ASPECTS OF FORMATION

1. Human Formation

Human formation is the basis of religious and priestly formation.

Priests must reflect the Incarnation of the Word, in whom shines human perfection and divine perfection, without mixture but in an intimate union

As the priest is chosen from among men, appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God (Heb 5:1), they must serve as bridge and not as an obstacle between God and man.

The future priest “must be educated to love the truth, to be loyal, to respect every person, to have a sense of justice, to be true to their word, to be genuinely compassionate, to be men of integrity and, especially, to be balanced in judgment and behavior.”

This Human Formation also includes the formation of will, which is done through the constant practice of the virtues and the control of the passions. We want to form men who are authentically free and self-possessed; who by that self-possession can give themselves totally. We consider the practice of sports, camping, community vacations, etc. to be of great importance in this formation of the will.

2. Intellectual Formation

After the one-year period of novitiate, the future priest proceeds to study in the Seminary. The three-year philosophical and the four-year theological studies  are the two important phases of the educative program of our Institute.

Philosophy

As the important moment of the intellectual formation, the study of philosophy shall lead the students to acquire a solid and clear knowledge of man, the world and of God – that is, to have deep understanding of the person and his freedom in their relations with the world and with God.

Why do we need to study Philosophy?  With the methods and teachings of the philosophy, the seminarian will be helped to go deeper and live more profoundly his faith, to the loving worship of truth which lead us that this truth is not created and measured by man, but rather given to us a gift from God. To study Philosophy is also to prepare the future priest for the Theological studies.

Theology

As St. John Paul the Great said, the intellectual formation of a future priest is based and built above all on the study of theology. The theological formation will lead the seminarian to possess a complete and united vision of the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ and of the experience of the Church, while also nourish his faith.

Our constitution remarks, “How we should enter into the mysteries of the faith, by means of the theological studies, if we are called to be men of faith that should bring and strengthen our brethren in the faith!”

In our studies, we follow the magnificent synthesis that Saint Thomas Aquinas  presents in his ‘Summa Theologica’, in which, starting from the idea  of one God as the principal and the end, all of the great truth  found its place: Trinity, Creation, Angels, Theological Anthropology, Moral, Christology, Sacraments, and Eschatology.

In all of these, we strive to orient all our studies for the evangelization of the culture, for which we will spare no efforts or ways. We seek to deepen our studies of philosophy and theology that we may be of worthy missionaries in this time of New Evangelization.

On Going Formation

The formation of the members of the Institute does not stop on his ordination day. Our members undertake on going formation. Some of our members may take ecclesiastical or civil courses after the Seminary, according to their capacities and talents. Normally, they take these courses from Pontifical Universities in Rome which helps them attain Roman spirit, which entails a “crown of virtues: universal openness, fidelity to the Magisterium, a missionary spirit, endurance, and magnanimity.”

3. Spiritual Formation

 Spiritual life must be understood “as a relationship and communion with God. (John Paul II)” “The spiritual training…should be imparted in such a way that the students might learn to live in an intimate and unceasing union with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.”

Christ calls us his friends. This friendship has a characteristic of a true search. A priest must have an unquenchable thirst for God. Having found the Truth, we must still continue to make our relationship with God go deeper. There is triple path for this encounter:

Meditation on the Word of God. The Second Vatican Council teaches that the priests should immerse themselves in the Scriptures by constant sacred reading and diligent study. This is important so that they will not become empty preachers of the Word of God to others, not being a hearer of the Word in his own heart. The fruit of lectio divina is prayer. Through the Word of God, the priests are brought towards a greater intimacy with God for above all, a priest is a man of God.

Participation in the Sacred Mysteries. A seminarian is a future priest of God. Thus, it is necessary that he will be trained with authentic liturgical education, leading to the full, active and conscious participation to the Sacred Mysteries he is one day will be ministering to the faithful. In every seminary of our Institute, our seminarians participate daily in the Eucharistic celebration, where they identify themselves with the same sacrificed Christ. Part of the spiritual life of the future priest is the daily Holy Hour and recitation of the Holy Rosary, Angelus, etc.

Fraternal Charity. The priest is a man of charity and is called to educate others according to Christ’s example and the new commandment of brotherly love. (Jn 15:12.) But this demands that he allow himself to be constantly trained by the Spirit in the charity of Christ.” (Blessed John Paul II)  This charity of the priest springs forth from prayer and from the contemplation of the mystery of divine mercy. This charity consists in self-giving, found in the program of formation in poverty, obedience and chastity.

We want to form virtuous men, according to the doctrine of the great teachers of the spiritual life, especially Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and from the example of all the saints of all times that the Church proposes as examples of virtue for us to imitate.

One aspect of spiritual formation should be to acquire discipline of life, which goal is no other than to grasp the “style” of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in Him is no other than the attitudes that He has as the Son next to the Father. Discipline in our relationship to Him as disciples consists in considering Him as our “path” to the Father. The discipline is the fundamental attitude of the disciple. It is the submission to the rules of life in order that the truth may be incarnate in the life of the disciples. For us, the Truth is Christ and to be docile to the discipline means to let Him be our Lord.

4. Pastoral Formation

A priest must be an image of Christ, the Good Shepherd.

 This is the reason why the whole formation of a priest must aim to prepare the future priest to enter into communion with the charity of Christ, the Good Shepherd. Since our Institute has an apostolic branch, pastoral formation is very important for us. This pastoral formation begins from the time of novitiate, wherein they are gradually introduced to the apostolates of our Institute. Every Saturday, our seminarians go to their assigned apostolates, be it the children’s oratory, working with the youth or helping in one of our parishes. On summer breaks, the seminarians also undertake different activities such as Holy Missions and Summer Camps. However, to have an authentic pastoral life, it is necessary to have a profound spiritual life,  a solid doctrinal formation, and  a manly discipline.

We wish to be formed according to the Heart of Christ: priests who nourish our hearts and spirit with the Word of God, serving our neighbor in solidarity with all in need, tireless preachers, “rich in spirit“, “with tongue, lips and wisdom which the enemies of truth cannot resists”, merciful confessors, exceptionally fruitful in our apostolic and vocational efforts, not elusive to the missionary adventure, always joyful even in difficulties, lovers of the Cross and true devotees of the Virgin Mary.

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