Human Formation

“The foundation and center of all human formation is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. In His fully developed humanity, He was truly free and, with complete freedom, gave Himself totally for the salvation of the world”  (PPF, n. 74). The basic principle of human formation is that the human personality of the priest is to be a “bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the Redeemer of the human race” (PDV, n. 43).

 

The human formation of the college seminarian for the priesthood aims to prepare him to be an apt instrument of Christ’s grace. Human formation fosters the seminarian’s growth as (PPF, n. 76):

  • a man of freedom: a man who is free to be who he is in God’s design; one who does not—in contrast to the popular culture—conceive or pursue freedom as the expansion of options or as individual autonomy detached from others
  • a man of solid moral character: a man who demonstrates reliably and consistently a developed moral conscience and the human virtues such as prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, humility, sincerity, patience, good manners, honesty, responsibility, generosity, and fidelity to one’s word
  • a man of communion: a man who has real and deep relational capacities; one who can enter into genuine dialogue and friendship; a person of true empathy who can understand and know other persons; someone who makes a gift of himself and is able to receive the gift of others; a man needs integrity and self-possession in order to make such a gift
  • a man of prudence and discernment: a man who demonstrates a capacity for critical observation so that he can discern true and false values, an essential requirement for establishing dialogue with the world of today
  • a man of affective maturity: a man whose life of feelings is balanced and integrated into thought and values; someone able to live well with authority, to take direction from others, to exercise authority well, and to deal productively with conflict and stress
  • a man of physical fitness: a man who pays appropriate attention to his physical well-being that he has energy and strength to accomplish the tasks entrusted to him and who has self-knowledge in the face of temptation
  • a good communicator: a man who is articulate and has the skills of effective communication; someone capable of public speaking
  • a good steward: a man who is able to live a simple lifestyle, to avoid whatever has a semblance of vanity and to curb expectations of entitlement; someone with the right attitude toward the goods of this world; someone who is generous in making charitable contributions and sustaining the poor
  • a public person: a man who is both secure in himself and convinced of his responsibility; one who is able to live not just as a private citizen, but as a public, symbolic person in service of the Gospel and representing the Church

Formation meetings are held on Wednesday afternoons throughout the year.  During this time seminarians will meet for a Rector’s Conference and with their Formation Advisor (individual and class meetings) for observation and assistance for growth in maturity, relationships, and the capacity to assume the role of public person and leader in a community with the human virtues which make them “men of communion.”

Human Formation Goals for Seminarian by Year:

First Year: Emphasis on issues common to new seminarians, age appropriate developmental concerns, and skills helpful in living the Christian life in its fullness

  • to value, understand, and embrace the seminary’s formation program
  • to see the broadness of the preparation for the priesthood which is encompassed in human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation
  • to recognize the importance of community and its role in seminary life

Second Year: Emphasis on serving as a bridge between God and His people for one who is discerning a call to the priesthood

  • to enter more deeply into areas of growth and awareness of himself and his priestly vocation
  • through understanding himself within the seminary community, to understand how to live a more responsible and mature life within the wider Catholic community

Third Year: Emphasis on the sacrificial nature of the priesthood and the generous, undivided heart necessary for one who is called to serve as a priest

  • to identify and increase the virtues of discipleship in his daily life
  • to develop his potential for leadership, particularly by sharing his formational experiences with others for the sake of building up the seminary community

Fourth Year: Emphasis on the Gospel values which the priest is asked to embrace for the sake of the kingdom of God

  • to reflect upon his call to priesthood
  • to examine his commitment to follow the Lord as he comes to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the priesthood
  • to imitate through prayer, simplicity of life, and generous service the example of humility and self-sacrifice given by Christ the High Priest