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 Preparatory Seminary (Elmhurst, Queens, New York).
- 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.
- St. Joseph Catholic Seminary (Charlotte, North Carolina) run by the Diocese of Charlotte.
- Belgium: Former St. Joseph Minor Seminary