February 16, 2011. The increase in the number of men determined to become priests opens many new challenges. The main one is how to prepare them for their vocation, a task for the bishop of each diocese and the directors of the seminaries. Trying to help them is the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross which has created a specialized center to help “train the trainers.”
Eduardo Baura Director, Institute for Priestly Formation (Rome) “You could say it's to train the trainers and do it at the same level of a university, but at the same time giving them the content that a school of Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law couldn't offer them.”
One of their first initiatives was a week long meeting with rectors and heads of seminaries from several different countries to exchange experiences on how to improve the spiritual help for the seminarians.
Eduardo Baura Director, Institute for Priestly Formation (Rome) “We began the first day with a reflection on what the youth of today are like as well as the current seminarians, what is the cultural, anthropological and social background of a person who decides to enter the seminary, and how to help them to become a good priest.”
Msgr. Juan Carlos Dominguez Rector, International Seminar “Sedes Sapientiae” (Rome) “This is the raw material: youth, with the same background of people of their age, with a desire to be holy priests, eager to serve the Church and souls. As a trainer, I've spent almost 30 years training seminary priests, we have to help shape this raw material. It is the Holy Spirit who shows the way and we try to interfere as little as possible.”
Monsignor Juan Carlos Dominguez is the rector of this seminary in Rome. Many bishops send their seminarians here to live close by the Pope and learn about the universality of the Church. Also being with future priests from many different countries helps them be more open and respectful of other cultures.
Msgr. Juan Carlos Dominguez Rector International Seminar “Sedes Sapientiae” (Rome) “You have to help them in the human formation, and the intellectual formation, to know the doctrine of the Church, Philosophy, Theology, and Canon Law. We also help them in liturgical matters, to understand the true meaning of the liturgy, we aid them in the pastoral field. The most important thing, because it's the basis for all others, is to help them to pray.”
The meeting was attended by Italian Bishop Salvatore di Cristina since the bishop of each diocese is the primary one responsible for the formation of seminarians. He says that it's essential to help the seminarians to become generous. Msgr. Salvatore di Cristina Bishop of Monreale (Italy) “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, and can give his life in many ways. The important thing is to give their life: the total gift of themselves, which is something we do not learn in books or studies, but according to the excellent model of Jesus Christ.”
These sessions are at least a way to remember the value in devoting one's best energies toward the formation of future priests, because a big part of the future of each diocese and the whole Church depends on them.