Vocations office prepares to launch Propaedeutic Program

By The Message staff

During the June 20 meeting of the Diocese of Evansville Presbyterate, which includes all of our active and senior priests, Father Tyler Tenbarge offered a brief look into the new diocesan Propaedeutic Program that will begin in August. 

Generally known in the larger Church as the Program for Priestly Formation, this sixth edition, which takes effect Aug. 4, is based on “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” a 2016 document from the Vatican Dicastery for the Clergy that, moving forward, will serve as the guiding document for accompanying seminarians. Father Tyler said it revises the Church’s approach to formation.

What will that mean in our diocese?

The Propaedeutic Program calls for the first year of discernment to occur in a seminarian’s home diocese, as opposed to a high school or college seminary. This will give every young man discerning a priestly vocation the opportunity to get to know his bishop and the priests of the diocese, as opposed to studying philosophy at a seminary campus in his first year.

In the Diocese of Evansville, the Father Deydier House of Discernment will serve as the home for the program. Six men will be a part of the program in 2023-24; three will be college students, two are college graduates and one is finishing college. The House of Discernment is not accepting applications from those wishing simply to be residents in discernment; the six applicants will be diocesan seminarians, and they will make discernment decisions in May 2024.

Father Tyler said, “This program is exciting for our diocese. I am glad we have the men and resources to make it happen!”

The program will involve pastoral, intellectual, spiritual and human formation. 

Pastoral formation will include:

  • Twice-monthly parish weekends with Father Tyler, who serves as Propaedeutic Program Director
  • Weekly Bible studies at two high schools
  • Bi-weekly Savio events at the House of Discernment in Evansville and in Dubois County
  • The three seminarians not enrolled in college will have parish assignments

Intellectual formation will include:

  • Classes taught in-house each week in the fall and spring on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sacred Scripture, Vatican II and the Lives of the Saints

Spiritual formation will include:

  • Daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic Adoration
  • Bi-weekly spiritual direction
  • Monthly Days of Recollection
  • Rosary, spiritual reading, etc.
  • Retreats in the fall and spring semesters

Human formation will include:

  • Bi-weekly meetings with the Propaedeutic Program Director
  • Weekly classes on virtue, leadership and self-awareness
  • Counseling opportunities and the assignment of household chores like cooking and cleaning, etc.

Father Tyler has posted a four-minute video to YouTube that explains the program. You can view it by visiting https://youtu.be/_vBx09At_g8.