A minor seminary is a secondary boarding school created for the specific purpose of enrolling teenage boys who have expressed interest in becoming priests. They are generally Roman Catholic institutions, and designed to prepare boys both academically and spiritually for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. They emerged in cultures and societies where literacy was not universal, and the minor seminary was seen as a means to prepare younger boys in literacy for later entry into the major seminary.
The minor seminary is no longer very familiar in the English-speaking world, as it once was in Europe. The 1917 Code of Canon Law described the purpose of minor seminaries as: "to take care especially to protect from the contagion of the world, to train in piety, to imbue with the rudiments of literary studies, and to foster in them the seed of a divine vocation". Suitable boys were encouraged to graduate to a major seminary, where they would continue their tertiary studies for the priesthood.
Minor Seminaries Currently Operating in the USA
The following minor seminaries operate in the USA today.
- Bl. Jose Sanchez del Rio High School Seminary (Mankato, Minnesota). Run by the Institute of the Incarnate Word, opened in 2008.
- Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception (Douglaston, Queens, New York). Originally opened as Cathedral College to serve the Archdiocese of New York and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Center in 1967, it was converted to Cathedral Seminary Residence in 1989.
- Immaculate Conception Apostolic School (Center Harbor, New Hampshire). A minor seminary run by the Legionaries of Christ, opened in 1982.
- Sacred Heart Apostolic School (Rolling Prairie, Indiana). Run by the Legionaries of Christ, opened in 2005.
- St. Lawrence High School Seminary (Mount Calvary, Wisconsin). Run by the Capuchin Friars, opened in 1860.
- Code of Canon Law (1983), IntraText edition with referenced concordance, hosted by the Vatican
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Canon Law
- For Young Men Who Want to Be Priests. Legion of Christ.
- 1999 Foundation of St Joseph's Minor Seminary in the USA - Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (sedevacantist)
- Major Arguments for Reviving Minor Seminaries | Br. Daniel Vitz, IVE | 2010 - Institute of the Incarnate Word
- Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio Minor Seminary