The Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy takes care of the academic formation of seminarians. But special courses and the pastoral training are conducted by the seminary.
a) The Programme of Studies:
We have in our seminary seven years of studies. To gain admission in the philosophy course which lasts for three years a pass in the Pre-Degree or Plus two and the entrance test conducted by the Institute is necessary. Those who obtain 60% in the examinations are eligible for the B.Ph. degree provided they fulfil the other requirements too. Together with the philosophy course, the students prepare themselves for the graduation programme (B.A. degree) in philosophy of the Mahatma Gandhi university. After philosophy the students have one year of regency. The course of theology extends over seven semesters. After this they have the pastoral course. The Priestly ordination is at the end of the 4th year of theology. During the theology courses the students have the possibility to do their B.Th. degree.
b) Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies:
The Pontifical Institute confers degree including Doctorate in Theology. At the moment our area of specialisation is spirituality and systematic theology. We have now students doing their M.Th. and pursuing their Doctorate.
c) Seminars and Guest Lectures:
We conduct regular seminars on topics of contemporary importance. The Zacharias memorial lectures are a regular feature. The seminary provides the students with opportunities to listen eminent personalities in various fields.
d) Library and Periodicals:
St Joseph Pontifical Seminary has a modern and equipped library. Though the library belongs to the institute after the division, the seminarians have free access to the library.
e) Our Publications:
Under the auspice of the Institute, we have 3 publications - 'Mathavum Chinthayum' and 'Preshithakeralam' in Malayalam and 'Living Word' in English. "Mathavum Chinthayum" is well appreciated among clergy and the educated laity of Kerala.
f) The Literary work of our Staff and Students:
Our staff members contribute articles regularly to the publications in Kerala and outside. A number of books are to their credit. Our students too write books, and their articles are published in the local magazines and periodicals. The staff members give lectures regularly in other seminaries and institutes.
We give top priority to the spiritual formation of our students. The time table is so arranged that the day begins and ends with our coming together before the Eucharistic Lord, the culminating point of which is the Holy Qurbana. There are 3 spiritual fathers formally appointed for the theology section and 3 for the philosophy. But the students are free to choose any of the resident staff members as their spiritual guide.
a) The Holy Mass:
Three times a week (Monday, Thursday, Saturday) the philosophers and theologians have separate masses; the other days it is in common. Solemn liturgy is held on Sundays and major feast days. Once a month, each batch has a group mass with their animator. Occasionally the spiritual fathers too celebrate mass with their spiritual children.
b) The Canonical Hours:
The Divine office is said in common. Students come together for the morning prayer (Sapra), the evening prayer (Ramsa) and the night prayer (Lena). On the eve of the solemn feasts, we have the solemn vespers.
c) Other Spiritual Exercises :
Prior to the Holy Mass, there is mental prayer (meditation) for half an hour. Once a week, the spiritual father leads a guided meditation for all, then each batch comes together once a week for their morning meditation. The first year philosophers are given a series of classes on the various methods of prayer right at the beginning of the year and they make their meditation in groups in the first semester. The rosary is recited twice a week in private; once on the batch basis; twice by the whole community together; and once at the grotto. There is time set apart for daily exam of conscience in the time table. Daily 15 minutes each are set apart for Bible reading and spiritual reading in the time table.
d) Monthly Recollection:
Every month one day is set apart for review of life. A member of the staff or a priest from outside gives the conferences. It is also the occasion when the Rector gives instructions to the community. On this day we have also an hour of Eucharistic adoration.
e) Annual Retreat:
Before the Christmas vacation we have the annual retreat for 5 full days. The retreat is conducted by different preachers for the Deacons; the theologians and the philosophers.
f) Instruction by the Spiritual Fathers:
The spiritual fathers give instruction to their group occasionally on themes related to spiritual life and formation.
g) Spiritual Direction and Confession:
The philosophers and the theologians meet their spiritual directors once a month. On every Tuesday, confessors from outside come. Frequent confession is recommended.
h) Various Prayer Groups:
Once a month, there is a group prayer of 45 minutes duration for each group. Besides these, students who are active in the Jesus Fraternity (Prison Ministry).Blood Donation forum (Sahrudaya), slum work etc. come together for group prayer. Once a month the staff members meet together for an hour of Eucharistic adoration.
a) The Pastoral Training:
The students of theology go for pastoral work to the parishes on Sundays. Under the guidance of the parish priest they teach catechism, assist in the liturgy and guide family units. We have occasional meetings of those parish priests to get their feedback.
b) Sermon Practice:
The second year theologians conduct their sermon practice once a week in the refectory during supper; the third year theologians in the chapel after evening prayer. The deacons preach in the church on Sundays.
c) Holy Mass in various Rites:
In order to introduce the students into the liturgy of various catholic rites Holy mass in Latin and Malankara rites are arranged at regular intervals.
The seminary has a vice-rector in charge of the discipline and the overall programme of the seminary. Each batch is entrusted to a Father Animator. He gives personal attention to the students. The group has mass, prayer meeting, discussion, sharing and entertainment. In addition to the occasional meetings of the group, the father animator meets every student at least twice during the semester. The group has also common cultural programmes and activities in the community.
a) Jesus Fraternity:
The seminarians are active in the prison ministry. Every year during semestral and summer vacations they visit different jails and conduct various programs for them. While in the seminary, they hold prayer meetings and occasional fasting for the prisoners. They also cooperate in rehabilitating the prisoners.
b) Slum Apostolate:
Under the guidance of the social service director, our students visit the slums regularly. They help the local volunteers to make toilets and impart classes on hygiene and sanitation. For Onam and Christmas, they organise cultural programme for the slum dwellers. This year they conducted a free medical camp for the people.
c) House for the Aged, Hospitals and Leprosoria:
Our students visit the Alwaye and Parur Hospitals regularly. The House for the aged at Pukkattupady and the Leprosorium at Koratty are their fields of apostolate.
d) Blood Donation Forum:
There is a group in the seminary who donate blood and conduct classes on blood donation. The social service director oversees its activities.
e) Friday fasting - Poor Man's Share:
Our students forego the usual supper on Fridays and take only a light food. The savings are given to the social science. Likewise they make voluntary sacrifice and donations, which they set apart as poor man's share.
f) Institute for Home Study:
To foster Dialogue we have an IHS programme. We have literature in Malayalam about our faith which we send on request to those who are interested to know about Jesus. In the week of ecumenical octave for Church unity, we conduct ecumenical prayer service. In connection with the 5 major feasts in the seminary we conduct academy in which prominent people are invited to speak.
g) Literary Associations:
The philosophers have literary academy to practice to practice public speeches both in Malayalam and English . They also have the writers’ forum; the speakers’ forum, quiz forum; the artist forum and the English forum. The first year theologians too have their academy to improve public speech. This year there has been a new initiative from the part of the students of theology to start a forum for discussion on current issues. The forum called 'JALAKAM' brings out the fruit of their discussions through leaflets.
h) Manuscript Magazines and House News:
The three batches of philosophy students publish every year their manuscript magazines and as part of their course on journalism, the second year philosophers have a house journal.
i) Literary Competitions:
In connection with the Home Day we conduct the literary competitions. On the basis of batch we have also the music competition.
j) Sports and Games:
In the seminary we have football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, shuttle badminton and ball badminton. Special coaching is given in some of these games. Our students take part in inter-seminary tournaments and there are also occasional matches with groups from outside. The philosophers have an annual sports day. Both philosophers and theologians have competitions in games on "House basis" for the Home Day.
k) Manual Work:
As part of their training, once a weak our students do two and a half hour of manual work which fosters students physical and human formation.