A COURSE OF ACTION
How We Shall Proceed. We will first present the ideal program
of formation; it is ideal because it is the formation program Christ gave His
apostles, the program provided for by the Fathers and Doctors of the
Church, the founders of monastic orders and recent saints like St. Phillip
Neri and St. Vincent de Paul. It is the program in monasteries and
religious houses where the holiest and best priests came from. It is the
original model from which the institution of seminaries was patterned. It
is simply the Life of the Gospel as lived and taught by Christ. It is
FORMING in the seminarians the PERSON of CHRIST.
It is only when we know the ideal that
we can aim at something. Without an ideal there is nothing to aim at. While
aiming, we may deviate a little here and there from the ideal but the
deviation cannot be far. But without an ideal, our aim will be wild and
away. When the ideal is not clear, efforts to attain it become weaker and
weaker until one completely gives up. But with the ideal clear, all rules,
procedures, activities and practices in the seminary will be perceived by
the seminarians as attempts to form them into the person of Christ.
a. No one will deny that the spiritual
life is the most important aspect that must be developed whether one is a
layman or seminarian. All documents say so. And so we shall start by
presenting a program of spirituality for all Christians, which is the
common denominator for laymen, seminarians, priests and bishops... the
Evangelical spirituality. This way of life leads to holiness.
A priest must first be a good Christian before he can
become a good priest. And Christ showed us how this is done by word and
example. We shall review His way.
preparing this program we have consulted FIRSTLY, Scriptures and the
Fathers of the Church and the writings of the Doctors and saints. SECONDLY,
Vatican documents on the formation program for seminaries. THIRDLY, we also
consulted formation programs of a few select seminaries that have begun
their renewal programs: notable are the St. Gregory the Great seminary in
the Diocese of Lincoln - Denver, Redemptorist seminaries, the Pontifical
North American College in Rome, Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary of the
Fraternity of St. Peter, and Madonna house in Canada. We were not fortunate
to find European counterparts. We also consulted the formation program made
by Bishop Oscar Cruz for Philippine Seminaries, the Formation manual for
Diocesan priestly life and ministry for the Archdiocese of Caceres and the
Renewal of Spiritual formation in seminaries by Msgr. M. C. Vergara.