In 1884, the North American College was granted pontifical status placing it under the special patronage of the Apostolic See and the care of the Holy Father. The College, therefore, is the direct concern of the Congregation for Clergy and is under the immediate supervision of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Its Board of Governors is composed of one elected bishop from each of the fourteen episcopal regions of the United States . The priestly formation program of the College is governed by the principles and directives enunciated in the documents Optatam totius of the Second Vatican Council, Ratio Fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and the Program of Priestly Formation of the Bishops of the United States.
The seminary community is currently composed of students sponsored by dioceses from across the United States and Australia who devote themselves to personal formation for priestly ministry under the attentive guidance, supervision and evaluation of a formation faculty of priests and religious.
In this house of formation, seminarians deepen their awareness of the meaning and challenges of priesthood through their theological studies, through prayerful reflection on the revealed Word of God and the Tradition of the Church and its meaning for the modern world, as well as through a variety of pastoral service opportunities.