Seminary formators in Cebu City to tackle ways to improve priesthood
CEBU CITY — At least 400 seminary formators in the Philippines gathered in Cebu City to discuss the implementation of new guidelines to improve the quality of priests in response to new and emerging challenges of modern society.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chair of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Seminaries, said professors in various seminaries in the country had to sit down and come up with a draft on how they would carry out the updated standards of seminary formation released by the Vatican in 2016.
“Our concern is the formation of future priests. As disciples of the Lord, we never stop learning. We should nurture and maximize the gift of priestly vocation,” he said in a press conference shortly after the Mass to welcome participants of the five-day conference that started on Monday, Jan. 22, at the IC3 Convention Center.
Among those who attended the gathering were Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines; Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, the secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Clergy; and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Also present were about 30 bishops led by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the CBCP, and at least 400 seminary formators.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is expected to join the conference in the coming days.
On Dec. 8, 2016, the Vatican’s Congregation of the Clergy issued a document, entitled “Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis” or “The Gift of Priestly Vocation,” an updated instrument for the formation of priests.
Alminaza said the five-day convention in Cebu City was meant to come up with a policy that it more relevant and applicable in the Philippines.
“We hope to generate important materials that will become part of the inculturization of the guidelines for priestly vocation. We share our best practices and important lessons we learn. Please pray that we will be guided and that this coming together will not be in vain but will instead lead to the renewal of society,” he explained.
Archbishop Wong, for his part, said Pope Francis was informed about the gathering in Cebu.
“The Church of the Philippines and the people of this country are in the heart of the Holy Father. He hopes for the growth of priestly vocation. He wants to have priests who are pastors and shepherds who are formed in the humanity and heart of Jesus,” he said.
“We want to give future priests integral formation, not just intellectually and academically, but also improve the human and spiritual dimension because they are the future of the Church and the country. We want the best in them because they will multiply the gifts of God,” he added.
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