Monday, 18 November 2013
Well, I am in the beautiful state of Iowa, where 80% of the population has German background, which explains the culture in a short, brief phrase.
God has a plan.
Today, I want to write from the view of knowing a bit of the workings of a few seminaries. A little insight into the demands of the seminarians might encourage some young men to consider the priesthood.
Firstly, the academic is being highly stressed, which is good. This emphasis flows from the guidelines set up by the Pope Emeritus Benedict. Of course, as an academic, I am all for higher standards of philosophy and theology. Latin and Greek are now required of all seminarians,and this is a good thing.
Secondly, the human element includes sound psychological and personal formation, moving towards maturity. To me, the human is the one of the most important elements, not to be ignored, in formation. Our priests need to be sound of mind, and the work of the seminary is to ensure that we have men who are mentally and emotionally healthy.
Thirdly, the spiritual side of the priest, again, a major emphasis from Benedict, means not only that each man has a spiritual director, but that classes on prayer and the breviary have been an important aspect in the life of the seminarians Increasingly, they get together for prayer informally as well as formally, showing that this emphasis is being taken seriously by the young men themselves.
Fourthly. the community aspect among the young men is the least emphasized and needs to be addressed in many large seminaries. That the larger seminaries include groups of men who do not even know each other is sad.
In England, the system for building community is better. Sems at Wonersh, for example, meet in the year group, their diocesan group, and their hall floor group regularly. These types of meetings are crucial for building community, which will create a brotherhood of priests, who will spend the rest of their lives working in the same places, and meeting in the deaneries.
Pray for our young men across the world to meet the demands of these hallmarks: academic, spiritual, human and communal.
St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminarians, intercede for these few, good men.