Formation, first of all, is the work of the Holy Spirit to which the
candidate contributes. The candidate is the principle agent of his own
formation by responding to the promptings of the Spirit.
~ MSA Constitution Article 67 ~
A man accepted into the MSA’s seeks to become Christ’s instrument in the work of preaching the Divine Word and administering the Sacraments. To properly prepare for this apostolate, a candidate first completes a introductory period or postulancy lasting from six months to three years. At the conclusion of this period, he can request to enter novitiate training to discern his vocation as a personal and divine calling to religious life in the MSA’s.
During the novitiate year, the very foundation of the spiritual life is laid. The novice’s day is filled with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the prayerful recitation of the Divine Office, and various spiritual exercises, including mental prayer and the Holy Rosary. Moreover, spiritual reading and classes engage the novice’s mind, while manual labor and recreation keep his body strong. Finally, moments dedicated to certain apostolic experiences are also included as part of the novice experience.
If, by the grace of God, the novices discern that they have a vocation to the MSA’s, they will offer themselves in sacrifice to God by promising to live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and fidelity in a fraternal life. Through these promises, “a person is totally dedicated to God, loved beyond all things. In this way, that person is ordained to the honor and service of God under a new and special title” (Vatican II). These newly professed men are called “brothers.” The vocation of a MSA is quite special. Not only are these men called to be witnesses of the life to come, but they are also called to serve the People of God as sacred ministers of the Gospel and the Sacraments, United in the Lord Jesus.
After making first profession of promises, the brothers begin their priestly formation. The MSA’s take great care to ensure the good spirit of the seminary in which its members are trained. This means proper discipline, competent staff, sound Thomistic philosophy and theology, proper liturgy, and loyalty to the teaching authority of the Church. Currently our brothers study at Holy Apostles Seminary in Connecticut which was started by the founder of the MSA’s, Father Menard.
The normal time period from the start of novitiate until final promises and ordination as a priest takes 5-7 years depending on the previous education experience and spirituality of the member.