Human formation has the aim to promote the integral development of the individual on both the psychological and physical levels.
PERSONAL DISCIPLINE: At St. Basil Seminary, discipline is an integral part of education and is administered in that light. Supervision is closer than in most colleges. No student of good will and sound moral principles will find it severe or exacting. It is so natural and proper to true manhood that its observance becomes second nature to the student and distinguishes him as a truly mature and cultured man.
CULTURAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES: Opportunities are provided to the students for fostering cultural interests, for excursions which relate to curriculum, and for lectures in nearby colleges and universities. Students also have access to museums and performing arts centers in New York City and southwestern Connecticut.
ATHLETIC PROGRAM: All the students are encouraged to participate in some type of physical fitness program. This is in accord with the objectives of the institution; that is, to educate the whole man. The Basil Dome on campus provides access to a variety of opportunities – basketball, volleyball, weightlifting, and soccer.
STUDENT WORK PROGRAM: Manual labor is a traditional part of seminary training. It teaches the student to accept responsibilities for his own and the community’s needs. It enables him to experience physical labor and to respect the men who live by it and whom he may serve some day as pastor.
THE SEMINARY LITURGICAL CHOIR: The oldest group activity is the Seminary Liturgical Choir, which has performed frequently at civic and ecclesiastical functions. Its repertoire includes traditional liturgical compositions of the Divine Liturgy, Presanctified Liturgy, Vespers, and other services of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
"The whole training of students should have as its object to make them true shepherds of souls after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest and shepherd." (Optatum Totius, 4) Pastoral formation builds upon the baptismal vocation of service and discipleship.
Pastoral formation at St. Basil Seminary includes apostolic work and some form of field education.This provides an invaluable experience in preparation for the seminarian’s future ministry. The main apostolates are: religious instructions in parish communities, human concern projects, visiting local hospitals and nursing homes, and youth apostolate work.
The pastoral formation program of the Seminary includes supervised summer placements in parishes, youth camps, and catechetical practices in the United States, Ukraine, and other locations.
The Church is the people of God who remember and celebrate the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
Father Robert Taft writes:"Liturgy also reminds us of the powerful deeds of God in Christ. And being reminded we remember, and remembering we celebrate, and celebrating we become what we do."(Beyond East and West: Problems in Liturgical Understanding)
As a community, St. Basil Seminary celebrates the Divine Liturgy and the cycle of the Divine Office. On Sundays and feast days of the liturgical year the complete cycle of morning praises and evening sacrifices, Matins and Vespers, is celebrated. Other services to mark the Church year or special occasions are also celebrated. The penitential seasons of the Church are observed by the proper liturgies, such as the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in Great Lent, and by a certain degree of ascetic practices. The seminary is challenged to grow in faith, in service, and in Christ-like integrity. All those involved in spiritual direction meet frequently with the Spiritual Formation Director to formulate common goals and methods of direction. The seminary offers spiritual conferences, Days of Prayer, Penance and Reconciliation Services, Extraordinary-Confessors, and an annual Lenten retreat for the students.
Liturgy and spiritual formation are intimately connected. The seminary follows the directives for liturgical life in the Ukrainian Catholic tradition: “In formation of sacred ministers, care should be taken to promote progressive growth of the interior by participation in the holy Mysteries and in Him who operates in them. In order to be mystagogues of the people, they must live in an exemplary way of the same mystagogy. Their role in the liturgy is to be the font, food and model for a life of fullness received by the grace of the Lord.” (Instruction for applying the liturgical prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, 71)
St. Basil Seminary endeavors to develop these values best imitative of Christ. Personal discernment and positive response to one’s vocation is the fundamental goal of the spiritual formation program. The seminary spiritual life promotes personal growth through communal prayer, daily participation in the Divine Liturgy and liturgical services, the development of a personal prayer life through meditation, scriptural and spiritual readings, apostolic activity, and individual spiritual direction and counseling.
The aim of intellectual formation at St Basil seminary is oriented to a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and God’s revelation, one’s own culture, and the way of thinking in contemporary society.
Through philosophical education, the seminarian develops the gift of human reason. A seminarian comes to understand the spiritual life by means of reason, for the basis of the spiritual life is theologizing - credo ut intelligam (I believe, in order to know). "Intellectual formation ... is a fundamental demand of the human intelligence by which one "participates in the light of God's mind" and seeks to acquire a wisdom which in turn opens to and is directed toward knowing and adhering to God." (Pastores Dabo Vobis, n.51.) Theological education enables the seminarian to come and know the Lord and faith of His Church so that he may become an authentic teacher of the faith.