SOME THOUGHTS FOR THE FUTURE
What will the future be like? College General has
come a long way
since its humble beginnings in Ayuthia 330 years
ago. Many who
will be attending the opening and blessing of the
in Mariophile on 4th. October 1995 will continue
into the third millennium. We present here
a compilation of
reflections and remarks from various sources which
we hope will
serve as pointers for formation and ministry in the
Has everything changed?
Is there no longer the same
challenge? Have we been compelled in the name of
lower our standards? I can honestly confess
that from all I have
seen and experienced in the College General, I have
impressed and edified by the spirit which runs down
from staff to
students and outward to the world. But does
it really matter if
nowadays we use different text books? If the approach
eschatological or incarnational? What does
it matter, if the
time table is shaken a bit till its old bones rattle?
matters is that the fundamentals remain unshaken.
There is the
same spirit of prayer, the same generosity, the same
adventure. If these were to die or if they
were to escape our
renewal, then we might as well burn down the walls
My only message to you is rather a reminder on what
wants of you as He wants of all His priests to the
end of time.
He wants us to pour ourselves out and offer ourselves
with Him to the eternal Father. "He loved me
Himself for me." These words should be written
in large letters
on every door-post, on every wall, above and below,
but above all
in the hearts of every one of you, so that the world
recognize the true apostle of Christ. Give
the people all your
gifts of learning; preach to them in eloquent tones.
prove useless if the basic sacrifice is absent.
This what your
people will look for in you and expect from you -
that for their
sakes you are willing to work yourself to the bone.
Mgr. A. D. Galvin, Vicar Apostolic of Miri (writing
in a message
to the seminarians in 1967).
If a seminarian has not experienced
what it is like to give
till it hurts, he will find it hard to give himself
the service of the poor and needy.
Archbishop Soter Fernandez commenting on the importance
practice of charity during the seminarians' formation
The minister who cares for people is called to be
not a handyman; knowledgeable but not an imposter;
but not a manipulator. When he is able to deny
himself, to be
faithful and to understand the meaning of human suffering,
the man who is cared for will discover that through
the hands of
those who want to be of help, God shows His tender
love for him.
Henri J. M. Nouwen, in 'Creative Ministry'
Dear seminarians of College General,...build yourselves
self-discipline. It will be your first guardian
mutual trust and love which will develop between
you and the
people you will serve later in your ministry, will
be your second
and powerful guardian angel. With these two
guardian angels you
will be safe and you will be a happy secular priest
who are happy to have you in their midst.
Fr. Giraud MEP, parish priest of the Church of St
Mantin, writing to seminarians on the occasion of
anniversary of his sacerdotal ordination two years
ago - SINARAN
To be in the world and not of the world necessarily
tension. This takes place in the innermost
depths of his being.
He has to transcend the world and himself by a process
successive abstractions and so come to realize his
'Alter Christus' in the lives of his parishioners.
Not having to
take the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity
as the religious
do, he still has to integrate these evangelical values
through his life and ministry.
The seminarians are searching for authenticity.
questioning, reflecting, dialoguing with Tradition
both East and
West, praying and trying to live true to their vocation.
believe strongly that we are heading towards a clearer
credible vision of our secular clergy today.
The renewal of the
Church means the renewal of her priests.
Message from the Rector, Fr. James Gnanapiragasam
The mission of the secular priests and the laity
important characteristics in common - in that both
are called to
prepare the field of the world for the seed of the
Word of God.
Both are called to open wider the Church's doors,
the message of peace can enter the world.
Lumen Gentium states clearly that even in secular
is no human activity which can be withdrawn from
(LG n.36). In his life and ministry, the secular
priest must be
prepared to enter into the domain of the human and
where God may seem to be most absent, obscure or
bring to consciousness the incarnate presence of
God in Jesus in
Fr. Sebastian Francis, "Secular Clergy: Some Reflections"
The Priest in the Asian context
In the circumstances of present day Asia, what is
and mission of the Asian priest to be formed? While
the Christological and ecclesiological foundations
of his being,
as taught by the magisterium of the universal Church,
Churches must duly insist on the local and contextual
the priest must have by reason of his specific ministry
Asian peoples. In other words, besides being a man
of God, a
disciple of Christ, an apostle of His message and
a shepherd and
servant of his community, the priest is called to
be also a man
of the people and for the people, especially among
the poorer and
For this, he must become a prophetic leader in the
cause of human
dignity and rights, justice and peace which are essentially
concrete expressions of the Gospel he is called to
reason of his religio-cultural context, his leadership
beyond the bounds of the eucharistic assembly and
the parish to
make him "a man of dialogue" with the faiths and
cultures of all
the people, without any distinction of caste,
creed or race.
Thus the "man of God" becomes "a man of unity and
among his people.
Human Formation : Formators
Formators themselves, by their own approachability
availability, their example of wholesome relationships
and women, their acceptance of their own limitations
failures, should become living witnesses and examples
of what it
means to be human.
Cultivating a spirit of poverty is an imperative
in Asia where
actual poverty prevails in most parts and where a
life-style is upheld as an ideal for the 'man of
God'. As a
minister of Christ among the poor people, his simple
a powerful way of expressing his solidarity with
Seminarians must also be given the opportunity to
meet and even
work with zealous missionaries, both priests and
lay people, in
the field. Such an encounter can stir their
imagination and inspire them to take up the missionary
Apart from the course on Missiology and the courses
offered to acquaint seminarians with other religions
cultures, there must be an effort to teach seminarians
to be open
to values highly cherished in other religions, such
simplicity, hospitality, oneness with nature, non-violence,
Forming Priests for Today's Asia, Statement by FABC
Priestly Formation, 1991. Catholic International,
Vol. 3 No. 7,
1-14 April 1992.
What are the most pressing problems priests and seminarians
"I don't think it is celibacy or lifestyle.
I think the real
difficulty, the crisis, is in the area of the spiritual
inner identity, his lack of spiritual life.
His style of
witnessing is only symptomatic.
A man likes cars, loves money, drinks. I think
these are just
symptoms of what is inside. The man might be very,
that is why he resorts to all these. I call
props. He doesn't know his real spirit, that
he is being called
to be in union with Jesus, who was a simple man with
the least of
material possessions and certainly none of these
Precisely, it is the spirit of Christ that gives
us our proper
direction and orientation. And this is exactly
what I think is
the cause of this crisis: the absence of Christ in
the heart of
- Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales of Lipa, Philippines
Visitator to Philippine seminaries. Asia Focus, June
"What persons of other faiths admire most is not
superiority of our teaching, but the genuineness
convictions and the consequent quality of the lives
-Bishop Thomas Menamparampil of Dibrugarh, India.
(Only when absolutely neccessary, to include the
is part of the article no.8 'Forming priests for
today's Asia -
the first point in the section.)
a) The Fifth Plenary Assembly of the FABC(1990)
clearly opted for a "formation in the present milieu,
to the signs of the times." It expressed its desire
future priest as "a man of communion" be enabled
"to face the
various challenges that confront the Church of Asia:
threatening ecological imbalance, poverty, the challenge
religions to the Christian faith, the need of dialogue
peoples of good will, the hard-to-control population
consumerism in the economic macro-system and the
proper use of
We are one people: hierarchy, clergy, religious and
journeying together to build God's kingdom.
The incarnation has
to be continued by the Church, by us in the world.
priests should be taught to work with the lay faithful
spirit of co-responsibility.
Archbishop Soter on lay participation and role of
parents in the
mission of the Church - SINARAN 1991.
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