Formation of priests

Learn about the challenge of training diocesan and religious priests around the world.
More information, below

Why do we promote the formation of priests?

Without priests there are no sacraments, no Eucharist. As Christians we have the duty to support the formation of priests. In a special way, preventing them from being lost due to lack of financial means.

We all know how important it is to take care of this stage of formation so that, later on, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of faithful throughout the world.

The challenge of
formation of priests

The CARF Foundation was founded on February 14, 1989, and since then has acted as a link between thousands of generous souls who contribute financially to the financing of study grants and scholarships so that priests and seminarians from all over the world can receive a solid theological, human and spiritual preparation.

More than 800 bishops from the five continents apply each year for places and grants for their candidates in the different faculties of Pamplona and Rome.
Each course we help the formation of priests with the financing of direct and indirect scholarships of approximately:
- 400 seminarians.
- 1,420 diocesan priests.
- 100 members of religious institutions.

Where candidates are trained
sent by their bishops?


Sedes Sapientiae International Seminar
Established in Rome by the Holy See in 1991. It can accommodate 90 resident seminarians and their formators. It occupies the former Conservatory of St. Paschal Baylon, in Trastevere, very close to St. Peter's and the Pontifical University.
Bidasoa International Seminar
Founded in Pamplona by the Holy See in 1988. It has a capacity for 100 residents and 10 formators. It currently occupies a modern building in Cizur Menor, near the campus of the University of Navarra.


Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
St. Josemaría Escrivá always had the desire to create in Rome a education center of Ecclesiastical Sciences. Blessed Álvaro del Portillo started it in 1984 as an Academic Center. It has four ecclesiastical faculties: Theology, Philosophy, Canon Law and Institutional Social Communication, and a Higher Institute of Religious Sciences.
Ecclesiastical Faculties of the University of Navarre
They were erected by the Holy See in 1988 and their academic degrees have full canonical validity. Today it has the faculties of TheologyHe is a graduate of the School of Philosophy, Philosophy, Canon Law, and the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences.

Priestly schools and residences

Priestly Colleges in Rome
Altomonte and Tiberino are two priests' colleges with modern facilities and more than 100 places for priests studying at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
Senior schools and residences in Pamplona
Echalar, Aralar and Albáizar, together with the Los Tilos residence, have places for more than 130 students who come from all over the world to study in the Ecclesiastical Faculties of the University of Navarra.

What studies can be pursued for the formation of priests?

Main areas of priestly formation in ecclesiastical universities:
Encompassing a diversity of cultural contexts included in today's society. It offers a formative project based on the conviction that the Mystery of Christ is fundamental.
It fosters the reconciliation between the knowledge of different cultures, and between reason and faith. It studies the understanding of truth in its anthropological and historical-cultural context.
Canonic Law
A study of science that delves into the theoretical and practical juridical system of the Catholic Church in the world, combining juridical formation with pastoral sensitivity.
Its objective is to train professionals in the field of communication to serve ecclesiastical institutions.

Degrees of formation within priestly studies:

All ecclesiastical studies completed in Pontifical Institutions qualify for priestly ministry in any part of the world if one has the proper license.

How to opt for the formation of priests?

Each diocese requests the positions it needs for its candidates directly from the corresponding institution.

At the end of the admission period, the institutions make their requests for funds to the CARF Foundation to cover the scholarships.
See annual report
funds provided scholarships in 2022: 3.5 MM € 3.5 MM
funds contributed to teaching and structural expenses in 2021 2.19 MM € 2.19 MM
"For me the most exciting thing about teaching at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross is to see, in the faces and behind the faces of my students, the souls whose lives they will touch. The souls I will never meet from India, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America; that is the future of the Church that I see in my students. 

I am keenly aware, when I am teaching in my class, that I am talking to people who will be teachers, perhaps even bishops, martyrs and saints of the 21st century."
Father John Wauck - Professor of Liturgy

Serving the church on five continents

Learn about the fruits of this work thanks to the interactive map and discover the foundation's unceasing work to serve the Church in 131 countries.
Go to map

Make a donation

Every year more than 800 bishops from all over the world request study grants for their candidates who need to complete their priestly formation. From the CARF Foundation we want to be able to respond to all requests.
Donate now