Seminary Years and Ordination

1918-1927
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In 1918 St Josemaria began his ecclesiastical studies at the Diocesan Seminary of Logroño, and in 1920 he continued on to the (major) Seminary of San Carlos in Zaragoza. During his seminary years, St Josemaria strengthened his spiritual formation through frequent reading and personal prayer. On many nights he spent long hours before the Blessed Sacrament of the seminary church in intimate and deep conversation with God. He also made daily visits to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, a popular Marian shrine in Zaragoza.

In 1923, after his theological studies were well under way, and having obtained permission from his superiors, St Josemaria began studying Civil Law at the University of Zaragoza. Since he had decided not to study architecture, his father advised him to pursue a degree in law and to make these civil studies compatible with his commitments in the seminary. The time he spent with professors and fellow students at the seminary and the university enriched his personality and prepared him for his future mission.

St Josemaria was ordained a priest on March 28, 1925 only a few months after his father Jose Escriva’s unexpected death. Upon his father’s death St Josemaria became responsible, to a large extent, for the care of his mother, sister and brother, who moved from Logroño to Zaragoza to be near him.

St Josemaria began his priestly ministry in the parish of Perdiguera, a remote village in the Archdiocese of Zaragoza, where he arrived three days after his ordination, sent to substitute for a priest on an emergency basis.

Nevertheless the young priest was aware that God was calling him to another task that he did not yet know, and once his duties of filling in for the parish priest were over, he was back in Zaragoza to finish his law degree. Upon completing the degree, with the permission of the Archbishop, he transferred to Madrid to pursue his doctorate in law, which at that time could only be obtained at the Spanish capital’s Central University.