Formation and Education for Vowed Religious Life and the Priesthood
In summoning disciples to share fellowship and mission in his company, Jesus invited them to “come and see,” (see John 1:39). The Church has entrusted the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament with the important mission of advancing love for the Eucharist through an ever-deeper awareness of the life that flows from the sacrament. In order that others may share in this eucharistic mission, the Congregation continually welcomes new members. Formation gradually and progressively introduces the individual to our life of prayer, fraternity, and service centered in the Eucharist. Our formation and education program is divided into three stages leading to final vows and for those called to ordained ministry.
Stage 1: Pre-Novitiate (Aspirancy and Postulancy)
Focus: Discovering the Call (Vocation)
ASPIRANCY is a time of vocational discernment with the Vocation Director. It is a non-residential period and the aspirant continues his regular job and/or studies. This period deepens the level of dialogue and sharing between the Congregation and the aspirant. There are several interviews with the Vocation Director including an in-depth behavioral assessment interview. The aspirant may then request further discernment into the life of the congregation, which will lead to postulancy.
POSTULANCY provides the opportunity for a more profound understanding of Christ, the Church, and a first initiation in the Congregation’s eucharistic spirituality. The postulant lives with the religious community and so experiences religious life and a variety of ministries under the Postulant Director. This program awakens within the postulant a desire to follow Christ, and to help him discern his vocation in the Church. If needed, the postulant enrolls in pre-theology studies of philosophy in preparation for the Scholasticate. At the end of this stage, there is an evaluation of the postulant prior to admittance into the Novitiate.
Stage 2: Novitiate
Focus: Discovering the Eucharistic Vocation and Vowed Religious Life
The NOVITIATE is a time apart from the usual pattern of one’s life and involvements, including outside work, so that the dimensions of the eucharistic vocation and mission can be explored and integrated. Through prayer, study, reflection, living in a Blessed Sacrament community, and limited ministry, the novice grows in an understanding of his call. Central to this time of formation are a deepening understanding and internalization of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the charism of our Founder, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, and the joys and challenges of religious life. The novitiate lasts for two years. At the end of novitiate, and if approved, the novice professes vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and moves on to the scholasticate.
Stage 3: Post-Novitiate (Scholasticate)
Focus: Discovering the Eucharistic Mission
The SCHOLASTICATE is a time of formal graduate-level study and continued formation in our eucharistic spirituality and prayer, community life, and ecclesial ministry leading to ordination (deacon or priest) and/or final vows as a Blessed Sacrament Brother. Our scholastic brothers are prepared to serve the mission of the Church and our Congregation by studying theology and other subjects pertinent to their chosen ministry. This includes theological and professional training. Our seminarians are formed for the priesthood according to the requirements of Canon Law and the program of studies at Catholic Theological Union, a graduate school of theology in Chicago, Illinois. The Master of Divinity degree is a requirement for priestly and diaconate ordination.
Formation as an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament
Associate Initial Formation
Blessed Sacrament Associates are lay Catholic women or men (single or married) or clergy (deacon or priest) who share in the mission and spirituality of Saint Peter Julian Eymard in partnership with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard was someone who worked closely and collaboratively with lay persons and others in furthering his eucharistic vision. Formation into the life of an Associate takes place through a variety of experiences designed to prepare candidates for living a life centered on the Eucharist.
Under the guidance of the director, the program of preparation comprises: prayer, deepening of the life of faith, appreciation of the specific vocation of lay persons in the church, catechesis about the Eucharist, knowledge of the life and charism of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, study of the Rule of Life of the association, sharing in the life and activities of the association.
Rule of Life for Associates 19
Initial formation usually occurs over a year and focuses on the following themes:
1. Introduction to the Rule of Life for Associates (ROLA)
2. The Founder ― His Life and Times
3. The Founder ― His Eucharistic Vocation
4. Historical Development of the Congregation and the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament
5. Vocational Call of the Laity to Service in the Church
6. Evangelization and Mission
7. The Eucharist as the Center of Our Life
8. Table of the Word
9. Liturgy of the Eucharist
10. Liturgy of the Hours
11. Prayer in the Presence of the Eucharist (Adoration)
12. Preparing for the Covenant Commitment Ceremony
Prayer, dialogue, listening, sharing, and fellowship are all part of the initial formation experience, as associates grow together into a community of friendship and faith centered on the Eucharist. We assist one another in deepening our appreciation of this central mystery of the Christian life and in living it in union with other members of the Eymardian family.
After a period of formation and discernment, associates make a public covenant with a promise to place the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s self-giving in the Eucharist at the center of their life.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about becoming an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament:
Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
5384 Wilson Mills Road
Highland Heights, OH 44143