Undergraduate Discernment Program

For undergraduate men considering a call to priesthood or consecrated life…

The Lateran Center oversees a Residential Discernment Program for undergraduate men considering a religious life.

Following the guiding principles of the Second Vatican Council, the SBU  Residential Discernment Program aims to “nurture the seeds of formation” while ensuring that participants lead lives “suited to their age,” allowing them to “experience the ordinary affairs of daily life.”

The program is flexible enough to provide participants with a typical college experience, complete with diversity of study and activity, while supporting a life of common prayer, program, and direction.

Discernment students live together in St. Bonaventure’s Francis Hall, which once housed Christ the King Seminary before its relocation to East Aurora, N.Y. The Lateran Center has a strategic relationship with the seminary. It also collaborates with Mt. Irenaeus, a Franciscan mountain retreat near campus, for programming, spiritual direction and retreat opportunities.

Academic, Spiritual, Human and Pastoral Formation

Our discernment program is guided by the Program for Priestly Formation approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in that it attends to the four pillars of priestly formation:

    • Academic Formation
      While discernment program students may pursue any academic major, they are required to minor in philosophy, which serves as is a “fundamental and indispensable” foundation for theological studies. See requirements for a minor in philosophy.
    • Spiritual Formation
      Discernment students may attend Mass daily on campus as well as regular reconciliation and liturgy celebrations. There are also regular devotions, Bible study, retreats to Mt. Irenaeus and “spiritual direction” sessions.
    • Human Formation
      Through lectures and discussions, and drawing from the resources of priests and other religious, our program fosters students’ growth in moral sensibility and character through development of such qualities as freedom, openness, honesty and flexibility, personal maturity, interpersonal skills, common sense and aptitude for ministry.

For more information, please visit St. Bonaventure’s website or contact Fr. Ross Chamberland, OFM, the program director, at:

Fr. Ross Chamberland, O.F.M.
Francis Hall
(716) 375-2183