knew is that prayer is about God, not us. We are not the agents of prayer—we simply have the choice to respond to the prompting of grace given us by the Trinity. As Christians, we are all striving to be united with God forever in heaven. Quiet prayer is one of the best ways we can prepare our hearts for this, so I know that no matter where I end up in life, the formation I received at Conception will continue to shape the way I surrender to God’s pursuit.

—Carson Haupt, Diocese of Dodge City


Academic Formation

There are so many reasons for which I am eternally grateful to Conception Seminary College. One of the biggest reasons is for the academic formation I have received in my time at Conception. I’m sure it would come as a surprise for most of my classmates and professors to know that I haven’t always enjoyed going to school. In my time at Conception, I never missed class. I would even sit in on extra classes if I had a free period. I spent my free time talking to my professors or classmates, trying to get a deeper understanding of what we had gone over that day. I can honestly say I disliked and found no joy in school before arriving at Conception, but here I learned just how valuable and wonderful a liberal arts education truly is.

From the beginning, I found philosophy and theology interesting, but I was dubious about other classes I had to take. Why did I have to take biology, music, or poetry? Those classes had nothing to do with what I was trying to do with my life, or so I thought. It wasn’t until my music appreciation class that I was able to gain a greater perspective of how art was being influenced by the philosophy of its time. When I saw that connection, I came to the realization that all my classes were interconnected beautifully, and I could use the knowledge of one class and relate it to different classes. All Truth is One, and Truth is Beautiful.

The academic formators at Conception understand that all of the students come from different backgrounds, and their patience, care, and encouragement allow the students to ask questions without feeling any shame. They are also willing to spend hours outside of class, all with the intention of cultivating leaders for the Church, whether they will serve as laymen or priests. What the academic formation is doing is teaching that all subjects hold truth and beauty, and since God in His simplicity is Truth, and Beauty, we are actually learning more about Him the more we engage in academic formation. This type of objectivity is lost in modern schooling systems, but Conception has kept true to Catholic teaching by showing how beautifully faith and reason coexist.

—Erick Chinchilla, Diocese of Jefferson City


Pastoral Formation

“I want to help people know how much God loves them.” That’s part of what I told my vocation director when he asked me what attracted me to the priesthood. I had my own ideas about sharing His love, but pastoral formation at Conception Seminary College gave me a healthier, more complete image of ministry.

Seminarians strive to come to know God’s love and then to share that love with others. As we aim to give ourselves in service of others and the Church, pastoral formation becomes a measuring stick for the rest of formation. If I am growing spiritually and as a human, then my pastoral formation will be more natural and fruitful.

This was certainly the case during my time at Conception. While ministering to others, I noticed both areas of necessary growth and occasions for thanking God for the blessed work and progress He is accomplishing in my life.

Conception helped me realize the importance of being with the people of God. The monks instilled in me the ability to be a man of communion and community. Pastoral formation helped me realize that community includes the people we interact with pastorally. Sometimes, people simply need someone to be with them and lend a listening ear. I saw this especially during my pastoral assignment at a nursing home junior year.

While the conversations frequently seemed insignificant, it was amazing to witness the gratitude of the residents for having someone who would listen to their stories. The necessity of being with others will remain with me for the rest of my life. God made people for communion, and it is a great gift that serving anyone entails relating to them as an individual.

My pastoral assignment senior year served as a capstone for my time at Conception. I worked with someone leaving an abusive relationship, and I felt unprepared to help. However, through relying on God’s grace and creating time for ministry, healing and growth started to appear. Beyond the effects, though, I realized that pastoral work isn’t checking off and “solving” several problems. Rather, it’s building relationships and helping others relate to God because that’s what is truly necessary. My time at Conception led to this understanding, and for that, as in many areas, I am incredibly grateful to be formed as a Man of Conception, a man of communion.

Adam Zarybnicky, Diocese of Salina


Human Formation

Conception Seminary College prepares men for priestly ordination. Still, above all else, the primary mission of Conception is to form good and holy Catholic men on fire with the love of Jesus Christ. The human formation staff at Conception lives out this mission in a variety of ways.

Every seminarian is assigned to a chaplain that he meets with once every two weeks. His job is to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses in our lives and offer us concrete advice on how to address our weaknesses and use our strengths to their fullest potential. Having a chaplain is an abundant blessing because being able to work with someone who has years of ministerial experience serves us well as transitioning into seminary formation, which is challenging. Having these men who are able to encourage us and not be afraid to challenge us when we need it is important as we mature as men and, God willing, as priests.

Conception also presents the seminary community with a human formation conference once a week. The idea behind having these conferences is to present us with a variety of topics and ideas that we may not have considered and allow us to ponder and incorporate the material into our lives.

The formation staff at Conception Seminary College has established our human formation in such a way that we as the seminarians never feel like we have to go through anything alone and that everyone around us supports us completely whether we continue on to priestly ordination or discern to serve God and the Church in a different capacity. As I continue my discernment in seminary formation, I will always be grateful for the human formation I received from Conception because I know that through the many meetings, presentations, and formation workshops that I have become a better Catholic man. Above all else, Conception continued to remind me in my time here that I am and always will be a beloved Son of God.

Jonah Beckham, Diocese of Oklahoma City

Print Friendly, PDF & Email