An education at Divine Word College is unique in many ways. Our programs exist primarily to support young men seriously discerning a religious calling to serve as missionary priests or Brothers. In addition to academic formation, each student participates in other formational activities where he is able to grow in personal maturity, spirituality and ministry preparation.
Religious Formation Program
The Religious Formation Program helps a student become a healthy, integrated person, committed to a life formed after Jesus Christ, so that he can then make a free and mature decision on his life’s vocation. The Religious Formation Program helps a student develop interpersonal and intercultural skills. By participating in small group activities and meeting individually with his formation director, a student at Divine Word College learns to reflect honestly on his life and to share his vocational development with others. Guided by his formation director, a student strives to grow in four areas: personal maturity, relationship to community, relationship with Christ, and religious missionary vocation.
The Ministries Program promotes the development of each student through active involvement in several different kinds of service throughout his four years at the college. This service can include visiting the elderly, working with the mentally and physically challenged, offering hospitality to those in need, and serving area Latino and Vietnamese communities. This service requires a process of thoughtful preparation, supportive supervision, evaluation and reflection. This process educates the student in the needs of the people he serves and in the skills and attitudes he needs to serve them.
Each student has a Spiritual Director. The goal of Spiritual Direction is to help a person listen more attentively to what God is inviting him to in his life journey. During regular one-on-one meetings, a student is encouraged to develop personal prayer as a means of growing in relationship with God and to continue discerning his vocational call. Spiritual Direction is an important resource for spiritual development in a student’s faith journey.
Small Formation Groups
All students participate in faith development sessions in small formation communities to facilitate growth in faith, prayer, and Church teaching.
An important element of our formation program is active participation in the liturgy. Music ministry and other special liturgical ministries, such as lector, acolyte, sacristan, Eucharistic minister, cantors and minister of hospitality are performed by students according to their talents and abilities. Training is provided for all these ministries. Students attend a weekly liturgy preparation period which includes instruction in liturgy and rehearsal of liturgical music.
The senior year is called the pre-novitiate year as it prepares a student for the next step in becoming a member of the Society of the Divine Word: entering the novitiate following graduation. The formation program in the senior year prepares students for the novitiate experience by gradually moving them to living a life more like that in the novitiate. It is also a time which allows SVD staff to make an evaluation of the candidate’s readiness to apply for membership in the Society of the Divine Word. Seniors reside at Megan Hall, a separate residence on the Divine Word College campus which provides an atmosphere of quiet to allow for reflection, prayer, and studies.
All students have access to a full-time professional counselor on campus. The counselor assists students with time management, study skills and test-taking strategies. The counselor also helps students address emotional issues such as grief, depression, or anxiety. As an integral part of the formation program, the counselor may administer tests to facilitate greater self-understanding and clarify vocational choices. Outside counseling services are also available.