- For most of the young men coming into the seminary, the change of life style is towards affluence. Add to this fact, the undeniable truth that the seminaries are becoming refuge of the mediocre, of persons who cannot succeed in the tough, competitive world outside.
- Just because someone joins the seminary does not mean he is called to be Priest. Vocation is something everyone has. Vocation is basically a path where I will be more loving and happier, more true to the spirit and example of Jesus. We must not forget that there are many 'vocations' in the Church - not just Priesthood or celibate religious life.
- Perseverance in doing God's will is essential; this is not the same as staying in the seminary. There can be good and holy reasons for leaving, just as there are for staying.
- People basically expect a Priest to be a 'man of God' (this does not mean he is only a liturgist). It is dimension which permeates all areas of one's life.
- Formation depends 70 percent on the candidate, 20 percent on the staff and 10 percent on the programme. There is no way we can 'produce' good Priests or make sure that a candidate grows into a sincere, dedicated, God-centred, compassionate and effective apostle.
- Most of the Priests, Bishops and Seminarians have a feudal mentality, where privilege and distance mark their style more than pastoral ministry.
- To have studied abroad or specialisation in a particular field should not be the sole or even the main criterion of appointing persons as formators.
- Spirituality and social commitment are not 'dangers' to each other. They support each other. No Priest can ever be totally detached from a social involvement, nor can he avoid being a person of prayer.
- The family is first formation house. Most of our formation is over by the time we join the seminary!
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Priesthood: reality vs rhetoric
I read a paper by Fr Joe Mannath on Priesthood and formation (you can download it from the national Salesian website here). It was great! He clearly dissects reality from the rhetoric and pin points some of the grave drawbacks of our formative processes and whole idea of Priesthood itself. I list some of the most important (in fact while reading the printed text, I had a pencil in hand to underline the important aspects, but then I ended up underlining the whole paper - then it struck me that I was reading Fr Mannath!!)