For the applicants the weekend begins with lunch on Friday. The best part of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning are taken up with interviews and other activities. Each candidate is interviewed by a priest who will ask him about his prayer life and his sense of vocation. The interviewer will also try to ascertain the extent to which the candidate has an understanding of the faith. A second interview tries to build up a picture of who the candidate is: his interests and hobbies, his family life and background as well as his general human maturity and understanding of celibacy. A third interview looks at the candidate's educational background. Here the question is one of his capacity to study. As well as these three key interviews they also meet with a psychiatrist who seeks to determine whether there are any relevant questions of mental health that the panel should be aware of. If so he is, of course, in a position to give an objective professional opinion. The Southwark candidates also have their medical during the weekend.
After everyone has been interviewed the panels meet to discuss their impressions before reporting back to a plenary session on Sunday morning. They then make recommendations which are forwarded to each candidate's bishop. It is of course the bishop who ultimately makes the decision whether or not to accept a candidate as a seminarian for his diocese.
I must say I found the weekend very helpful. I was glad I attended and now appreciate very much more the work of the panel members. When I got back there was a comment on another post about the timetable for admission. I'll do a separate pot in response to that.