The Juniorate


This ascent is difficult, the task hard, the slope steep, but the prize is great and the reward everlasting… All hardship is to be reckoned as light, every load bearable, and the length of days but a passing moment, as the example of Jacob who served Laban seven years teaches in Scripture: “those days seemed few to him in the greatness of his love”

St. Laurentius Giustiniani

40. At the end of the novitiate the novice makes simple profession for three years in accordance with the appropriate ecclesiastical regulations. A promise can also be made in its place. The years of temporary commitment provide for further examination as regards to living according to the evangelical counsels and the work of our canonries. During this time independence and stability, aptitude for the common life and work, deep faith and willingness for the apostolic ministry should continue to increase.

The Constitution of the Austrian Congregation

The Novices and Clerics of Klosterneuburg. Together they make up the Juniorate (Click to enlarge)

A novice, who has chosen to continue on his way to solemn vows and who has been approved by the chapter, professes temporary vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability during the Mass on August 28th, the Solemnity of St. Augustine.  As a result of this important decision, the novice moves to a new position in the community. No longer a novice, since he is now simply professed, he is called a “Kleriker” or “cleric” in English. The vows are taken for three years.
It is during this time that the cleric enters more deeply into the canonical vocation through ongoing spiritual, academic, priestly and communal formation. Until his formation is complete, as many years at that might take, he is called a “Junior” and lives in the “Juniorate”. Inhabiting the older parts of the abbey, the Juniorate consists of the Novice Master (who is usually also the Director of Clerics) and the men under his care, namely, postulants, should there be any, novices and juniors. The Juniorate is a community within the larger community. Once a man is ordained and in solemn vows, he moves over to the other part of the abbey, or he moves out into one of the parishes.

Dom Hugo and Dom Lukas (Click to enlarge)

69. Academic and pastoral formation should be bound up with spiritual formation. The needs of our time require a sound formation. In our communities it is directed towards the apostolic ministry. That is why clerics are to be given the opportunity and instructions to practice the pastoral ministry, (e.g. parish work). The current regulations about ecclesiastical ministries and admission to ordination are to be carefully observed.

The Constitution of the Austrian Congregation


Theological Formation

The Scriptures are so profound that even if I were to spend my whole life studying nothing else, supposing I had the time, the concentration and intelligence, I would still find something new in them everyday. Not that there is any difficulty in arriving at the things necessary for salvation from Scripture, but many things still remained shrouded in mystery, to be discovered by those who will persevere in study.

St. Augustine (Letter 137)

70. The ecclesiastical regulations concerning the study of theology must be fulfilled. The Austrian Congregation has the right to its own philosophical and theological colleges. Their course of studies must be drawn up in accordance with the ecclesiastical laws. The Provost is entitled to nominate and dismiss the professors.
71. The acquisition of state or ecclesiastical academic degrees is desirable.

The Constitution of the Austrian Congregation

Since the Canons Regular are a priestly order, the proper intellectual formation of each member is of paramount importance. This formation begins during the novitiate with in-house courses, but expands significantly during the years of simple profession.Therefore in addition to seeking excellence in a theological faculty, this community believes that each cleric needs a program that fits his talents, disposition and needs. Therefore, working together the Novice Master and novice propose a plan to the Provost for the future cleric’s studies. This allows for the greatest possibility of success with respect to academic achievement as well as personal development.
Theological Faculties

Stift Klosterneuburg currently has a number of clerics in formation. Each has a program designed to meet the requirements of the Catholic Church for the intellectual formation of future priests as well as the community’s desire to give its future members a course of study suited to their talents, disposition and needs.

Currently the clerics of Stift Klosterneuburg attend theological faculties at the University of Vienna, the Leopoldinum at Stift Heiligenkreuz and the Angelicum and the Gregorian in Rome.

Wherever the cleric receives his theological training, he is expected to achieve a sufficient level of competence with respect to the sacred and related sciences to be able to realize his priestly vocation in the 21st Century. Moreover this education should lay the foundation for a life time of ongoing study through both private and communal means.

Grant, O Lord, to all students, to love and to know that which is worth knowing, to praise that which pleases you most, to value that which is most precious to you, and to dislike whatsoever is evil in your eyes.

Thomas a Kempis

Study Abroad

72. To obtain a broad, human and academic outlook the so-called open semester at one of the native or foreign universities can prove very useful. That is why our clerics are to be offered the possibility. In such cases, the superiors are to take care of the accommodation. The lodgings are to be, where possible, in a Religious house.

The Constitution of the Austrian Congregation

Dom Josef, Dom Gabriel and Dom Elias

The clerics are encouraged to avail themselves to the extraordinary opportunities that this community affords them. In particular, study abroad and the acquisition of foreign languages are highly valued. Since this community has assumed the care of St. Paul the Apostle in Bergen, Norway in November, 2003 and St. Patrick and St. Rocco in Glen Cove, New York in June, 2011, the exposure to the Church Universal as well as facility with other languages is invaluable.When clerics are away – in whole or part – for their theological studies, they reside, whenever possible, in a religious house, where the way of life is similar to that of the canons, especially with respect to the celebration of the Divine Office and other facets of the common life.

Priestly Formation

Ongoing Liturgical Ministry

The clerics continue to serve in the roles of service they embraced in the novitiate. These include serving, lectoring and cantoring during the Mass as well as being the Little Hebdomadarian or lector for the Office of Readings.

When possible, the cleric continues to serve as a Master of Ceremonies.



Pastoral Placements

From the novice year onward, the cleric participates in various pastoral activities of the Stift and its 27 parishes. Such activities include catechetics, Bible studies, youth ministry, training and organizing the altar servers.

The Provost confers the ministry on Lector on Dom Maximilian (Click to enlarge).

Preparation for the Priesthood after Perpetual Vows

Priestly formation continues after the completion of the three year period as a cleric. After making a preparatory retreat and taking solemn vows, the canon continues on his road to the priesthood. These steps include:

Diaconate Ordination

The requirements for ordination to the transitional diaconate are:
1. Master’s degree or equivalent in theology
2. Solemn Profession
3. Consent of the Abbot and the Chapter Council.

Depending on the academic program and the individual’s background and the program in which one enrolls, philosophy and theology take at least four years and as many as six or seven.

Once ordained, the deacon serves at the Stift or one of the Stift parishes, undertaking the ministries proper to the diaconate.

Pastoral Year

Normally after diaconate ordination, the deacon enrolls in a program for pastoral ministry at Archdiocesan seminary. This treats pastoral theology, canon law, preaching and practica for various specialized ministries (e.g. hospital, prisons, schools).

Our Lord knows that you will take the greatest care of the cleanliness, good order and fitting adornments of your churches, of the altars, altar linens and vestments. He knows that you will pay special attention to the music and ceremonies, and in short, to all that contributes to the beauty of the house of God and to the celebrations held there.

St. Peter Fourier

The ordination of Dom Pius to the Diaconate


59. At the end of the period of probation the candidate takes perpetual vows in accordance with the appropriate ecclesiastical regulations. In our congregation perpetual vows are solemn for candidates to the priesthood, choir-canons and lay-brothers. At perpetual profession one solemnizes his final bond to the community and its ministry. Through it one becomes a full member of the community.

The Constitution of the Austrian Congregation