A Catholic seminary is an institution that primarily educates men for priesthood, and sometimes also educates lay people who want to work in ministry. Catholic seminaries come in all shapes and sizes. Some have as many as three hundred students, others as few as twenty. Some are run by the bishops of dioceses, while others are governed by religious orders. They may be self-contained (free-standing), or part of a union or university. A seminary may be conducted at one of three levels: high school, college or graduate. At the graduate level, a seminary can also be referred to as a theologate, and is the final four to six years of study and formation before ordination.
 
Almost all Catholic seminaries in the United States choose to be dues-paying members of the Seminary Department of the National Catholic Educational Association. Msgr. Jerry McCarthy is executive director of the department.

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